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Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in 'Blood Brothers'. Account for the different reactions the audience will have to the two women throughout the play.

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Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in 'Blood Brothers'. Account for the different reactions the audience will have to the two women throughout the play. The play 'Blood Brothers' revolves, around the subject of 'separated twins'. Willy Russell, the playwright, set 'Blood Brothers' in post Second World War Liverpool in the 1950s, a time when the image of being Marilyn Monroe was every girl's dream. It was also a time when people were striving to make ends meet because unemployment was high after the war. The character of Mrs Johnston represented one such person, Willy Russell constructed her as a poor working class single mother, who through necessity, had to give one of her twin boys away to her more wealthy, childless employer, Mrs Lyons. It was from the initial giving away of the child that the plots are developed. Willy Russell created two very different mothers to explore the effects of nature and nurture, superstition, class, power and dreams. Throughout the play, Willy Russell explores situations that mirror issues and problems within modern society. The nature and nurture issue is explored as soon as Mrs Johnston was manipulated by her employer into giving away her twin baby boy. Mrs Lyons preys on her employee being poor and already having to provide for her seven children. As Mrs Johnston was pregnant again with a pair of twins, two new additions to the already large family, she naturally finds the prospect of coping financially almost too much to bear. It is not surprising that she gives one of the children away to Mrs Lyons. When the twins are separated the friendship between the two women deteriorates and they both become determined that the two boys, Eddie and Mickey, should not meet or associate with each other. Ironically, the twins grew up to become friends and blood brothers. However, their contrasting environments and backgrounds force them apart and eventually cause the tragic ending. ...read more.


Mrs Johnston later becomes more vulnerable as she reveals to Mrs Lyons about her having twins and her social situation. Mrs Lyons uses all these factors to convince Mrs Johnston to give her one of the babies. She says, "Already you're being threatened by the Welfare. With two more how will you avoid some of them being put into care?" By asking her this question, Mrs Lyons manoeuvres Mrs Johnston's thoughts, making her more concerned. From this, the audience starts to feels suspicious about Mrs Lyons, and starts to question the friendship between the two women. When Mrs Johnston agrees to give one of her children away, Mrs Lyons made her swear on the bible that she will "renounce all further claims on the said child..." This again could reflect on Mrs Lyons social background as she uses a very formal language, which perhaps confused Mrs Johnston a little, as she stutters to repeat the words. After the child has been given to Mrs Lyons, her relationship with Mrs Johnston changes dramatically. The audience can sense this through the language they use when talking to each other; "Leave him! Just... Just leave him. You're always... always bothering him, fussing over him." Says Mrs Lyons to Mrs Johnston, when she fusses over the baby. In this case, Mrs Lyons seems very aggressive, as shown by the exclamation mark. She also seems very much agitated as she kept repeating her words e.g. "Just...Just" and "always...always". Her agitation reveals to the audience that she is scared, scared that Mrs Johnston will tell the truth. This is why she later decides to dismiss Mrs Johnston. However, when Mrs Johnston threatens to tell people the truth about the twins, Mrs Lyons again uses superstition against her. She says, "They say...they say that if either twin learns he was one of a pair they shall both die immediately! It means, Mrs Johnston that these brothers shall grow up unaware of the other's existence. ...read more.


When talking to Mrs Johnston, the policewoman always repeats her phrases, "And he was about to commit a serious crime, love, a serious crime. Now do you understand that?" By repeating her words, she emphasizes her point to make Mrs Johnston understand. Through this, we feel that the policewoman presumes that the mother is stupid because of her class. The policewoman also appears to be very aggressive towards Mrs Johnston as she threatens to take her to court; "You keep them in order or it'll be the courts for you, or worse." Her entire tone when speaking to Mrs Johnston seems as if she is talking down to her like a school teacher telling off a student. However, her language and tone of voice changes when talking to the upper class Mrs Lyons. She seems more polite and subtle; "But one thing I would say, and excuse me if I'm interfering, but I'd not let him mix with the likes of them in future." From this, the policewoman seems to be advising Mrs Lyons rather than ordering her. Instead of calling Eddie behaviour as "committing a serious crime" she says "it was more of a prank". All these contrasts show to the audience how people look down on the working-class and look up to the upper class. Willy Russell uses this dramatic device to emphasize the significance of class in our society. At the end of the play, both Eddie and Mickey get shot by Mrs Lyons, whose conscience consumed her. Mrs Johnston ultimately deserves more sympathy as both of her sons were killed. In some ways, the ending has returned the two mothers to their original state; Mrs Johnston with seven children and Mrs Lyons with none. Although the narrator gave the audience some clues as to the death of the twins at the beginning of the play, it still came as a shock to the audience, leaving them with questions unanswered. ?? ?? ?? ?? Maggie Pang 10Q ...read more.

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