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Discuss the way Willy Russell represents the injustice of the class system in 'Blood Brothers'

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Introduction

Discuss the way in which Willy Russell represents the injustice of the class system in 'Blood Brothers' In the 'Blood Brothers' play, Willy Russell uses an episodic structure to dramatise his social message about the inequalities of the class system. Russell demonstrates that success in life isn't determined by the innate qualities, but by the social class you are born into. 'Blood Brothers' is set over a number of decades, and supports Russell's theory of the class divide in that the class you are born into determines your life chances. The audience can see the wide class divide and the damaging effects of the class system through two main character relationships: Mrs Johnston and Mrs Lyons and also Mickey and Eddie. During the play, the audience can see the dissimilarity between the two mothers. From the narrator's opening ballad, the audience are encouraged to develop a negative impression of, 'That women, with a stone in place of a heart', Mrs Johnston, the working class mother. Before she even appears on stage. The metaphor 'stone' suggests that she's the opposite of what society and the middle class audience expect, and it implies that she is cold hearted - this could be a sign that she thinks of her children as a weight. 'Stone', also gives the impression that because she is on benefits she is a 'burden on society'. ...read more.

Middle

To begin with Mickey and Eddie overcome the class differences. Which is ironically symbolised by them becoming blood brothers. Willy Russell's use of dramatic irony helps show the audience how close Eddie and Mickey are, although when this is added to the unbalance of power that they have between them due to their different upbringings, it eventually leads to the breakdown of their relationship as friends and the tragic ending of the play. During the play the narrator not only builds up to tragic ending but he also shows the differences between the two classes and how they are differently affected. The pivotal point in the play when everything starts to go downhill for both Eddie and Mickey is the Christmas when they are both seventeen. As the audience we notice a negative mood begin to enter the play, there is 'no more dancing'. This part of play is set in the early years of Thatcherism, early 1980's. The narration 'It seems the Devil hasn't left, he'd only found a different name; they were calling him Inflation and Recession was his Son.' Russell uses personification to emphasis the destruction that Thatcher had on the working class. 'All bowed down before them' is a theatrical metaphor that also shows the affects of her polices. 'Their work was done' relates to the high unemployment of three million people. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Now mover over there. Now over there...' At the end Mickey attempts to regain some control and power by using a gun. Mickey eventually breaks down and confesses that it's a fake once he realises that Eddie has still got the power. 'Even holding this to your head, I'm still not in control of anything, am I?'. The play ends with Mrs Lyons still having the power that she had at the beginning of the play (shown through the gun). This emphasises Russell's social message of 'you can't escape the class that you are born into.' The play ends where it started. 'So did you hear about the Johnston twins...' the repeated verse shows the circular structure of the play, the way Russell does it shows that nothing will change. Again, this refers the social comment that we can't escape the class that we are born into. Finally, to conclude, I think that Russell's way of showing the injustice of class system is very effective. Especially through the two main characters, Eddie and Mickey. It shows that life's success isn't determined by the innate qualities but by which class you are born into: depending on which class you are born into depends what opportunities you do and don't get. I think the way in which Russell finished the play leaves the audience thinking whether or not it was the class system that led to the death of Eddie and Mickey or if it was something else. ...read more.

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