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GCSE: Shelagh Delaney
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'A Taste of Honey' shows an insight to the problems and strains that can be brought on by the above issues and those that the working class suffered. In the opening scene of 'A Taste of Honey' you are introduced to Jo and Helen's new flat. It is a run down, dingy, old place and is all that Helen can afford. The optimism that Helen carries is shown right away as when Helen first walks in she is optimistic about the situation by saying, 'Well!
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Jo and Helen doesn't get on well with each other and Helen leaves Jo at home when she goes out in the play a lot happens too Jo her mother leaves she gets pregnant, she lives with a bisexual and her mother returns Thought out the play Jo's character changes at the start Jo is critical as she says to her mother "your knocking them back worse than ever" she is capital and organised as she says "I hate to see an un-shaded electrical light bulb I will put my scarf around it", "im not just talented im jeanious" When
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When Shelagh Delaney began working on A Taste of Honey, she intended it to be a novel; but instead, it became a very famous play
Nowadays people like that are nosey and interfering busybodies. It is also easy to be 'anonymous' and for people not to take any notice of you. When Shelagh Delaney wrote the play, her intentions were to express how she felt towards those topics raised in the pla. Delaney was not predjudiced but she wanted to put her veiws across, she wanted to change the audiences' mind and bring them to the attention of the broader range of people that lived in their community.
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Also because of the World War only lower/ middle class groups would watch the play. Another factor that has caused the play, A Taste of Honey, to be a great success is that it contained issues that were never openly discussed and were consider to be illegal. For example: homosexuality- this was never discussed openly and was considered very bad, racism- Black people or people that were coloured were also considered lower class. The mood, tension and suspense had been built up during the play.
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'A Taste of Honey'How does Jo relate to all the other characters? A Taste of honey became a sensational theatrical success when first produced in London by Joan Littelwood's Theatre Workshop Company.
Living conditions were very harsh, as people were often forced to live in bed sitters, sharing bathrooms and kitchens. As well as the five characters - Jo, Helen, Peter, The Boy and Geoff, there is a link between their relationships. Act 1, Scene 1 opens with Helen and Jo, moving into their new flat; Helen: "well! This is the place." Jo: "And I don't like it." When Helen and Jo arrive, Helen tries to be motherly towards Jo but Jo doesn't really wants to know, as Helen hasn't been there for her whilst she has been growing up.
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Geof is the only genuine caring character in the play; the others are totally selfish and self centred. Discuss this statement. From the beginning of the play we can see Jo is the main character, she is highly independent and self reliant this
You Know what happens when you do things like that. The baby will be born dead or daft!' She feels she has let herself down and been promiscuous, however the sailor boy was offering her marriage and love before he left, she felt in a safe relationship and that was why she slept with him. But Jo just sees that she's made the same mistakes her mother made when she had her at a young age. Most expectant mothers don't have this negative attitude towards their unborn child however I feel it's because she thinks she may let the child down like her mother let her down.
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In "A Taste of Honey" Shelagh Delaney presents Jo as a young woman looking for security and love. Compare the relationships she has with Helen, her boyfriend and Geoff. To what extent does she find security and love with each?
It was very common for a youngster to be involved in any of the above, as the senior members relied on their traditional customs and philosophies and took a lot of care in their every move. Ironically this play doesn't seem very concerned with all the issues that emerge from that society, and makes it a much more rebellious and interesting play to watch. However interesting it was, not everyone agreed with the content of the play, as some reviewers confessed that this was the first play they had seen with a coloured person and a homosexual man.
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How effective is the opening scene as an introduction to the whole of the play? The first scene of the play "A taste of Honey" which also can be written as A taste of Happiness is a very good introduction
Then Helen goes onto say that she can't afford a better house/flat because the one she is in now is all she can afford "It's all I can afford". The flat is "comfortless" and is in Manchester, life in those days for Helen and Jo was quite depressing, morbid and hard to make money as there was not a lot of jobs around especially for a "semi-whore". Helen and Jo are looking for a "Taste of Honey" by trying to find a better job for Helen and a job for Jo so they can make money and get somewhere better to live.
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If he doesn't show up I'll be back" This is the start of the period when Helen leaves Jo. At this stage in the play the readers don't know if Jo will survive for long without Helen. Peter however se this and gives Jo a pound to have so she could buy food to eat. Jo's role in the play is to show what it would be like in those times to be a single expectant mother. She also has the purpose of showing us how parents have influences on their children: for example Jo was created after Helen and Jo's dad had a one-night stand.
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He takes and the role as caring and protecting Jo and they get on well. Geof brings Helen back to visit Jo, and Helen kicks Geof out. Jo's is the main character in the play; she is the daughter of Helen. She falls for a man called Jimmie who is in the navy, and then he makes her pregnant and goes way leaving her with this black baby. Then she meets Geof who takes on the role of caring for Jo, and then brings back her mother and he leaves.
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This idea is also indicated throughout the outcome of the play - the initial characters in the play Helen and Jo end up as they begun, rejected and the relationships they developed throughout the play have failed( Peter has gone off with another woman, Jimmie left Jo pregnant and does not come back to see her, and Geof leaves Jo). There is only Jo and Helen left, and Helen portrays selfishness and illustrates dislike towards her daughter, as shown on the final page( 86), which was the case in the opening of the play.
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Taste of Honey - Explore the likely similarities and differences between the audience reactions of 1958 and 2003.
Until this time, the majority of plays had been set in London, and were generally about the upper class in society. Delaney had decided to defy this convention, and set her play in Manchester. She said, 'North County people are shown as gormless, whereas in actual fact they are very alive and cynical' Furthermore, her play is certainly not about the upper class in society, both of these factors would have been very surprising for audiences in 1958. The opening scene shows us immediately into an unpleasant flat.
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How might an audience react to Act One Scene Two in A Taste of Honey? What social comments are being made here?
Moving into Scene Two the pace slows considerably, due to the tension and uncertainty between Jo and her boyfriend. After the first scene, Act One Scene Two moves the play along quickly, introducing a new character, Jimmie, who is heavily involved in the occurrences of the rest of the play. The scene falls into four main parts, two of which are based around Jo and her boyfriend and two involve Jo's confrontations with Helen. Alternating the parts in this way allows the audience to see how one area of Jo's life affects her actions and emotions in the other.
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This shows that Helen and Jo are ordinary, common, working class or lower, people. The ancient Greeks believed that a play had to be realistic, and that to be realistic the action of the play should have one setting. The time the play took to act should be equal to the time covered in the plot and that the play should have only one main story. The Greeks called these ideas the 'three unties of time, action and place'. This is different to a taste of honey in that the play, although only having one main plot, has a sub-plot. The main story is the story of Jo, and the sub-plot being Helens story.
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'A Taste of Honey' by Shelagh Delaney examines the relationship between a mother and her daughter. What are the dynamics of this relationship, and how does it develop? What methods might a director use to represent this relationship on stage?
Jo then finds out she is pregnant with the sailor's baby and is destined to be a single mother. Jeff notifies Helen that Jo is pregnant and Helen then returns for good when Peter kicks her out. Helen then drives Jeff away and they end up as they were at the beginning of the play, living together as mother and daughter. At the beginning of the play you immediately see that Helen and Jo do not have a close typical mother-daughter relationship as the first lines are an argument between them, Jo is complaining that Helen is a bad mother
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Helen and Jo move into a shabby rented flat in Salford and it's very cramped and small. Jo isn't happy but Helen doesn't mind. Jo tries to make the flat look and feel more liveable in by deciding to plant some bulbs. Helen's not bothered though, and is happy that at least they have a roof over their heads. She has a "what you see is what you get" attitude towards life and lives by a day-to-day basis. Helen also uses a lot of sarcasm, for example, when Jo is complaining about the flat, Helen replies, "Everything in it is falling apart, it's true, and we've no heating- but there's a lovely view of the gasworks."
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This is a play written to shock people into re-thinking their attitudes and ideas about people and the way they live. This play was written in the 1950's and the issues in it were very controversial at the time. If one were to compare this play as it was viewed in the 1950's to the more modern television version, no doubt different issues in the play would be found disturbing. For society has changed so much from the time the play was written in to today, that the people who watch this play would have different views.
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From dependence to independence - To what degree does Jo mature during the play and become less dependent on other people?
Jo replies by saying, "I'm not just talented, I'm geniused." Jo is also intent of leaving school - and Helen - at Christmas. She seems to think that she is mature enough to do so. She hates the flat and when Helen says, "This is the place," Jo replies, "And I don't like it." She hates life and doesn't realise how good it can be because she is always on the move. She also seems lonely. This is most likely because she is never in one place long enough to make any friends.
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You'll soon learn...you're wasting yourself". Helen drinks, she is poor, living off of men putting them before Jo, she is sarcastic and cold when it comes to Jo "I can't bear to be parted from you" and inappropriately shares her sex-life with her daughter but worse of all, she regrets that she has had a child; many of these attitudes make Jo fell disgusted towards her mother, making her even more insecure.
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Jo reveals her childish side by replying with "I'm not just talented, I'm geniused." Jo's intentions of leaving school and Helen at Christmas, becomes apparent, as she seems to think that she is mature and independent enough to do so. Another sign her naivety. Her view of the new flat also comes into light when Helen says, "This is the place," and Jo replies with, "And I don't like it." Her attitude to life is arguably summarised with those few words.
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Conversation between Helen is like verbal sparring. Helen is very self-centred. Jo becomes increasing central to action. Helen is a whore, she goes out for sex in return for money. She is thoughtless, poor and unromantic. We can tell this from act 1 scene 1 because she only thinks about herself, she is need of money and she doesn't marry for romance, but for money. This shows she is poor and unromantic. Jo is argumentative, mature and responsible at times She is arrogant, she can get angry, she has feelings. Jo is also stubborn, poor, serious, negative, insecure and self-sufficient.
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It doesn't end there; when Matilda goes to school she encounters Miss.Trunchbull the wicked principal. The Trunchbull is very strict with her pupils and gives severe punishments some of which include throwing a boy out of the window for eating in class and gripping a girl by her pig tails and dashing her 400 m into the school allotments. At school Matilda becomes very close to her teacher Miss. Honey. Miss. Honey is surprised to see how clever she is for her age group.
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Also if you were living together with someone without being married you would be condemned by society. This could be because then the churches had greater influence on people as more people went to church. The flat that they lived in was an old ruin. "... You can afford something better than this old ruin..." There was no heating and it was freezing, "...God! It's freezing! ..." "... But there's a lovely view of the gas works..." Helen says this so we know that she's got a positive attitude or she's got a sense of humour. They had to share a bathroom with the rest of the tenants that lived in the flats.
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The upper classes were mostly unaware that the lower classes were leading such different lives to themselves. Shelagh Delaney's play brought to light what the lower classes lives were like and the differences between the two classes. The plays of the time had very structured, clear story lines, with stereotypical happy families. Shelagh Delaney challenged these ideas about the ideal play along with many others. Shelagh Delaney wrote the play to represent the working classes and their lifestyle. Many previous plays had used the working classes as their subjects, they seemed to act and be the same as the upper classes.
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What does the audience learn of the lives and relationships of Helen and Jo in the opening scene of "A taste of honey"
These quotes show that Jo does not respect her mother and what her mother does for her. Jo shows she has no respect for her by calling her Helen instead of Mom. Jo is also self - centred and cheeky to her mom. Jo - "drink, drink, drink that's all your good for." This shows that Jo is cheeky to Helen and Jo Wants to be the only thing in her mothers life. Helen does not listen to Jo.
- Word count: 461