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GCSE: Our Day Out
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A major theme in Our Day Out is the lack of education and opportunity for young people in the inner-city. Using scenes from the play, show how Willy Russell makes the audience aware of this theme.
The children are just ignoring the fact that the lollipop man is there to help them. Throughout the book Willy Russell introduces humour for the enjoyment of the reader, for example, "only when the car is within striking distance does he walk out with his 'stop' sign". At the same time Russell will still be making a very important point to us. In the play the children speak mainly the Liverpuddlian dialect, "I know y' didn't. Y' never do. None of y'". This makes it more realistic and we are in no doubt where the play is set.
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Compare the characters of Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs from Willy Russells our day out. Whose style of teaching do you think is best for the progress class?
"Mrs Kay has taken off her shoes and has her stocking feet curled up under her. Carol has her arm linked through Mrs Kay's and is snuggled up to her - they look more like mother and daughter then teacher and pupil". The children feel warm to Mrs Kay's nice happy personality "Mrs Kay smiles at her and links her arm". She gets involved with the children she likes to join in with the fun "Mrs Kay is paddling, dress held above her knees..." Mr Briggs doesn't get on as well with the pupils as Mrs Kay does, he is always shouting at them "sit down now, come on, move!"
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There is a high rate of unemployment that exists within this area, where only a few people have jobs. This is due to there being few opportunities for the children, when they leave school as it seems that they have had a wasted education. Furthermore there are many single parent families and so there is a lack of male role model as many fathers have left their families and so there is no one to teach the children how to behave.
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Our Day Out. The character who I sympathised the most is Mr Briggs although that he is strict, bossy and annoying I like him because he will teach children
We are introduced to Mrs Kay, the progress class teacher when she is getting the children ready to get on the bus. She treats the children like they are just 5 years old, just like a mother to love and care for them: "Well if the antics in her department are anything to go by, she always reminds me of a mother hen rather than a teacher." She is more of a mother than a teacher which was said by Mr Briggs.
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The play "Our day out" is about a disastrous school trip and two teachers who continuously fight over the way the children should be disciplined.
There is one girl called Carol who actually knows that she is going to get bad GCSE's. Carol loves Wales so much that she decides to run away and sit on top of a cliff because she can't face going home. Mr Briggs goes looking for her and finds her. He tries to persuade her to come back but she just threatens him by saying she will jump off the cliff. He then learns to listen to the pupils and treats them more kindly.
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Our day out. The cliff scene (scene 35) is significant, as it is the turning point in Briggs personality. The entire atmosphere changes dramatically.
The entire atmosphere changes dramatically. The scene is critical in demonstrating how the characters react under pressure. While Mrs Kay becomes anxious, Briggs calmly strolls around, unwillingly searching for Carol, while in a foul mood. However, Brigg's personality changes quite a few times throughout the scene: at first he is an "arrogant get" as usual, the next minute he is begging Carol and finally he is showing his kind, warm-hearted side (which we would have never expected). At the start of scene 35, the atmosphere is very calm and peaceful in contrast to scene 34 where Mrs Kay was frantically searching.
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Briggs is depicted as a conservative, bossy and disrespectful person, he accuses Mrs. Kay of being "on their side..." Willy Russell, the playwright, uses second person pronouns "you" to emphasise who the character is addressing, it is also repeated for even more emphasis; the order in which the pronouns are used could indicate anger which shows the audience the sort of person Mr. Briggs is; it also shows disrespect-this is due to the fact that he could be using sarcasm "aren't you?" As he is "(accusing)" Mrs. Kay it gives the audience the impression that Mr. Briggs is antagonistic and in some ways is an'accusing' person. Russell's use of stage and voice directions is frequent for example when Mr.
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Many of the characters in the play have strong personalities. Some of them being children, which are from the progress class. There are some adults in the play which are teachers, others are people they met on their day out for example, shop keepers, buss driver, zoo keeper... Our 1st impression of Mrs. Kay comes from scene 2 just before the children get on the coach. Mrs. Kay appears to be organized. "I'll get you all sorted out." Russell shows us that she is polite and pleasant: "Alright alright. Will you just let me have minute's peace."
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The main themes in Our Day Out are lack of education, lack of opportunity and social deprivation. Show how the writer makes us aware of these themes
This portrayal of Carol is important as it shows the signs of social deprivation and establishes her economic status. She describes Conwy as "somewhere far away, I forget" (in response to Les the lollipop man's question as to where the trip's destination is). This also tells us she hasn't been far from home before since if she'd been to Conwy before she'd would know it is only about an hour away from Liverpool. We feel a little sorry for Carol and feel guilty about her having to live like that while our homes are often full of materialistic goods and appliances that we take for granted.
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The use of words such as 'trapped' and 'stranded' are ingenious as they add to the desperation or the situation; this therefore means that the right emotions are being provoked and that the playwrite has achieved the target that was set when he decided to re-tell an incident of similar quality to this. This adds to the reality and reinforces the fact that these constructs do infact represent the real children of Liverpool common, also that these situations are being faced daily and that even though this play is full of fictionous events the underlying tone and experiances are real.
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The essay question is, how does Willy Russell create dramatic tension in the cliff scene of "our day out"? In this essay I will be writing about Mr Briggs, carol and the stage directions. Mr Briggs's personality is very brutal and he is a very arrogant man. "Right, McNally, go and sit at the back." In this quote Briggs is ordering an innocent boy to go and sit at the back, in a rude way. This quote shows that Mr Briggs is an impatient man. Mr Briggs tone of voice in the beginning of the cliff scene is loud and grumpy.
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With whom does Willy Russell intend the audience to sympathise, Mrs. Kay or Mr. Briggs and whose style of teaching would most benefit the progress class?
At the beginning of the play of Act One the audience feels little sympathy for Mr. Briggs because he is very arrogant and an unsympathetic person towards the children "You've got some real bright sparks here" Mr. Briggs shows open contempt for the students. He mocks them to their faces and this is ridicule would make them feel stupid and demotivated, Mrs. Kay on the other hand is a genuine person cares about the students and wants them to have a good day as of the line "By and large, I reckon she does a good job.
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Explore the differences in Mr. Briggs's and Mrs. Kay's view of education in Our Day Out. Write about how the author presents views and character and how far you sympathise with them.
The two main characters in the play, Mrs. Kay and Mr. Briggs have opposing views on the childrens education and their future. Mrs. Kay, the motherly and caring teacher believes in liberalism- she is tolerant on the wide range of behaviour standards in the class. Mr. Briggs, however, has a more traditional view on the childrens education. He is stricter and expects the pupils to respect authority, conform and work hard whatever their ability. In this essay I will discuss these points of view, I will do this by analysing what they say, the actions they do and the conversions they have with the pupils and other members of staff.
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Carol didn't want to go back to school and kept saying to Mr Briggs what she'll do if he tries to come near her or try to grab her. Carol thought that even if she came down from the cliff and followed Mr Briggs instructions of going back to school, she was afraid that Briggs will tell the teachers at school and Carol would get into a lot of trouble. Briggs said that he wouldn't say a word if she came down.
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Firstly, I am going to describe Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs's relationships with the pupils. Mrs Kay treats the children friendly and has a laugh and a joke with them "You are like an old woman come on then". Mr Briggs is much more formal and is like a typical teacher. He shouts at them more than any thing else "(shouting) shut up lad! (Pause) Is it any wonder that people won't do any thing for you?" Mrs Kay knows and understands the difficulties the kids in the progress class faces and she is sympathetic towards them, this has been shown in the play many times "it's a shame really isn't it, eh?
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A quote to support this point is when he says, 'we usually only do the better schools.' This is an example of how the children are judged on just because they go to a less well-funded school. Next I am going to talk about how they don't get a chance to have a good education. This is implied when the head teacher says to Mr. Briggs that he is only letting them go on the trip because they won't learn much and they will only play with plastercine, so it gets them out of school and harms way.
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Since then he has wrote numerous of plays including Educating Rita, Blood brothers and Our Day Out. The social and economic state of Liverpool in the 1970s was horrendous. Jobs went into decline and because factories were closings down, black market was developed because people could not afford the normal shop prices. Due to money shortages, people became depressed and turned to alcohol and violence. This meant their kids had even less money to live off and pretty much had to fend for themselves. The education system was failing the children and because factories were closing, they had no job once they had left school.
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This technique - which owes much to Brecht - is also utilised in a number of Cartwright's other plays. Cartwright makes the audience viewing Road feel as though these characters he writes of grew up with him; as if they are familiar to him as he illustrates them so convincingly. Cartwright however, said that the characters "...just stepped out of my imagination as far as I can make out." As mentioned previously Cartwright uses Brechtian techniques in Road and he does in quite a few of his other plays. However, Cartwright disrupts this conventional Brechtian 'distancing' technique with a Chekhovian attention to sincerity of characterisation: whilst his narrator-figures set scenes, introduce other characters and provide social and/or political 'comment', they remain at all times 'in character', affected by the action, subject to the dramatic outcomes of that action.
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From the outset, I felt sorry for the poor parents and what they had to endure daily, yet as the programme progressed I realised the kids were the ones I felt any slice of remorse for. Perhaps if the parents had stayed at school rather then dropped out to have a kid at 16, they might have known how to raise one and wouldn't be on national TV making fools of themselves. With the attitude of mother Christine, "Sometimes I wish I was a bleeding lesbian and then I wouldn't have had kids", it was just discouraging the children, the opposite to Halsey's fool-proof advice of actually praising the children once in a blue moon.
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Mr Briggs who is in his early thirties he isn't very kind to the children he is very strickt and doesn't understand where the children are coming from. Susan Collin Headmaster Kids: Carol Rilley Digga Linda Karen Andrews Ronson Kevin Jimmy Maurice Other adults: Les (lollipop man) The driver Mrs Roberts Waitress John Mac Animal keepers The play is set in the inner city of Liverpool in the 1970's they also go on trip to Conway castle .in Liverpool it was a desperate time in Liverpool because the factory were closing down there wasn't much money this left the people feeling confused it got a bad reputation because of the violence .people were losing there jobs left right an center.
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Cant we just try and give them a good day out?' Mr Briggs on the other hand, believes in a strict, academic teaching style. His relationship with the students is up tight and cautious. He doesn't trust any of the children and looks unimpressed with some of the other members of staff 'I've learned trust is something you don't understand' this is showing how Briggs doesn't trust the children. When he says 'well, that a profession to have', he is being sarcastic and is judging Mrs Kays teaching.
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Briggs speaks sharply to them " Come on move!" .We find out early in the play that Mrs Kay is preferred rather than Mr Briggs when Reilly says in scene four 'You're Ace. Miss!' This is telling us that Mrs Kay is the teacher that everyone wants. One reason that the pupils like Mrs Kay more than Mr Briggs is that Mrs Kay understands the learning difficulties of the children and believes that having fun is more important than education.
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Eleven years of education is a substantial amount of time, and by attending school and being educated by qualified educators for eleven years (at the least), students are expected to develop emotionally, socially, physically and particularly intellectually. However they can only do this if they try and want to, have support, involvement and encouragement from others. If the student's school life went successfully then they should know all the basics and maybe the complex points as well in the subjects they have studied.
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Explore the ways in which Willy Russell uses comedy and pathos in "Our Day Out" to entertain or to influence
The children had succeeded in smuggling the animals onto the bus without a member of staff realising, and this sudden appearance of the animals would also be surprising and amusing for the audience. The scene is also funny because of the reaction of Mr. Briggs. He shouts at the children saying "I trusted you". This is ironic and funny because Mr. Briggs has been the only teacher who's been suspicious of the children from the start and knew they were up to no good.
- Word count: 1247