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EXPLAIN HOW THE TWO MOTHERS ARE DIFFERENT AND WHY RUSSELL PRESENTS THEM IN THIS WAY? The musical play Blood Brothers, written by Willy Russell, is the story of twins separated at birth

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EXPLAIN HOW THE TWO MOTHERS ARE DIFFERENT AND WHY RUSSELL PRESENTS THEM IN THIS WAY? The musical play Blood Brothers, written by Willy Russell, is the story of twins separated at birth. Mrs Johnstone, a working-class Liverpudlian mother of seven children, agrees to give one of the twins she is expecting to her wealthy but barren employer, Mrs Lyons. The infant kept, Mickey Johnstone, grows up in poverty while his twin, Eddie Lyons, enters a privileged life. Bound by fear of discovery, and superstition that should either of the boys learn he has a twin, both will die on that day, so the mothers keep the exchange secret. Completely unaware that they are brothers, Mickey and Eddie meet as seven-year-old children and form friendship that lasts until the day they die. It is that concluding tragic event in fact, that is the opening scene of the play, which then backtracks to recount their separate and interwoven lives of success and despair. Willy Russell wrote "Blood Brothers" in the 1960's. He was born in 1947, in Whiston which is just outside Liverpool, and has based the story here around his own experiences. He grew up in Liverpool in a working class family, singing in clubs to earn a living and at the age of 22 he worked in a warehouse to raise money for college. He was confronted even from an early age with the injustice of the two-class society. Thus there are clear biographical parallels to the character of Mickey. ...read more.


Lyons, leads an empty life without children, especially with her husband being away for long periods. Whereas Mrs. Johnstone despite her troubles in raising her large family is much more fulfilled and content of the two. This is depicted throughout the play and particularly in the following exchange; MRS JOHNSTONE: Ah, you'll be glad when he's (Mr Lyons) back won't you? The house won't feel so empty then, will it? MRS LYONS: Actually, Mrs J, we bought such large house for the-for the children - we thought children would come along. MRS JOHNSTONE: Well y' might still be able to.... MRS LYONS: No, I'm afraid... we've trying for such a long time now... This conversation early on in the play states that she can't have any children and Mrs Lyons carries on saying that she won't mind adopting. This suggests that Mrs Lyons is desperate to have a child, even if she had to adopt. This is further enhanced soon after when; MRS JOHNSTONE: Are y'...are y' that desperate to have a baby? MRS LYONS (singing): Each day I look out from this window, I see him with his friends, I hear him call, I rush down but as I fold my arms round him, he's gone. Was he ever there at all? I've dreamed of all the places I would take him...... Mrs. Lyons situation of despair with respect to not having children is extremely well brought out through the emotional song. Mrs. Johnstone's love for all her children despite not having the means to look after them is reinforced by her following statement: MRS JOHNSTONE: With one more baby we could have managed. ...read more.


In summary Willy Russell has managed successfully, through character relationships, to explore some very important issues e.g. impact on character of the social class system, fate and destiny, surrogacy, superstition and humour and tragedy. In particular he has been effective in comparing two very different characters in the form of the turbulent relationship between Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons and indeed relating their formed characters to the social class. The overall effects that Russell gains by presenting these two mothers in this way is a lot of tension, fear and suspense by doing a number of things through the music, stage directions and the narrator. The things that Russell does to create these effects of fear and suspense are that he uses the music, which is very dramatic to make the people feel tensed and also Russell uses the music or the song to show the argument between the two mothers. This song is an emotional one and so Russell makes the audience also feel like this. Likewise, he uses the stage directions and the narrator to show this emotional theme. I think that Russell did a tremendous job by using a lot of effects to present the two mothers in this way. All of the play was set around these two mothers, so that is why I think Russell used them to develop the storyline e.g. the social class split between them, rich and poor, educated, not educated etc. Also I loved the way that he ended the story, "And do we blame superstition for what came to pass? Or could it be what we, the English, have come to know as class?" AYAZ ALI 10KRM 1 ...read more.

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