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How do the dramatic techniques used in the play help the audience to understand Shirley's transformation?

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How do the dramatic techniques used in the play help the audience to understand Shirley's transformation? In 'Shirley Valentine' playwright Willy Russell conveys the transformation of a disheartened and lonesome middle aged women going through a period of slow awakening, and along the way having to look after her rather insular and unappreciative husband. We see a bright young girl who has vast amounts of self belief and ability within herself, gradually are diminishing away from her very eyes. Russell uses various dramatic devices, which is pivotal towards portraying change, such as Flashbacks, dramatic monologue and setting. Willy Russell, an acknowledged playwright, has written several plays, one of which is 'Shirley Valentine'. Russell bases the narrative around the life and transformation of Shirley. The fact that Willy Russell was born in Liverpool and grew up in the 1960's. This very fact could give him a coarse sight into Liverpool suburbia, where the play in set. Willy Russell left school at the age of 15, which gives him an idea of life without educational qualifications. Throughout six years of his career he was the owner of a hair salon, which tremendously influenced the play; For instance, he was constantly around 'working class women' which gave him a natural instinct of how these ladies were day in day out. ...read more.


The flashback to her school days demonstrates how her headmistress uses to put her down. When Shirley tries to answer a question the headmistress says to her 'Oh Shirley, do put your hand down. You couldn't possibly know the answer'. This gives the audience an insight into why Shirley turned out to be a lonely women its because no one was ever there to encourage her; instead her head mistress put her down. From then on Shirley was 'Never really interested in school' Willy Russell demonstrates this process when he shows young Shirley says 'miss it was the wheel! Mans most important invention was the wheel' The headmistress bursts out with rage, pointing a shacking finger at her saying 'Somebody must have told you!'. This shows that no one really believed in Shirley they thought because she came from a lower class she don't know anything. Or another example was when Shirley got her report. The Headmistress says 'And now we come to Miss Valentine Well, Shirley - naturally you are leaving us. And a brief glace at you report confirms my deep suspicion that you will not go far in life', Russell employs these flashbacks to give the audience an insight into Shirley's ...read more.


She felt very isolated so the only things she had to talk to was her kitchen walls. This showed me that she wasn't very happy in her life as she had no social life and no courage to break away from her husband and her miserable life in Liverpool. The final impression of Shirley is that she has changed from being a discontent and despondent lady to a woman with much more self-assurance and resilience. She has also become more self-sufficient in herself, and seems to be more positive in herself. She has tackled her life in a very mature manor and has overcome all the struggles throughout her existence. In conclusion, Shirley has changed from being a disconsolate and forlorn lady to a woman with much more self assurance and buoyancy. She has adapted to an innovative lifestyle, which has more enthusiasm about it. The dramatic techniques used in this play have enhanced our understanding of Shirley to a great deal. They have allowed the audience to become further involved towards Shirley's immense transformation, therefore boosted the audiences knowledge of the play. ...read more.

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