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How does Shirley change in the course of the play and how is the play organised to show the importance of these changes.

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HOW DOES SHIRLEY CHANGE IN THE COURSE OF THE PLAY AND HOW IS THE PLAY ORGANISED TO SHOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE CHANGES. BY DHARMESH BHUDIA "Shirley Valentine" was primarily written as a monologue to express the emotions of a bored middle-aged housewife. The monologue was originally performed by the actress Pauline Collins. The monologue was adapted by Willy Russell and converted into a screenplay. Willy Russell kept most of the original devices such as the voiceovers and the flashbacks to narrate the story. Furthermore he added other character to the screenplay. Willy Russell was born in Liverpool in 1974 and left school at the age of fifteen. The play had some resemblance on Russell's childhood and the surroundings he was brought up in. "Shirley Valentine" is the journey of a tedious middle-aged housewife who try's to break away from her inescapable routine, lifeless marriage. She is trying to find her true self. She is searching for 'Shirley Valentine'. The purpose of this essay is to analyse the changes that Shirley goes through in the course of the play and how Willy Russell illustrates the importance of these changes. Willy Russell perceptively uses cinematic device to help the audience understand what Shirley is going through and to help us as the audience and reader to sympathise with her. Using techniques such as flashbacks and conversing to the audience makes us feel as though she is directly talking to us as a friend and we are going through the emotions, which Shirley is undergoing. Before the film begins we are shown illustrations of Shirley carrying out domestic chores immediately revealing to us the situation Shirley is in and that she is a housewife. ...read more.


"Listen Jane how am I going to tell Joe that I'm off to Greece for a fortnight?" this portrays that she is worried about telling her husband that she's going on holiday with a friend. This isn't a very big matter but she is still worried about telling Joe. This scene also reveals to us that Joe is reliant on Shirley even though he doesn't think that she is and again reinforces us that Joe doesn't like change. The flashbacks of Shirley as a young girl are to show how she became less confident and how people influenced this lack of confidence Shirley has. Shirley is represented as a bit of a rebel in her youth because of her smoking and her being a bully. Other people were always putting her down and because they lacked confidence in her and thought she was a failure I think gradually she believed this and that's why her confidence in herself has deteriorated. The headmistress is one of those people who kept patronising her. For instance when the headmistress says to Shirley "oh Shirley, do put your hand down. You couldn't possibly know the answer." The headmistress doesn't even give Shirley a chance to tell her answer and assumes that Shirley's answer is wrong. Even though Shirley had the right answer to the question the headmistress thought someone else told her. Marjorie Majors is the complete opposite of what Shirley was and is a reflection of what Shirley wanted to be like. When Shirley was young she was expected to be a failure and struggle in life. ...read more.


"A taste of honey" is also another example of kitchen sink drama. It was similar to "Shirley Valentine" because they both dealt with social issues like prostitution. The play concludes in an unusual way. We see that Shirley has really changed because she seems to have more control of her life and has more confidence. We see Shirley fulfilling her dreams and ambitions. In the final scene Shirley is sitting by the sea and Joe walks straight pass her and not recognising her. This shows how much she has changed because even her own husband doesn't recognise her. Shirley relationship with Joe has also changed and this is evident in the last scene. We see that Shirley is the one in the driving seat and the one with more control. She is more assertive. "Hello. I used to be the mother. I used to be the wife. But now I'm Shirley Valentine again." This show how assertive she is and how she feels as though she has found herself again. She tells Joe straight what she is and that she isn't going to be pushed around anymore. At the beginning of the screenplay Shirley was a bored middle-aged housewife who was lonely and hated herself. Now she is a happy and more confident person who knows who she is. This play shows the changes and contrasts of Shirley through different stages throughout her life. The play is organised cleverly by Willy Russell to make it evident that these changes are occurring. Also the se of cinematic devices help reinforce these changes and to develop the character. "Shirley Valentine" is a story of a person who goes through changes to find herself and to over come obstacles to do so. To find Shirley Valentine again. ...read more.

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