How does Willy Russell explore the themes of class and society in Blood Brothers?
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How does Willy Russell explore the themes of class and society in Blood Brothers? Willy Russell explores how class can make a big difference to society and people's lives in the play Blood Brothers. Blood Brothers is set in Liverpool during the 1980's. During the 20th century unemployment and poverty was high which lead to a massive gap between the rich and poor. Willy Russell can relate to this as he himself was born outside of Liverpool and was of the working class. The class divide also meant the education of children would suffer as grammar schools were free however the working class must past the lit to gain entry. The pass mask was deliberately made high so the working class cannot go grammar school. This maintains the social system. I will explore in this essay the characters actions, dramatic techniques structure and context through social class and injustice. Willy Russell shows the divisions of society in many different ways. Firstly he starts with Mrs Johnstone. She is quite poor and works for Mrs Lyons. The theme superstition implies that something bad will happen for example there might be a loss. Nothing will ever change what would happen. At times when superstition is used a bad feeling or threatening feeling is left which creates tension. Mrs Lyons uses this to persuade Mrs Johnstone to give her one of the children. Mrs Johnstone is clearly superstitious, shown by her reaction to Mrs Lyons placing some shoes on the table. "New shoes on the table, take them off..."
However, it is noticeable that the policeman is not concerned with informing the Lyons of Edwards actions but more interested about making himself look good in front of someone who is of higher class than himself. The fact the policeman has no demeaning comments for Mr and Mrs Lyons proves this "He's a good lad". The policeman is noticeably lower in class than Mr Lyons, so Will Russell again shows the difference in class from upper class, to working class and finally to lower class. Dancing is a theme used in "Blood brothers" regularly by Mrs Johnstone. Every time that dancing is mentioned something bad takes place. Dancing is a symbol of happiness but this happiness only lasts for a short period of time. After the happy period there is a bad occurrence. At the beginning of the play Mrs Johnstone is singing about how she used to go dancing and her husband compared her to Marilyn Monroe. "He told me I was sexier than Marilyn. And we went dancing" shortly after this was mentioned Mrs Johnstone mentioned that he ran off with a girl who was compared to Marilyn Monroe "Me husband, he'd walked out on me, a month or two ago, for a girl they say who looks a bit like Marilyn Monroe". This confirms that once dancing is mentioned something bad will happen or something will go missing. There is dancing and Mickey loses his mind. When dancing is mentioned it is also linked with Marilyn Monroe, "It seems like jail's sent him off the rails, Just like Marilyn Monroe, His minds gone dancing, Can't stop dancing" As Marilyn Monroe and dancing were both mentioned Mickey lost his mind.
the narrator also creates an atmosphere and keeps people in suspense throughout the play. Russell's overall message is to treat others in a good way and that class does affect life and it does affect people. He clearly shows that everyone needs protection and the difference in class has a difference in protection. For instance Mickey has a gun to protect himself, whereas Edward has money to protect himself. Russell wants to also show that there is always something more desirable in another class and that money cannot by happiness. In "Blood brothers" Russell depicts his own life so may be biased towards the lower class and against the upper class. Mickey had far less opportunities than Edward, this led Mickey into a life of crime, which leads him to a depressed life and added to his jealousy of Edward. Edward attends a private school, university and has many opportunities so he obtains a good career. The lower class can't afford to go to university and do not have many opportunities. The fact the twins have the same blood but are very different and have had very different experiences shows that class can mould people and change them for better or worse. If Edward was left with his mother and if he lived in poverty would he have turned out like Mickey or would he have been differently. Perhaps another point Russell is trying to make is that who you are is who you will always be and wealth or poverty would not change you or that wealth can change a person and they might become shallow and obsessed with money. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kiranpreet Johal 10SG English Miss Handa
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