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How does Willy Russell make is sympathise for Shirley Valentine?

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How does Willy Russell make is sympathise for Shirley Valentine Willy Russell's big hit screenplay, 'Shirley Valentine', we examine the life of this middle-aged house wife and her struggles with her boring life. From the very beginning of her Secondary School times till now, Shirley's life was wasteful. No one listened to her opinions; no one really cared about her. Now she is a lonely, low classed person. This sympathetic connection between Shirley and the audience is illustrated in many ways, using a variety of dramatic techniques such as flashbacks. Flashbacks have revealed Shirley's past, it shows the reasons to why Shirley has become her lonely self. Then one of her closest friend Jane tells Shirley that she won tickets to Greece and Shirley is coming. After arriving at Greece, Shirley met a man called Costas, they go onto a boat and Shirley has an affair. After an affair and some happy moments in Greece she had at last fulfilled her life. She has found her inner self and has fallen in love with the idea of living. This whole story is linked to the writer of this play Willy Russell's past. There are many similarities such as Willy Russell was born in Liverpool and the story of Shirley Valentine is based in Liverpool. ...read more.


This explains to us that Joe is trying to tell Shirley that he doesn't want the fried eggs and chips that Shirley made, he wants what he has on a normal Thursday, his steak. After Shirley attempts to fight back, Joe erupts in rage and pushes the eggs and chips onto Shirley's lap; "With a violent shove Joe pushes the food onto Shirley's lap." This demonstrates to us the aggression that Joe has to Shirley. It makes us feel bad because it shows us what Shirley's life is like, all she does is cook food and live as a housewife. Willy Russell attempts to make us sympathise for Shirley and other working class women during the 1960's uses dramatic devices. Russell uses many dramatic devices such as Voice Over's (VO), Flashbacks, camera, pathetic fallacy, music and use of colours. Willy Russell uses a key dramatic device called flashbacks; identifies what a certain character saw during his/her past. One of the flashback Willy Russell's uses to try and make us sympathise for Shirley is when she is in school, in this flashback, we are shown how Shirley was treated in the past. In school we are told by Shirley's voice over, another dramatic device, that she always wanted to be an air hostess and wanted to be rich. ...read more.


Shirley talks to the camera as if it was her confidante, she gives her true opinions to the camera; "I know he'll keep his promise but the truth is... (Shirley turns and speaks to the CAMERA) I don't want him to." This demonstrates how much Shirley trusts us, the camera. Willy Russell's also uses many other dramatic devices that are not used as much. One is music, in Greece the music is up-tempo and jolly but in Liverpool, England the music is very slow and sad. Another device is pathetic fallacy, this is used whilst Shirley is walking down the street. It starts to rain at the same time as Shirley being sad. The rain make Shirley look even sadder therefore making us sympathise for her. Also when Joe pushes the food Shirley cooked, there is silence for a while, this is demonstrating how Shirley feels in a way that cannot be described verbally. The language Willy Russell's uses is another technique that is used to invite us to sympathise for Shirley Valentine. He uses a variety of devices such as humour (at time self-deprecating), emotive language and use of third person. An example of humour is when Shirley describes herself as on the, "Missing persons list." And also she says that she has "Disappeared" Shirley's exaggeration and self-deprecation makes us sympathise for her because she no longer know who she is and has lost nearly everything. She is living a boring lifestyle. ...read more.

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