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In writing "A Taste of Honey", what impact did Shelagh Delaney hope to have upon her audience? What techniques did she use to achieve these aims? Shelagh Delaney wrote "A Taste of Honey" in 1958 when she was only 18. "A Taste of Honey" is a story about the relationship between a girl and her mother. The mother, Helen, who is a semi-whore, leaves her daughter, Jo, to get married to Peter. Jo has a relationship with a sailor and gets pregnant. The sailor then leaves for duty. Jo meets Geoff, they become friends and Geoff offers to help Jo bring up the baby. Helen returns after splitting up with Peter and wants Jo back. The audience that Shelagh Delaney was writing for consisted mainly of middle class and upper class people. Her audience were used to seeing productions about characters leading similar lives to their own. The stereotypical play was where the men worked and the women stayed at home, cleaning and cooking. "A Taste of Honey" did not have these qualities at all. Shelagh Delaney's aims were to shock her audience into seeing what the real world could be like. The audience of the time were relatively un-aware of the truth about working classes and their lives. This type of play was new to the theatrical stage, and could take time before the "working class" plays would be accepted and appreciated. ...read more.


Although Helen is older and wants Jo to learn from her own mistakes, Jo believes that the way she does things is right. Jo can see her mum for who and what she is. Helen wants to leave Jo to fend for herself and live alone but because Helen loves Jo she can't walk away. We can see from the following speech that Helen feels emotionally attached to Jo. Peter: "Get rid of her" Helen "I can't" Helen cares for Jo but shows it in a different way to the way Jo would like her to. Jo would like cuddles and love but Helen prefers to give Jo advice and money. This is Helen's way of 'caring' for Jo. The action of her play is set in Salford, Manchester in a flat. This represents the type of life of the working classes in England around 1958. Shelagh Delaney portrays the working classes as laid back and relaxed. The characters in this play do not ever seem to rush to do things unless they are social events. The stage layout is very simple. There is the flat with the street outside on the other side of a wall: Shelagh Delaney uses the stage space very well. The characters are constantly moving around and the audience/reader can easily see everything that is happening. ...read more.


John Osborne was the first writer to produce a "reality play". He wrote 'Look back in anger' in 1956 when he was 27. Shelagh Delaney might have read his work and been inspired to produce a play like the plays John Osborne had written. Because Shelagh Delaney was only young when she wrote "A Taste of Honey" she would have been influenced by the world around her and other writers of the time. She would have brought in new ideas into theatre in the mind that "If she/he can do it, why can't I?" Shelagh Delaney's "A Taste of Honey" was inspiration for many writers. The writers of "Soaps" like Coronation Street and Eastenders will have been greatly influenced by the new ideas that Shelagh Delaney had brought into theatre. Shelagh Delaney will have influenced these writers because she had written a play about a topic that hadn't been shown on television before and the producers were looking for new ideas. Shelagh Delaney's work only has a small relevance to today's audience. Most of the ideas and concepts in it are aimed to suit the audience of the 1950's/60's. The theatre audiences of today know that most modern working classes do not live as the characters do in "A Taste of Honey". In "A Taste of Honey" Shelagh Delaney shocked her audience by presenting them with situations that they were not used to. This effect created a well structured and enjoyable play. 1 Leah Harland, Shelagh Delaney Essay ...read more.

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