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"One Good Beating"

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"One Good Beating" Many contemporary Scottish plays explore the conflict that can exist between people of different generations. In this essay I am going to discuss whether or not Linda McLean's "One Good Beating" conveys this issue of conflict and explore the other themes throughout the play. Although "One Good Beating" only consists of three characters (Robert-dad, Elaine- daughter and Stephen-son) there are many conflicts throughout the play, many of which are between all three characters over the same issue. Stephen is in conflict with his dad Robert because when he was younger he used to beat him. Stephen is still affected by his traumatising childhood even though he is in his mid thirties. Stephen: "But he never hit you" Elaine: "If he thinks for a minute you're stuck in the past he'll Beat you" These words illustrate how Stephen has been emotionally scarred by what his father did to him and can't live his life properly because he is living with the memory of his tragic childhood. ...read more.


Robert is not only in conflict with Elaine and Stephen, he is also in conflict with his dead wife, or rather himself, because he loved her enough to marry her but beat her mentally and was constantly putting her down. He didn't even bury her right. Robert: " ... they don't cost nothing these cardboard coffins" Robert: "... your mother was petty" Robert: " when I first met her she was ... a wee cracker. God she was brilliant." These words illustrate just how torn he was between his emotions. He knew deep down that he loved her but had trouble conveying this to the outside world. This issue of their mother's death and their father's emotion towards this event was the main reason which drove Elaine and Stephen to be in conflict near the end of the play. Robert has pushed Stephen so far that he finaly admits his fear of becoming like his dad. Stephen: " I know why I haven't got any. ...read more.


However as soon as Stephen leaves, Robert gets the power back by confronting Elaine. Robert: " it looks like revenge" Elaine: " its not revenge" Robert: " revenge for the times YOU sat here" Stephen returns to hear Robert bad mouthing his mother and so he marches into the coal shed and confronts his father with questions about what he did wrong and the reason for him living, which means the power, has shifted to him. However this isn't the case for long as Robert tells him that he never loved him and the power turns to Robert, where it stays till the very end of the play because he forces his son to leave and tricks his daughter into forgiving him for all that he has done. In conclusion, Linda McLean's " one good beating" does not only explore the issue of conflict between different generations but also explores the issue of constant power and status change which is attached to these conflicts. ?? ?? ?? ?? Julie Hynd 5F1 ...read more.

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