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"Our Day Out"

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Introduction

"Our Day Out" In this assignment I shall be comparing two characters in the popular 20th century drama play "Our Day Out". It is written by Willie Russell and is based around a school trip from Inner city Liverpool to Conway Castle, Wales. The general plot is how a teacher, Mr Briggs', attitude towards the pupils changes. It is about his conversations with Mrs Kay, as both frequently disagree with each other and always believe they speak for the great majority. Mr Briggs doesn't care what the children's opinions are, and just wants to educate them so that they will go as far in life as they can. He has a reputation as a strict teacher and has been sent by the head teacher to "try and keep things in some kind of order" which gives me the impression that even the head teacher has no respect for Mrs Kay's teaching methods. Mrs Kay considers the pupils feelings, but doesn't consider their education to be as important as Mr Briggs does, for example "Ten years ago you could teach them to obey, to expect a little more than a lousy factory job. Now they don't even have that to aim for". Her philosophy is that the factories of Liverpool need workers, and that the children were destined to be in the factories. ...read more.

Middle

I don't really know why she is like this, but I think it is probably because she sympathises with them. In the Roadside cafe scene, we see how easily it is for the children to be manipulated, for example John and Mac, the shop keepers think they can take advantage of the kids by putting up the prices of everything then saying "Can I help inflation?" The Kids get there own back by stealing left, right and centre. Mrs Kay doesn't know this is happening but believes the kids can take care of themselves, "Ooh leave them. They've been cooped up for an hour. They'll want to stretch their legs and let off a bit of steam." She is not bothered that the kids will a nuisance of themselves. "Considering the profit which they will make out of the kids, I don't think they've got much to complain about." This shows Willy Russell's viewpoint. He doesn't believe in the exploitation of children. She thinks her job is just a game, because she has a firm belief that they are all going to grow up to be society's failures, to work in low paid factory jobs, "There's nothing for them to do, any of them, most of them were born for factory fodder, but the factories have closed down." ...read more.

Conclusion

She could as least give them the chance to learn. If she believed so strongly that the kids should be allowed to do what they want, she would give them the chance to learn. I do believe that she means what she says but the children did have the right to be educated if they did so wish. Mr Briggs is rigid and authoritarian to begin. He does start to show signs of relaxing once he is away from the school environment. It is the incident with carol which offers him an insight to his own way of thinking as he starts to see the kids as individuals. Though he is optimistic, he realises Carol won't get out of the poverty trap and so for a moment he allows the kids to enjoy themselves and so does he. Back at school in the reality of his daily existence he knows he needs a tough, sharp reputation to survive. The headmaster relied on Briggs to sort out the discipline and, as the school "looms behind him" when he comes back to reality, he knows there is no way of reconciling the two personalities. He reverts back to his former attitude. I found Our Day Out to be a surprisingly interesting book, as it provoked many thoughts in my mind. Despite a depressing message, it did broaden my horizons as to the psychology of both children and adults alike. ...read more.

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