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Russell uses humour to convey a serious message in Our Day Out. Discuss.

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Introduction

Russell uses humour to convey a serious message in Our Day Out. Discuss. William Russell, the author of Our Day Out, used to teach in a school that was in a 'socially deprived' area of Liverpool, from 1973-74. In his time there he went on a trip with them, and this is obviously where the idea for Our Day Out came about from. Back then, children were basically brought up to fail, to be factory fodder, and be in jobs where you're not required to think. Pupils at the age of 11 had to take an exam called the 11+, where if you passed, you went to Grammar School, where all sorts of opportunities are opened up to you. If you failed however, you entered a Secondary Modern school. Our Day Out was actually written in 1977, and was very much based on his own experiences, so he knows what he's talking about with the problems that the children face, and is not just some bigotry politician preaching of things that he hasn't had first hand experience on. So that's the background to this play, now I will talk about the title question to this essay. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that Briggs has a viewable lack of understanding of the children's way of life. The setting of the play takes the children from the streets of Liverpool to the zoo, to get away from their troubles and leave them behind. They also go to the castle, and then finally to the beach, with Briggs' recommendation. But in the end, they return back to Liverpool, to inherit their problems once again. This pattern of events is on a cycle, no matter where they go, they always end up back at square one. This shows their route in life as well, as they can get away from it all, but they have to come back to reality of their predicament. Now, on to the funny situations of the play. The first one in the play that comes to mind, is when the Bus driver tells the children they can't have sweets or lemonade on the bus. Then Mrs Kay gives him a totally put on speech about how these kids can't even afford to look at sweets, at which the Bus driver looks around the streets, then feels very guilty, and tells the nearest kid to take his money and go buy some sweets. ...read more.

Conclusion

Carol, seems to understand the hopeless situation she and the rest of the children are to face in life. She's found by Briggs on the Clifftop, on the brink of suicide, Briggs tries to comfort her, and eventually she comes down. But this one girl has realised what situation she is in, and feels helpless because of it. The last serious situation is right at the very end with Briggs, after the children have all gone home, some saying how Briggs is a cool guy, and how they didn't know he's like that. He holds the film with the pictures of him letting go of himself and actually having some fun with the children, and crunches it up, after saying that he'd take it to the lab to develop them himself. But by crumpling the film up, he shows another example of a circular cycle in the play, where by he starts off strict, then lets himself go, then when he's back in Liverpool, he goes back to strict again. I think he crumples the film so he can still retain his strict status at school, so the children don't get on top of him. Overall, Russell's play is not just all humour; it's cleverly disguised with serious scenes for the reader to think about within it. ...read more.

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