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Shirley Valentine

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"Shirley Valentine" English Coursework Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine is a romantic comedy, set in Liverpool, about a woman called (Surprisingly) Shirley Bradshaw. She is married to a man called Joe. When Joe and Shirley were married, they loved each other passionately, but as the years went on her life became a routine of washing up plates, glasses and dishes and making meals for her husband. She has resorted to talking to the kitchen wall because she is bored and has no one to socialize with. Shirley though, can never remember the exact point in which her amorous marriage turned into a horrible nightmare. Her marriage becomes so routine that Joe eats particular meals on particular days and if he does not get them on the right allocated days he has a tantrum! The play is influenced by kitchen sink drama, which was around during the late 1950 to 1960.It was a straight realism with a focus on working- class life, social problem relationships. Many kitchen sink dramas didn't have a pessimistic atmosphere that pervades the play with characters trapped in realistic social situation. The title sequence and opening scenes help to establish Shirley's character, by demonstrating atmosphere background and expressions. Moreover, there is a lot we can deduce from images. Firstly there are sketches in the opening of the film which instinctively grabs the audience's attention towards the main motif of the film, from the continuous references referred by Shirley's point of view, to the implication of Shirley's incompleteness as a person. ...read more.


Shirley refers her marriage "like the middle east" this implicates her marriage has gone under war without anyway to resolve the solution, she also fells that her relationship has come to stage of no reasoning. Summarising, the use of flashback/expositions allows us to understand the characters better, it gives us a broad understanding of how she came to be who she is, and to compare her happier past to her miserable. Dramatic monologue is used in the film so the audience can feel more involved or have more sympathy for the protagonist; this therefore allows interest and excitement to continue throughout the film, I personally believe it has developed very successfully. The fact that Shirley talks to herself emphasis not only loneliness, but also the inner person who wants to be free. The life of routine is controlled by her husband Joe, which drags Shirley to being dependant. Shirley relationship with Joe is pointless with son Brian and Millandra left home, a total lack of communication with her husband has lead to Shirley talking to wall, as she remarks "Hello wall" this indicates her sadness and a further feeling of her isolation. Shirley's encounters with minor characters after leaving her jail of an environment to go to Greece, brings forth the first big change in Shirley's withdrawn and insecure nature, and revealed an articulate and righteous person. ...read more.


My final impression of Shirley's character is a woman of confidence, sensitivity and strength (she now can stand up for herself and what she believes in).Noticed by Joe as he arrives at Greece's luminous beaches he sees a attractive woman watching the horizon, but is not able to recognise his wife. The absence of her husband illustrates her living a dead marriage, giving Shirley Valentine gives a clear idea of Willy Russell intentions with the play. A woman leaves her husband, in order to find herself and a life of fulfilment, especially for a working class woman. The initial purpose is that nobody should be restricted by what others perceive their status to be. Shirley character can benefit people around the world, making them understand that life is what you make it, people can also be influenced and learn from the play so that they don't do the mistakes that Shirley once did. Willy Russell based the play on women during the ages of kitchen sink drama who were educated to be house wives and Willy Russell explains problems caused by woman forced into becoming housewives and explains it very well to send the message cross to the audience. Overall, the transformation of Shirley Bradsel to Shirley Valentine during her being middle aged, helps us to reveal how Russell feels about age, that age should not stop people from achieving their amibitions. Shabeer Toor ...read more.

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