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Shirley Valentine. How Does Russell Invite the Audience to Sympathise with Shirley?

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Year 10 Shirley Valentine Essay How Does Russell Invite the Audience to Sympathise with Shirley? Willy Russell wrote the play 'Shirley Valentine', which reflected very much on his life. The play develops around one central character, Shirley, a middle aged housewife. The audience first meets Shirley sadly reflecting on her life because she hasn't had such a great life. The play shows how the leading character changes dramatically throughout the course of the play. From a lonely but cynical dependant human being Shirley becomes an independent woman. As the play progresses, the audience hears about Shirley's dream of going away somewhere. Her dream becomes a reality as she travels to Greece with her best friend Jane and away from her family. This essay is going to answer the question 'How Does Russell Invite the Audience to Sympathise with Shirley?' ...read more.


The third way in which Russell makes the audience feel sympathy for Shirley is in school. It uses the use of flashbacks. We see all kinds of feelings Shirley experiences in school. The headmistress asks the whole school a question "What was mans most important invention?" asks a couple of children deliberately not picking Shirley. As even Marjorie Majors doesn't know the answer she finally turns to Shirley. Shirley replies "Miss... it was-the wheel" all the other kids start laughing while the head stared at Shirley. The headmistress explodes with rage "somebody must have told you" this shows that in school everyone looked down on her and nobody had any hope in her. The tone in which the head mistress makes Shirley feel unwanted and low. It's now the end of term and Shirley valentine is receiving her report after Marjorie majors who had an excellent report "You're report is excellent as usual" and Shirley's report "You will truly get lost" Shirley then exits the class and rips her report to pieces. ...read more.


"What's this then? What ...is... this? It's Thursday. We have steak on Thursday. We always have steak on Thursday." Showing how controlled Shirley's life is and how Joe orders Shirley around. This makes Shirley feel very bad about herself and makes Joe feel like 'yes I've got her in a lock'. When in Greece Shirley goes off with Costas but Jane doesn't like this "He's just using you" showing that Jane thinks Shirley doesn't know right for herself and judges Costas, saying he only wants the sex. When Jane went off earlier with a man she met on the plane she is being a hypocrite and is upset that Shirley is leaving her when she did exactly the same to Shirley. Shirley did eventually get her message across to Joe. So now he can understand how she feels and Shirley now has freedom. So Shirley can live her life her way instead of just Joe's way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Roshan Mistry 10O English Miss Hamilton 22 October 09 ...read more.

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