• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The main themes in Our Day Out are lack of education, lack of opportunity and social deprivation. Show how the writer makes us aware of these themes

Extracts from this document...


The major themes in 'Our Day Out' are the lack of education, lack of opportunity and social deprivation in the inner city. Show how the writer makes us aware of these ideas. Our Day Out is set in inner city Liverpool in the mid 1970s. The fictional school is located in a neighbour with a high crime rate, drug use, prostitution, high unemployment, poverty and domestic abuse. The kids in the schools remedial class are all portrayed as economically unstable, poor and deprived children with different stories which reinforce the key ideas of the play. In 1981 there was rioting in Toxteth, a deprived district of Liverpool of which high unemployment rates were blamed for. The setting of the play acts as a prelude to the riots. Willy Russell adds elements of subtle humour which make the play funny and sad at the same time Early on in the play we are introduced to Carol Chandler who is evidently one of the poorest children in the class when she is revealed to be "wearing a school uniform which doubles as a street outfit and a Sunday best, eating half a sandwich and clutching a carrier bag" Here Russell is introducing us to one of the focal characters with a description which suggests that Carol's family can't afford to buy here a school bag, have to share food and can't afford many clothes. ...read more.


In a conversation with Colin, a young, less experienced teacher Briggs says "well you have to risk being disliked if you're to do any good for these children" and refers to Mrs Kay's teaching method as "woolly-headed liberalism". From this we can easily draw a conclusion that Mr Briggs doesn't think about the consequences of ruthlessness and all he is concerned about is positive results. Briggs obviously thinks because the kids missed out on a lot of education earlier in life they need some sort of intensive education technique if things are to be put right. He clearly sees respect from the kids as a nice extra when really it is essential. Also, when Mrs Kay changes the itinerary of the trip and takes the class to the zoo, Mr Briggs' response tells us he doesn't want to deviate from the schedule and keep the kids bored, something in Briggs' opinion would do the kids a bit of good. Colin later calls Mr Briggs a burke, and from this we can deduce that Mr Briggs is no more popular with his colleagues as he is with the students. On the other hand, Mrs Kay has a far more relaxed approach to educating the kids and a motherly, matriarchal attitude to the children-the two qualities awarding her street-cred with the kids. Mr Briggs sees this as a bad thing (he also thinks she has a motherly air) ...read more.


Willy Russell moves the play to a more dramatic climax which creates suspense-a literary device previously unused in the play. Carol's naivety is reinforced by her explicit desire to remain in Wales. At this point Briggs doesn't change in personality but is now powerless and has no way of controlling Carol's erratic and suicidal behaviour though knowing Briggs he is probably more concerned about being struck off and a legal inquiry than Carol's state of mind and only told her she had hope to avoid the two aforementioned crises. When Briggs changes his ways Russell manipulates the audience into thinking Briggs is changing permanently and he will help the kids catch up and excel in life. However our expectations are dashed when the class returns to the city. When Reilly describes the city as "horrible when you come back to it", Russell tells the audience that the children must be used to their neighbourhood after 13-15 years of entrapment in the inner city. Linda is unsure what Reilly is talking about which shows that she was taken in by the trip. Russell's message to the audience is that living in the inner city of Liverpool can toughen one up and as a result, enables the kids to survive almost anything. The ending is disappointing yet realistic and Briggs making a fool of himself through singing a ridiculous song in a cowboy hat adds a humorous side to this sombre scene. Page 4 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Our Day Out section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Our Day Out essays

  1. Our day out by Willy Russell - review

    Russell wants us to think he's becoming more relaxed like her. Briggs's attitude changes in the spirit of it all. "Play your cards right, I might take even you' for a ride on the waltzer" At the fair Briggs has fun with the kids.

  2. Our Day Out - How and why Mr Briggs changes

    In addition to him learning better teaching related techniques, he has also come into the world of reality - by having more knowledge of why the kids are like what they're like. Mr Briggs' behaviour and interaction changes after the cliff scene by him being more sympathetic and thoughtful; he

  1. A major theme in Our Day Out is the lack of education and opportunity ...

    According to Russell she is unable to achieve her dreams because of her poor education. She has poor vocabulary, common sense and is very gullible. He shows this through her comment, "oh yeh, I never thought of that".

  2. Our Day Out - Analyse the cliff scene in detail showing how Russell uses ...

    Where it's nice'. Even though she is in the progress class, she is acting quite intelligent. She can see through Mr Briggs 'That's why briggsy! So stop going on you hate me'. Carol is clever enough to know that she will never have the chance for her aspiration to come true 'Don't be friggin stupid'.

  1. Look at the Way Tension is Built up in Scene 35. Examine the Characters ...

    Briggs steps in and goes to find her with the other teachers. Carol is discovered by Mr. Briggs on top of the cliff which immediately adds tension with the name of the scene-the cliff- as a cliff is seen as a very dangerous place and one slip and you could fall and die.

  2. Our Day Out - a play written by Willie Russell.

    ' Would you mind controlling your language and telling me what's going on.' Here Mr Briggs is considerate of the children at the appropriate time. He is good at taking control during bad situations. He also uses please and polite language to show he is professional and polite.

  1. The major themes in ‘Our Day Out’ are the lack of Education, Opportunity and ...

    Carol starts off the play as she is running to school not to miss the trip. Willy describes her in the book as a girl; 'Wearing a school uniform which doubles as a street outfit and her Sunday best. She is eating half a sandwich and clutching a supermarket carrier bag.'

  2. A major theme in Our Day Out is the lack of education and opportunity ...

    As well as the castle they also went to the zoo, the beach and the funfair. Part 1: Carol at the school gates. Carol's use of language shows how there is a lack of education and opportunity in Liverpool at this time by the way that she says words like " Agh, ey, wanna, t', and goin' ".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work