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How does Willy Russell use his characters to show social differences?

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Introduction

How does Willy Russell use his characters to show social differences? In the play Blood Brothers, Willy Russell expresses his views on social backgrounds very strongly and he portrays these through his stereotypical characters. The play begins with Mrs Johnstone entering and singing a song about herself. The reader is instantly informed about her social background and how she is a working class mother, as this is portrayed through her past experiences and vocabulary. At the start of the song we are told that she became pregnant at a young age and needed to be married. "Them, of course, I found that I was six weeks overdue. We got married at the registry an' then we had a do." The use of the word 'do' shows she has a lower class background as this is an improper word for reception and suggests she has experienced a deprived education. From this we are also told how she got married in a registry office, suggesting they couldn't meet the expense of a church wedding. As the song continues we are next notified how she has given birth to her child and we consequentially recognise her social class through the name she chooses for he child ' Darren Wayne'. ...read more.

Middle

This is further exemplified when Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone discuss their aspirations for their children. "Silver trays to take meals on, A Bike with both wheels on." This very strongly emphasizes a contrast between them, as Mrs Lyons expresses how she would spoil her child with expensive items where as Mrs Johnstone says she would be content to afford a bike with both wheels on. Once again portraying their social backgrounds and their social status at present. As Edward enters it is obvious that he is bright and forthcoming, easily showing how he is the complete opposite to Mickey. Edward is portrayed as a polite and generous boy, where as Mickey is much more abrupt. "Gis a sweet!" "All right" "What?!" "Here take one." The fact that Mickey is shocked when Edward offers to give him a sweet shows how is unfamiliar with generosity and people sharing things, as they have to fight for luxuries in his household, however Edward has been brought up in a plentiful society suggesting they have no limits. There is also a major difference in the boy's education. " In the what?" "The dictionary, don't you know what a dictionary is?" ...read more.

Conclusion

In this way Russell shows the upper classes naivety to a life without money and the issues it would entail. Towards the end of the play Russell sums up the play as Mickey tragically says... "Why didn't you give me away? ... I could have been him!" Russell uses this for the audience to question themselves whether Mickey would of endured a better lifestyle if he was adopted rather than Edward and also shows how sometimes the lower class have high aspirations to become more fortunate as owning an upper class status as finally Mickey wishes he was given the chance to become Edward. Finally Russell allows the reader to consider everything read throughout the play. "And do we blame superstition for what came to pass? Or could it be what we the English have come to know as class?" This further questions the reader about aspects throughout the play and makes them decide whether the unfair opinions on social status are the Cause. In conclusion it is clear throughout the play that Russell clearly uses stereotyped characters to portray the differences in social status. He does this mainly by the use of characterisation and vocabulary, each time effectively portraying the unfair opinions towards the different classes throughout society. By Michael Gorst 10y1 Mrs Kirk ...read more.

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