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"And do we blame superstition for what has come to pass? Or is it what we, the English, have come to know as class?"

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"And do we blame superstition for what has come to pass? Or is it what we, the English, have come to know as class?" 'Blood Brothers' is a musical based on superstition and class, and Willy Russell has used various techniques to make a point to the audience that social class makes a difference in our society. This is why he asks the question above. In this play some things occur because of superstition, but most are due to the social class of the characters. The first few lines have great significance to the rest of the play, as they create suspense and confusion towards the audience. First of all, Russell creates dramatic irony with the audience, as he explains the whole story in the form of a short poem. This is then repeated at the end of the play, just before the question above is asked. The quote "How one was kept and one given away" is very significant, as this is the main story of the play. The audience now know what is going to happen - "An' did never you hear how the Johnstones died," and they see "a re-enactment of the final moments of the play- the deaths of MICKEY and EDWARD", but they do not know how it happened. This leaves the audience in suspense, and confused as to why the twins died, "Never knowing that they shared one name". The first line the narrator speaks is "So did y' hear the story of the Johnstone twins?" and this rhetorical question is directed at the audience. The effect of this will catch the audience's attention, and hopefully make them want to know about the Johnstone twins. What the narrator says about Mrs Johnstone is also very important, because it influences the audience's thoughts of her, "a mother, so cruel". This gives the audience the image that she is an evil person, with " a stone in the place of her heart". ...read more.


which emphasises the social class of Mrs Lyons. By the end of the conversation between Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons, the audience can see that Mrs Lyons is a well brought-up and educated lady with a wealthy husband. However, they can also see that even though she has an affluent lifestyle, she is still not a very happy person because she is desperate for a child to make her life complete. During this conversation the audience also get an idea of how superstitious Mrs Johnstone really is. In the stage directions it says, "...dusting the table upon which the shoes had been placed." This is because Mrs Lyons had placed a pair of new shoes on the table, which apparently brings bad luck, so therefore Mrs Johnstone wants to brush away any traces of this 'bad luck'. When Mrs Johnstone discovers she is pregnant with twins, she tells this news to her employer Mrs Lyons. On hearing this news Mrs Lyons suggests, "Give one to me". Mrs Johnstone is very reluctant at first, but as Mrs Lyons has more power over Mrs Johnstone because of their social class, Mrs Johnstone is persuaded. Mrs Lyons sings a song offering the child so many material possessions, like "all his own toys and a garden to play in", and nods when Mrs Johnstone suggests "a bike with both wheels on". This makes Mrs Johnstone realise that if she gave the child to Mrs Lyons, he would have so much more. Mrs Lyons can offer him everything, as she will "always be there". By this song the audience can see that Mrs Lyons is quite manipulative, as she knows that Mrs Johnstone cannot offer him all the things she can, and therefore in a way hypnotises Mrs Johnstone. For example, she says, "You said it yourself", making Mrs Johnstone believe that she was the one who brought up the idea. ...read more.


Not only does the language and dialect give the audience an idea about the characters, so do the costumes. For example, Mrs Lyons would be dressed in a formal manner, with clean matching clothes, all neatly ironed and washed. They would most probably be of bright colours, like pink or sky blue. On the other hand, Mrs Johnstone would be totally different. Her clothes may be quite dirty looking, with a few holes and rips, so she is literally wearing rags. They would most likely be much darker colours, like browns, or mustard yellow. This goes to show that the way one dresses and conducts one self goes a long way on first impressions. Which ties in with the question asked at the end. This is because once the audience saw the costumes of the ladies they could distinguish the difference in class. This would relate to the treatment both ladies got from others around, seeing as they would address Mrs Lyons in a formal manner, but Mrs Johnstone as a commoner. So once again Russell is trying to tell the audience that class does matter. The purpose of this essay was to explain how Willy Russell has influenced the audience's response to the question asked at the end of the play. Russell has built in superstition like a crescendo. By this I mean that the role of superstitious beliefs grew. Class has been an issue all through the play. The reason Russell asks "And do we blame superstition for what has come to pass? Or could it be what we, the English, have come to know as class", is to show people that both superstition and class played a major part in the lead up to the death of the twins, Mickey and Edward. He is also trying to show that everyday life is very similar, and people are treated differently because of their class. Russell uses many various, effective, and interesting ways to influence the audience's answer. This is what made the musical, "Blood Brothers", so successful. 1 ...read more.

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