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GCSE: Blood Brothers

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  • Peer Reviewed essays 4
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  1. Peer reviewed

    How is the character 'Mrs Johnstone' portrayed in the play 'Blood Brothers'?

    4 star(s)

    The character 'Mrs Johnstone' is also portrayed as an extremely poor woman. I know this because at the end of the play she says to Mickey (before shooting Edward) 'I couldn't afford to keep both of you'. This shows the readers that she is trapped by poverty and reinforces the idea that it is difficult for her to take care for her children and is ultimately the reason why she gave Edward away to the middle-class 'Mrs Lyons'. Russell suggests that she is 'old before her time'. This indicates that she had to sacrifice any youthful enjoyment and financial security to care for her children - she cannot gain financial security because

    • Word count: 612
  2. Peer reviewed


    4 star(s)

    This event spurs Mickey on to seek revenge against Edward because he feels betrayed by him and Linda. Mickey reacted by ''comb the town, breaking through groups of people, looking, searching........ going to do''. It shows that he is out of control and he is counting to kill Edward. This is evident when the writer uses the words like searching, looking, desperate.....''. He doesn't even know that what is he looking for or what to do further. The words that the writer uses to show Mickey's agitated mood, heightens tension to the audience. Additionally, playing loud music intensifies tension too.

    • Word count: 880
  3. Peer reviewed

    Blood Brothers

    3 star(s)

    At 20 years old, he returned to college and became a teacher in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. Around this time he met his wife, Annie, and became interested in writing drama. As Willly Russell was brought up in the working class its not surprising that he left school with just one O - level. Also it's not surprising that he wrote a play write showing the digression of growing up in the working class. "Class" is central to the story as it is a theme that exists throughout the play. w***y Russell has shown the class affects people's lives by having 2 families in the play, the Johnstone family (working class) and the Lyons family (middle class).

    • Word count: 872
  4. Peer reviewed

    Compare how w***y Russell portrays the two families in 'Blood Brothers' and account for the different reactions of the audience to the Johnstones and Lyons' throughout the play.

    3 star(s)

    From the very beginning of the play we can see that the mothers are very different. You can really tell that Mrs Johnstone is a working class lady and she has aged a lot since her first child, people used to say she looked like Marilyn Monroe, 'they said the bride looked lovelier than Marilyn Monroe'. Mrs Johnstone has to work hard to feed all of her seven children, 'It's such a lovely house and it's a pleasure to clean'. Mrs Johnstone is also in a little bit of debt with her catalogues and milkman, 'you owe me three pounds, seventeen and fourpence'.

    • Word count: 1252
  5. How and why is the Summer Sequence Song the turning point in the play?

    This is to signify the children growing up and maturing. In the first verse slang like 'bob', referring to money for example, is used to create a more laid back atmosphere. It is there to show us that the children feel they shouldn't be concerned with what will happen in the future. They are unaware of their fate and feel 'invincible'. Also, it is rather ironic when the Narrator says that 'life has no ending when you're sweet sixteen', for both him and the audience know that their lives will come to an end.

    • Word count: 803
  6. Mickey Johnston Timeline - Blood Brothers by w***y Russell

    They become blood brothers but Mrs. Johnstone tells Eddie to stay away from Eddie. Eddie moves away, and Mickey also moves, to somewhere in the countryside. Mickey is still interested in sweets at this age. Age: 14 years At the age of 14, Mickey is a little shy, nervous around girls and just likes to mess around. While playing around in class he gets suspended, and so does Linda. While outside thinking, he meets Edward again.

    • Word count: 572
  7. Blood Brothers- With reference to the way Russell presents Mickey- Show how far you agree that Mickey is responsible for the things that go wrong in his life.

    Mickey's language and movement show his anger and frustration. Mickey uses foul language and his body language e.g. Pushing/Shoving shows anger. Mickey's life goes wrong at this point and it is totally his fault. His resentment and rage against Edward makes him go to the extreme and kill Edward. Mickey is very naive and because of this many things go wrong in his life. He is easily persuaded by Sammy to be a watch out. This is possibly because he is at the end of his tether and feels that there is no other way out of his present situation of misery.

    • Word count: 859
  8. How does w***y Russell explore the themes of class and society in Blood Brothers?

    "New shoes on the table, take them off..." so she is basically telling Mrs Lyons to take them off the table as this might cause a bad thing to happen. Mrs Johnstone again mentions "you never know what'll happen" this shows that she is of different class to Mrs Lyons as Mrs Johnstone is financial insecure and believes money will solve all her problems. However as Mrs Johnstone is less financial developed it would make her more superstitious because she might not be able to afford a terrible incidence if money is involved.

    • Word count: 2779
  9. How has w***y Russell portrayed Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons in Blood Brothers? How does he shape the audience response to the two women?

    You never, ever learn, that nothing's yours, on easy terms.' This proves the point, the idea of having everything for her children is so tempting she just keeps on trying to pay, as though she has some hope that one day when it comes around, she will have the money to pay it. Easy terms is used by the narrator, easy terms means that you pay for something over time but the narrator is using easy terms for Mrs. Johnstone as there will be a price to pay, in the end you will have consequences to your actions, in this case she will pay for giving her child away.

    • Word count: 1757
  10. Compare how w***y Russell portrays the two mothers in Blood Brothers. Account for the different reactions the audience will have to the two women throughout the play.

    Mrs. Lyons was created as a person who, lives in a large house, very contentedly in a nice part of Liverpool, who wants children but is unable to have any, even though she is rich, unlike Mrs. Johnstone. w***y Russell looks at love as a theme and shows the two women who love their sons but show it in completely different ways. w***y Russell created two very different mothers to explore the effects of nature and nurture, superstition, class, power and dreams.

    • Word count: 2824
  11. Blood brothers - w***y Russell writes entertaining drama and champions the socially disadvantaged

    Lyons, she says "I can't stop having them" in relation to a baby. Some perceive that this is Mrs. Johnstone's psychological advantage over her as she may be classed as disadvantaged as she is infertile and cannot have any children. In many of Mrs. Johnstone's scenes there are meant to be children running around everywhere making lots of noise, which eventually annoys the audience and we put ourselves in her shoes, thinking how she must cope with this constant racket and sympathise with her because of this. In contrast Mrs. Lyons seems lonely in the majority of her scenes, even her husband when he came had to rush off quickly, she seems to get her happiness from money.

    • Word count: 2773
  12. The narrator's role in 'Blood Brothers' is quite unusual. The narrator is on stage all the time, watching the characters and often lurking in the background, and this makes him seem a sinister and threatening character,

    stage at such times that it has an enormous impact upon the audinace;up to the extent that even when the narrator is not to be seen and is not there the audinace have this emotion in which they express that the narrator is omniscuent. For instance the play states the following "The devils got your number" this suggests that the narrator is becoming powerful, and the fact that he knows what's going on that he is all seeing. The fact the past is not going to let Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyonsgo that easily.

    • Word count: 917
  13. Through close examination of the Narrators songs and speeches, explore how w***y Russell uses the role of the storyteller in Blood Brothers

    Russell wanted the play to sound like 'an old Greek myth'. In ancient Greek theatre, the chorus was a group of minor actors who appeared mostly in tragedies and could portray any character. This is similar to Blood Brothers in that it follows the tragic story of two families and that the narrator in the book plays several different roles. The Greek chorus would also usually communicate in song and would comment on the actions and reactions of the characters in the play, comparable to how the narrator converses in the play.

    • Word count: 410
  14. Blood Brothers

    In the plat there are two main characters. These are Mickey and Edward are twins who were separated at birth. The quote 'gis a sweet' is said by Mickey which shows that he is a rude boy and does not have any manners. As a youngster Mickey is rude and impolite to others. This is shown by the quote above which is said to by Mickey to Edward. Mickey speaks to Edward in this manner because he is from a working-class and has been taught that he would not get the things that he would want or ask for.

    • Word count: 3701
  15. Compare how w***y Russell portrays the two mothers in Blood Brothers. Account for the different reactions the audience will have toward the two women throughout the play.

    The advent of containerization meant that the city's docks were becoming largely obsolete. In the early 1980s unemployment rates in Liverpool were among the highest in the UK. This meant it was "premature retirement for those surplus to requirement" thousands without work, on the dole and with families to support. Slums developed and crime was high. For Mrs. Johnstone all she had time for was trying to scrape enough money together to make sure her children had clothes to wear and food to eat.

    • Word count: 1978
  16. w***y Russell writes entertaining drama about believable characters and champions the cause of the socially disadvantaged. With reference to the historical and social context of Blood Brothers, analyse the accuracy of this statement.

    "They say...they say that if either twin learns that he was once a pair, they shall both immediately die. You won't tell anyone about this Mrs Johnstone; because of you do you will kill them." This section of the play is an excellent example of dramatic tension as it creates suspense and makes the audience sympathise with Mrs Johnstone. Dramatic irony is also another technique Russell uses to entertain the audience. The section of the play where Mickey and Edward meet as young children is great example if this. "Ey, we were born on the same day...that means we can be blood brothers.

    • Word count: 1544
  17. Blood brothers by w***y Russell Analyse how Russell presents the brothers first meeting act one p22-27 what does the meeting reveal about the social and historical context of the play and how does it prepare us for the rest of the play.

    w***y Russell is the author of the play 'Blood Brothers'. 'Blood Brother' is set in Liverpool which influences the storyline of the character Mickey's family live in a rough area of Liverpool then go on to move away from there house and go to live near his brothers family Edward. The setting of the play influence the way Mickey speak he has a Liverpudlian accent. Edward doesn't have a Liverpudlian accent. The play was first performed in Liverpool. 'Blood Brothers' is about two twin brothers who are separated at birth because of their mother not being able to keep both of them.

    • Word count: 2124
  18. How are the mothers presented in the play Blood Brothers and how does the audience respond to them ?

    she tells her to swear on the bible to seal their deal and so that no one else will find out about this. Right at the beginning from the way Mrs Lyons persuades Mrs Johnstone, the audience can tell that she is the type of person who will go to any lengths to get what she wants. When in act 1 scene 8, the mother decides that if Mrs Lyons is not going to let her work there anymore then she is going to tell someone about how Mrs Lyons took one of her children, Mrs Lyons comes up with

    • Word count: 977
  19. Blood Brothers. In the play we see that Mrs Johnstones life totally contrasts with Mrs Lyons life, we see this in many different ways during the play,

    To earn some money Mrs Johnstone the house of Mrs Lyons, she is so desperate to keep the job she makes commitments and says things such as "I wont even need to take one day off, I love this job" She is just managing to scrape by now that she has the job, this shows that the job means everything to her and she cant afford to lose it. During the "fun song" Mrs Johnstone acquires a mop and bucket, this shows how her 'boring' job has changed her life.

    • Word count: 2325
  20. Compare how w***y Russell portrays the two brothers in Blood Brothers. Account for the different reactions the audience have to the two characters throughout the play.

    She pressurised Mrs Johnston to say 'At the birth of my twins I shall give one of the children to Jennifer J. Lyons'. Russell is trying to cause an early rift amongst the brothers and profound that society treats people in many different ways and can pave the way for people's lifespan. The audience feel generally excited towards this turning point in the play and would love to know how the rest of the play and the brothers life's pan out.

    • Word count: 2163
  21. Blood Brothers interview with w***y Russell

    Mr. Russell, what can you tell us about the setting you have chosen for your play? I chose to set the play in Liverpool. I grew up there, so I had a great appreciation for the jokes and the language the locals used, as well as a superb mental map of the Liverpudlian area. This helped me whilst writing the play, as I could relate the setting to my own experiences as a teenager. The play begins in the 1960s; considerably I make this clear to the audience in the opening scenes when Mrs. Johnston sings about Marilyn Monroe.

    • Word count: 2740
  22. neither mother is without guilt

    In the next few paragraphs we will consider whether Mrs Johnstone is guilty or not guilty of the death of the brothers and similarly if Mrs Lyons is guilty or not guilty. First of all we shall consider the case against Mrs Johnstone. What evidence is there to suggest that she is guilty? We think Mrs Johnstone is guilty because she swore on the bible that she would give Eddie away and not tell anyone the truth. Mrs Johnstone lied as at the end she tells them that they are brothers: "Mrs Lyons shows the bible to Mrs Johnstone, who is reluctant but lays her hand on it."

    • Word count: 1166
  23. Blood Brothers - The Narrator

    'He steps forward and starts to recite the prologue to his audience. In this soliloquy he tells 'the story of the Johnstone twins...how one was kept and one was given away...never knowing that they shared one name, till the day they died.' This soliloquy is very effective in the fact that it allows the Narrator to prepare the audience for the morbid tale which will unfold in front of them. It's true that what he says is very ominous, but this was the task which he was given, he had to prepare the audience for what was to come, as the Narrator of the play it is his duty to make the audience understand what is happening through out the play.

    • Word count: 2281
  24. Free essay

    What makes Blood Brothers an effective stage play?

    One way in which the social disparities are revealed through speech, as Edward is well spoken and formal, in contrast to Mickey who is informally spoken and uses abbreviated words vastly throughout his context. Another way that the differences are presented is through the behaviour and the way the two characters conduct themselves. Edward is straight forward in terms of personality, whilst Mickey is sly in the way he conducts his actions and his personality is quite difficult to understand.

    • Word count: 3612
  25. What is w***y Russell telling us about class and society in 1980(TM)s Britain in the play Blood Brothers and how

    One way that Russel shows us the difference between the two social classes is a technique called cross cutting, this is showing once scene and then after it showing an almost opposite of this, Russel uses technique throughout the play however one main scene is when Micky, Eddie and Linda are caught by a policeman throwing stones at windows. When the policeman is telling the children's parents he talks to Mickey's, who is from a poorer background in a more threatening tone and more assertive, however it then cross cuts over to him telling Eddies parents about what happened and

    • Word count: 1022

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in Blood Brothers. Account for the different reactions the audience will have to the two women throughout the play.

    "In conclusion, one the one hand, sometimes Willy Russell portrays Mrs. Johnstone to be the 'real' mother and induces the audience to be attracted to her. Russell than portrays Mrs. Lyons to be the 'false' mother and sways the audience to find her unsympathetic and snobbish. He portrays her as a cold woman who does not show much emotion. We see her as over-protective of Eddie as she fears his bond with the Johnstone family. Yet on the other hand, Willy Russell tends to make the audience to believe that Mrs. Lyons and Mrs. Johnstone are equally sympathetic. He portrays both mothers to be loving and caring mothers who make the best of things. In general, Willy Russell does portray Mrs. Johnstone to be the 'real' mother seeing that she understood the tender relationship between Mickey and Edward. Willy Russell portrayed Mrs. Lyons to be a very selfish woman because of her previous actions like sending Edward to boarding school and showing Mickey that Edward and Linda have been unfaithful. The audience will also feel very understanding and sympathetic towards Mrs. Johnstone throughout the play whereas they may have felt hatred for Mrs. Lyons."

  • Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two brothers in Blood Brothers. Account for the different reactions the audience have to the two characters throughout the play.

    "I really enjoyed reading the play, after having studied it in great detail. Although a sad ending it is a brilliant play throughout and never a dull moment. There are lots of creative moments in the play which always keep you interested. I especially like the way Russell compares and contrasts the two classes between Eddie and Mickey during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Humour is also brought into the play as you can see that Mickey just doesn't have a clue and isn't ever going to get anywhere and you also see that Eddie is so different and has the brains but starts to throw it away due to his love for Lisa and Mickey's bad influence. For me Russell did a great job despite vastly exaggerating the difference of upper and lower class society."

  • Discuss the influences on the lives of Mickey and Eddie in Blood Brothers.

    "In conclusion, I can divide the influences on the lives of Mickey and Eddie in four main sections. The differences between Mickey and Eddie in the family, the social class they are, the education they have and the religion of the family. They are identical twins but they have got a very different life, I think it is because these things that I have mentioned before influenced them."

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