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GCSE: Blood Brothers
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- Peer Reviewed essays 4
"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.
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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.
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. Willy Russell looks at love as a theme and shows the two women who love their sons but show it in completely different ways. Willy Russell created two very different mothers to explore the effects of nature and nurture, superstition, class, power and dreams.
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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.
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Blood brothers by Willy 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.
Willy 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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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'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.
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This is because when the mother (Mrs Johnstone) gave birth to twins, she would have 9 children and this would have proved almost impossible to provide for all, therefore she decided to give one of the twins to her employer, Mrs Lyons. As a result, Edward goes off with Mrs Lyons and lives a good medium class life; this is a vast contrast with Mickey's life. The two extracts from Blood Brothers which I have studied explore the idea of the two brothers uniting and becoming friends.
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Blood Brothers- How does Russell display to his audience the ways that class affects his characters?
Russell makes it as clear that the families are at two opposite ends of the class system. This is show through scenery in the houses, clothing the characters wear, manners the characters use or in some case the lack of them and the way in which they speak and the language they use. He uses two very stereotypical families in the different social classes. Mrs Johnstone is a poor single mother with eight children, and who everyday struggles with the simplest things in life such as money, clothes, food and a decent job. We immediately see Mrs J as at the lower end of the social class system "you owe me...
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Mickey Grows up and gets a job but looses it after a while. With a new wife and a daddy to be, Mickey is desperate to get another job. He is so desperate for money that he gets involved in a robbery and is given 'life' in prison. Therefore Edward has become a councilor with a good education, but with Mickey's girlfriend Linda desperate for someone to love her, she suddenly turns to Edward and they grow dangerously close. When Mickey finds out about them his anger gets worse, he is so angry that he points a pistol directly at Edward, he accidentally shoots Edward the police are called and get their in a hurry and shoot Mickey.
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When Mickey finds he sets out on a mission to find his friend, with Mrs Johnstone and Linda hurrying after him, in a last ditch attempt to stop Mickey from Killing his twin, Mrs Johnstone finally tells the brothers the truth, but drastic consequences come to pass. Aristotle proposes that all tragedies must revolve around a tragic hero. In the case of "Blood Brothers", Mrs Johnstone takes on the role of the hero. Although Mrs Johnstone holds this title, it could be argued that later on in the production the two brothers, Edward and Mickey, take on this role.
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Mickey's uniform was scruffy and dirty the total opposite of Eddies. They were treated differently by society by a policeman. Both of the brothers were throwing stones when a policeman caught them and took them home. He had a drink at the Lyons' house and advised docking Eddie's pocket money for a while as a punishment. Whereas at the Johnston's he told Mickey off and saying that its not a joke throwing stones and that he could be fined next time.
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Mrs.Lyons decided to take it upon herself to have the child as her own, "He need never guess" was her response to Mrs.Johnstone, about the deceit...could this be the story of the twins' deaths; being cruelly separated at birth by Mrs.Lyons, not knowing that they were brothers, or was Mrs.Lyons just desperate for a child of her own, and didn't realise the consequences of her actions? To add to the blame of Mrs.Lyons, she had carried out many other scheming concepts, such as when she took advantage of Mrs.Johnstone's belief in superstition, "they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die".
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But Willy Russell does manage to portray these issues in a entertain way to engage the audience. The characters and their language also reflect how life really was at that time. The two main characters Mickey and Edward, who were separated at birth, are presented in a totally different way. When they meet Mickey is presented typically like a lower-class person, we can immediately tell that through his language as he uses a lot of slang and swear words. Willy Russell wanted us the audience to react alarmingly to Mickey, someone like a troublemaker, as shown by the quotes, 'But I'm not playin' now 'cos I'm pissed off', and 'Yeh, I know loads of words like that.
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EXPLAIN HOW THE TWO MOTHERS ARE DIFFERENT AND WHY RUSSELL PRESENTS THEM IN THIS WAY? The musical play Blood Brothers, written by Willy Russell, is the story of twins separated at birth
Thus there are clear biographical parallels to the character of Mickey. He was also influenced by females during his life thus the strong relations to the mother in this work. Liverpool in those days was split according to social class. This means people in that time were divided along the lines of being rich and poor, the educated and non-educated etc. Liverpool has been the home to one of the highest levels of unemployment in the developed world, with over 25% of the workforce out of a job, and it is important to consider this when taking account of Russell's depiction and own views of class and unemployment The main theme
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The only chance I had of seeing a World Cup that doesn't involve seeing it on a puny 10" fuzzy TV screen or in an overcrowded pub with nowhere to move and inhaling so much cigarette smoke I had may as well have taken smoking up myself but the really big thing you miss out on, the reason so many people go to football matches, why some people pay so much for a single ticket, to own one seat for 90 minutes is to witness the atmosphere.
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'Blood Brothers' is set at a crucial time in British history. It is set in Liverpool in the early 1980s at a time when many of the working class were being replaced by machines as it was cheaper. The educated people, though were hardly affected. We see Mrs Johnston a hard-working woman, pregnant, alone with seven children and struggling to pay her debts. Then we see her 'bright and breezy', middle class employer Mrs Lyons. At first glance both women seem different, but they both share similar difficulties. They both are mostly alone and have been abandoned by their husbands.
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Once we had completed our discussion, we were then given a time frame to work towards. Once we had dispersed into our groups we divided the roles in the scene amongst ourselves; Adrian as Eddie, I was Mickey, Tamara was Mrs Johnston and both Zion and Emma acted as the police officers. I felt that this particular exercise was particularly interesting and beneficial for us all; this is as we had a new insight and understanding of Blood Brothers on a higher level. Through the re-enactment of the Blood Brothers production I also found a new knowledge of each character, particular Mickey (the character I played), this is because as you take on the role and you're in a maximum involvement level you absorb the character and believe in the scene although it is actually happening.
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One of the ways he does this is by telling us she has seven kids. Although she is a young woman she is old in appearance. As a single mum she has to cope with the pressures of bringing seven children up on her own. One of the ways this is shown is when kid one says 'Mam. The baby's crying. He wants a bottle. Where's the milk?'. After this her other three kids start complaining about them not having enough to eat. When the mother starts singing you can tell that she is trying her best to make the kids happy but doesn't have the money to do so.
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Middle class people were put into council houses that were tiny, cramped and cold, but although this was the case, there was a strong sense of community between the neighbours and all of the children played together in a care free environment, unlike upper class houses that were widely separated and had their own gardens for the children to play in. This made Mickey and Eddie even more different because of the nurture side to the debate. Eddie had been raised alone and was smothered by his parents compassion and love and was given his parents full attention.
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How does Elizabeth Gaskell elicit sympathy for Helen, Gregory and even William Preston in the short story 'The Half-Brothers'? Do you find this story sentimental?
Saying how young she is 'She was barely seventeen' makes us feel sympathetic for Helen knowing that she is young and helpless. We also begin to think from this that she is too young to be married. The grief occurs when she loses her husband and she is left to look after a young child on her own. She was only just able to walk. We begin to think things are getting better for her when her sister comes to help her.
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Family seperation - Hot seating and role play - I have chosen to do a script interviewing Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons.
Evaluation: This exercise helped me greatly to understand about family separation. By doing this exercise I had a much better understanding of Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone character. This situation is very realistic because a lot of child separations are due to the parents this proves that most separations are from the parent's decisions. And in this case this is a single parent not being able to cope with more children. Mrs Lyons character is very superstitious and manipulative, she could see that Mrs Johnstone was weak and so she took advantage.
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On October 16th I went with my drama class to see a production of Blood Brothers (written by Willy Russell). It was performed in the Phoenix theatre in London, and we saw a matinee performance.
She also tells her that if one of the boys ever finds out he has a twin they will both die. Mrs Johnstone leaves, thinking she will never see her child again. Seven years later, Mrs Lyon's son (Eddie) meets Mrs Johnstone's son Mickey. They don't know they're brothers, but get on very well anyway and become friends, and 'Blood Brothers' (they both cut their hands and shake them together), even thought they're so different; Mickey is rough, loud and noisy, while Eddie is polite and well behaved.
- Word count: 2108
At the start of the play, the narrator asks the audience to Judge Mrs Johnston's crime for themselves. By the end of the play, does the audience believe that Mrs Johnston has a stone in place of a heart or has Willy Russell persuaded us otherwise?
Russell uses his humour to make serious points sound more interesting. Also, he tends to compare people from contrasting backgrounds to get different views on a situation. This is shown when Mrs Johnston moves out to the country, she thinks that her new house is perfect whereas Mrs Lyons, who lives in a big house over looking the council estate, thinks that the council homes are unpleasant and cheap. This shows that people from different backgrounds have very different views on life at this period.
- Word count: 2358