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How does Willy Russell demonstrate class difference in Blood Brothers?

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Introduction

Year 10 coursework: 20th century Drama. How does Willy Russell demonstrate class difference in Blood Brothers? "Blood Brothers" was written by Willy Russell in 1985. A Liverpudlian West Side Story: twin brothers are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both. She gives one of them away to wealthy Mrs Lyons and they grow up as friends in ignorance of their blood relationship until the inevitable quarrel caused through 'class' differences leads to the tragic outcome. In this essay, I will examine how Willy Russell demonstrates class differences in his play 'Blood Brothers.' I will be looking at the differences between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnson. The differences between Eddie and Mickey as young children at the age of seven. The different police attitudes towards Eddie and Mickey. Also Mickey as a worker and Eddie as a student at university, and the impact, class difference has on the end of the play. Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnson have many social differences. Mrs Lyons has a comfortable home, and lifestyle - the Lyons can offer Eddie a better life that Mrs Johnson, "If my child was raised in a place like this one, he wouldn't have to worry about where his next meal is coming from." ...read more.

Middle

Mickey on the other hand doesn't, he swears more often and uses slang words- "but I'm not playin' now cos I'm pissed off." Neither Mickey nor Eddie are fully aware of social differences between them, they decided to become 'blood brothers' despite their differences, "do you wanna be my blood brother, Eddie?" They are drawn together because each sees things in the other they like. Eddie -"you know the most smashing things." When Eddie and Mickey are caught by a policeman, about to throw bricks through a window we see the change in the policeman's behaviour, when talking to Mrs Johnson and Mrs Lyons which also highlights the social differences between rich and poor in the play. The policeman treats Mrs Johnson as an outcast when he talks down to her, he becomes authoritive and threatening, and he describes the incident as "a serious crime." "Either you keep them in order, misses, or it'll be the courts for you or worst." Telling "there'll be no more bloody warnings." Towards Mr and Mrs Lyons he is respectful, he removes his helmet. He recognises the status that wealth brings and acts quite differently. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mrs Johnson appears and reveals "he's your brother". Mickey realises that nothing is different between them, except for their social backgrounds. All the pent-up bitterness and frustration with his life explodes as he realises that "could have been... I could have been him!" Neither Mickey nor Eddie were different except from their different backgrounds. Mickey got the tough life and Eddie got the easy life, because one family had more money than the other. Eddie got to be a councillor and Mickey a redundant worker. In conclusion, Willy Russell demonstrates class difference through out his play by using two equal boys and putting them in different house holds. Their lives change dramatically because of their class, each of them are treated differently just because of wealth and status. Mickey and Edward's lives are partly ruled by fate, they have little power to change their lives, and their characters are trapped by social circumstances. The final comment is telling- "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 forces the viewer think about social class and the effect it has on our lives and whether we should allow class differences to effect our treatment of others. ...read more.

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