BBC Bitesize - GCSE English Literature - Characters - AQA - Revision 2
Blood Brother Questions. 1) If you make a pact as a blood brother, what does it mean? (Page ). 2) In what ways are Mickey and Eddie being drawn together?. Blood Brothers is a popular play by Willy Russell. Eddie speaks like he has used a dictionary a lot, whereas Mickey doesn't know what one is. Characters and their relationships within 'Blood Brothers' Lyons uses to trap Mrs Johnstone into silence; that should Mickey and Eddie discover .. A belief resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false.
Friendly How is Mickey like this? He is happy to meet Edward and make friends with him, and accepts him as his best friend quickly. Analysis Mickey demonstrates his loyalty to his friend and sees their relationship as permanent. Friendship is clearly very important to Mickey as he views his new friend as an extension of his family.
Uneducated How is Mickey like this? Mickey is less educated that Edward. He swears and uses slang and does not know what a dictionary is. Do you know any more words like that? Yeh, I know loads of words like that.
Analysis Whereas Edward knows about things like dictionaries, Mickey knows swear words and speaks with a strong Liverpudlian accent. He is more streetwise than his new friend.
Evidence I thought, I thought we always stuck together. I thought we were Analysis Mickey has to grow up quickly as a teenager.
He leaves school in order to get a job and then has to support his new wife Linda after she falls pregnant. He is only 18 when he loses his job, leaving him in a desperate situation. So just take yourself away.
Go an' see your friends an' celebrate with them. I'm takin' y' out. We're goin' dancin', right?
Mickey Johnstone Profile - Character analysis in GCSE Drama
Then we're goin' for a slap-up meal an' tomorrow you can go into town an' get some new clothes. Where's the money comin' from? Look, stop arguin' will y'? I'm doin' some work an' then I'm takin' you out. Is that your Sammy?
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Now shut up Linda. Just make sure you're ready at eight What are y' doin? I'm takin' me tablet I need to take them The doctor - he said, about me nerves. An' how I get depressed an' I need to take these because they make me better I get depressed, but I don't take those. You don't need those, Mickey. Leave me alone, will y'? I can't cope with this. I can't do things I didn't sort anything out, Linda. It used to be just sweets an' ciggies he gave me, because I had none of me own.
Now it's a job and a house. I'm not stupid, Linda. You sorted it out.
You an' Councillor Eddie Lyons. Now give me the tablets Where are the fathers? Russell, despite being male, does not show great support of the father figures within Blood Brothers and instead shows more sympathy for the role of motherhood and the notions of tenderness and nurturing.
Mr Lyons plays a relatively small part in the show, often away on business, whilst Mr Johnstone appears at the beginning of the performance as a womaniser who leaves Mrs Johnstone in the lurch with children in tow. In regard to parenthood and brotherhood, can we assume that Russell views the bond of brotherhood to be inseparable, and that nature and truth will out?
Notes Tragedy A play in which the central character the tragic protagonist or hero suffers some serious misfortune which is connected with the hero's actions, but which is generally undeserved with regard to its harshness. Tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions. Monroe — a symbol of tragedy Prologue: Sets forth the subject and provides the background necessary for understanding the events of the play.
Would it be as effective if in prose? What then, is the effect of verse? Is your identity formed by the way you are brought up, or does it run deeper? The social class system and inequality: The grouping of people by occupations.
The different positions represent different levels of power, influence, opportunity and wealth. In this country, class effects how people are able to live their lives and the situations they are in; this class divide was perhaps more pronounced in previous decades. Russell believed that the class you belong to determines - to a large extent - your chances in life. In Blood Brothers, these differences are extreme, and Russell describes them very dramatically. In the play, class is an active and destructive force, infiltrating and perverting at least Mickey's life, and eventually destroying both brothers.
Russell does not deals crassly with even this great force in his characters' lives; there is insight and true-life complexity in his treatment of the issues, and both brothers long for aspects of the other's life - 'I wish that I could be like my friend'. But the class divide wins out in the end and destroys them both. We see social class as a conflict, mirroring the battle between the two mothers.
BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Friendship and education
We also see Mickey and Eddie overcoming the class boundaries to secure a bond of friendship and affection. On stage there are several indications of the class separation that cannot be made as apparent in the text. Eddie and the Lyons are well-spoken, traditional of the middle and higher classes — suggesting a good education and elocution lessons.
We see that Eddie has been nurtured into a well-spoken, middle-class boy, whereas his twin remains a working-class ruffian. However, when Eddie returns to the Johnstone household we see a change that suggests he is going back to his roots.
It is also possible to suggest that fate and heredity are working together to bring the brothers back together. The practice of carrying a foetus to full term for another woman BB: Throughout the play we view the idea of surrogacy as a dangerous concept. Mrs Lyons suffers a dreadful insecurity as a consequence of this, revealing herself as an obsessive and quite aggressive character. Despite this, we are encouraged to question the ethic and moral issues surrounding the idea of surrogacy.
A belief resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. Along with superstition, this is the basis of the whole story and is a theme that continues throughout the whole play, the consequences of most of the happenings can be traced back to superstition. Mrs Johnstone is fulfilled with the theme of guilt through out most of the play because of giving her son Edward away to Mrs Lyons, but also Mrs Lyons feels guilt because she has lied to everyone about Edward being her own son, she lied to her husband, friends, family and even Edward himself.
Mickey also becomes to feeling guilt because he is so depressed he cannot support himself or his family Linda and their child and he has to rely on Linda and Mrs Johnstone to actually support him. Issues to bear in mind: The role of the narrator: Is he sympathetic but detached? Is he an evil or a good character? He appears dressed in a black suit: Other characters do not acknowledge him: It is also notable that as the show commences with the scene of the finale, his attire is like that of somebody who is attending a funeral — and it seems that he is dressed for such an occasion throughout the entire play.
Often, the Narrator can also be read as the voice of consciousness for both blighted mothers. He knows what will happen in the end, because he starts the show by telling us and reminds us constantly throughout that something terrible is imminent. His words are riddled with references to ancient folklore: The contrast between the two brothers, who meet and become friends, brings humour to the first half of the performance.
Eddie seems to have suffered from a lack of childhood, as even when we first meet him as a child, he is very adult in his mannerisms and is polite and contained. We sense that Mrs Lyons has been overprotective and has not allowed her young son to interact with other children in messy, noisy childhood games.
This accentuates the sense of childhood innocence in the first half of the performance. We see Mickey and Eddie indulge in childhood games of gunfights, which we find more poignant as we already foresee their death-scene. This in turn leads to his incarceration, depression and the desperation in which he pulls a gun on his best friend and brother.
The bond of their friendship disregards childhood fickleness and has a true air of sincerity. A play with music — why? Additionally, we need to be aware of our own attitudes to the text. How does the text make us feel and what are our opinions?
Importance of social, historical and cultural contexts Monroe: She suggests an era for the play: Margaret Thatcher - the unnamed character Margaret Thatcher does not appear in the play, but you could suggest that she is the most important character in it! Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman Prime Minister in But if some people hoped that 'a woman's touch' would lead to more caring policies, they were very much mistaken. Thatcher's basic premise was that working Britain had got lazy.
British industry, she said, needed to face the chill wind of foreign competition. She confronted the Trade Unions and reduced their power - notably during the Miners' Strike of Meanwhile, to combat inflation, she raised interest rates and reduced government spending.
The result was a severe economic depression. Manufacturing output fell by a fifth, and unemployment rose to over 3 million. At the same time, however, people dependent on the Welfare State especially single mothers were stereotyped as scroungers and spongers.
One Tory minister told them to 'get on their bike' and go and find a job. For the poor, therefore, the s were a time of great hardship.
It is possible to see Blood Brothers as an attack on Thatcherism, particularly in the cruelty of how the secretary 'Mrs Jones' loses her job she is forced to type the letter to herself announcing her own redundancyand in the destructive effects of unemployment on Mickey's life. It is unemployment which reduces him to despair, throws him into the bungled robbery, and then keeps him on the pills.
These effects were all too common in the s, when Russell was writing his play. Mickey's depression is arguably a metaphor for the state of Britain in the s.