Blood Brothers: Act One on Social Class.

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Look again at the extract on page 24 starting with “Do you want to come and play?” and ending with “now you say after me: ‘I will always defend my brother’.” With reference to the ways Russell presents the theme of social class in the extract and elsewhere in the novel in act one, show how far you agree that there is no escape from the effects of social class for the characters in the play.

Willy Russell successfully expresses the unfair treatment and inequality of social class by using the families in “Blood Brothers” as a microcosm of the 1980’s British working class. Russell uses a variety of linguistic techniques and dramatic devices such as: dramatic irony, Greek chorus, the foreshadowing of events and much more to establish social conflict. A very radical method used in “Blood Brothers” is the use of a narrator who distinguishes the juxtapositions of scenes helping us to identify mirroring and parallels in the play, allowing the audience to diagnose the immorality of social classes. The narrator is also very vital in this play as he enables the audience to be involved which therefore allows the audience to judge the series of events in this play with social class and how money can buy power. “Blood Brothers” has a collection of themes which follow along the terms on injustice and prejudice, themes such as, “Fate Vs. Free Will, Friendship, Tragedy/Comedy, Social Injustice, Family Relations And Social Class. “

Much like social class, this play has a cyclical structure. This highlights the inevitability of social class. Russell expresses that your social class and your placement in society is preordained, for example when Mickey questions Edward, “In the what” referring to the dictionary. This provides us with a simple display of how Mickey’s upbringing and social division marginalises him from certain aspects of middle upper class and other features. What is shocking but not surprising is that Mickey does not know what a dictionary is; this is also because we have a prejudice state of mind. Mrs.Johnstone is not well educated or wealthy, so unfortunately this passes onto Mickey giving us the same impression of him. We as an audience automatically categorise Mickey as “trouble”, even the Policeman defines Mickey as “ one of” clustering him into lower class, and the tragic thing about this is that there is no escape for Mickey or the rest of the Johnstone children.

On page 24 the use of profanity attracts Edward as such colloquialism is seen as “smashing” and “Fantastic”. When Edward “awed” towards Mickey it expressed the difference of their social classes and contrasted upbringings. In this case it appeared backwards, as the hierarchy of the society should make Mickey feel inferior to Edward but due to their ages this is absent. There is an innate honesty about children, but there is also a mind free of division. The older we get the more we close off from society and others, we seem to visualise ‘our kind’ and follow such people whom we find interests in common and equal intelligence. However in children they believe is no reason to outcast someone unless they have done something bad to them. As Mickey and Edward get older they soon find reasons such as social class to individuate each other but this cannot be helped as there is no escape from this. Their social class unfairly forces them to exclude those who are not their “own kind”.

The theme of social class is consistent throughout the play, Russell presents that there is a level of discomfort between those of different social class. This can be seen when Sammy labels Edward as a “friggin’ poshy”, this strong use of vindictive language against Edward is not entirely Sammy’s true opinion but what he has been raised to think due to social class. It is not Mrs.Johnstone’s fault but possibly her attitude to those in higher classes than her own makes her children feel angry or annoyed as they see their mother being walked over and treated incorrectly....
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