Shirley Valentine Essay

Topics: Audience, Plays, Valentine, Texas Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Shirley Valentine Essay
All literature is written for a reason, the author is intending to communicate something often found at the very core of the work itself. Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine is no different, told through the perspective of an aging housewife it draws attention to both social and personal messages. One such message is the concept of personal growth and human potential. Within the play there are many insights and examples of the theme like the transformation Shirley`s character goes through and the characteristics of the younger version of herself to the women she has become. Shirley Valentine is trapped. Stuck in both social and economic roles, in the beginning of the play she is the common housewife tasked with few things other than cooking, cleaning and tending to her children. Her lack of meaningful relationships is so prevalent that she is driven to talk to the wall only to be labeled crazy by her husband Joe. This is a Shirley Bradshaw that is worn out, she lacks vitality and presence even saying during some particularly boring dinner conversation “It's a good job we're not having soup, or else I'd put me head in it and drown meself.” Through the course of her mundane routine she has spent so much time living for her family and “running around like “R-2-bleedin'-D-2" that she has forgotten how to live for herself. The outside world, foreign to her own intimidates her like when she says: “Those travel sickness pills mustn't be working. I still feel sick and I've taken four already. And I've only travelled up and down the stairs.’ It is through her trip to Greece however an almost entirely new character begins to emerge. For the first time the audience witnesses Shirley embracing adventure and most importantly making decisions for herself and with the confidence to do so; perhaps the most contrasting characteristic of her former persona. Whereas before she literally ate the same things on a weekly rotation, she tries octopus with Joe...
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