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Blood brothers willy russell

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  • 1. Blood Brothers Willy Russell Revision – To prepare for the literature exam
  • 2. Exam date: Length of exam: 2 hours What will be on the exam? Section A: Contemporary Drama Section B: Literary Heritage Prose Each section is split into 2 parts: a) A short extract of text followed by a question. Time: 20 mins a) A choice of two essay-style question. Time: 40 mins Blood brothers will be the first question you will find in the literature question booklet.
  • 3. 2 questions Q.1 EXTRACT question (10 marks = 20 minutes) Q.2 WHOLE TEXT question (20 marks = 40 minutes)
  • 4. AO1 (B - C Mark scheme) - Candidates: • make more detailed reference to text; • discuss thoroughly, and increasingly thoughtfully, characters and relationships; • probe the sub-text with increasing confidence; • select and evaluate relevant textual details; • understand and demonstrate how writers use ideas, • themes and settings to affect the reader; • convey ideas clearly and appropriately. A02 (B - C Mark scheme) - Candidates: • see how different aspects of style and structure combine to create effects; • show increasingly clear appreciation of how meanings and ideas are conveyed through language, structure and form. A01 (A - A* Mark scheme) - Candidates: • make increasingly assured selection and incorporation of relevant detail; • are able to speculate/offer tentative judgements; • are able to evaluate characters/relationships and attitudes/motives; • at the highest level, consistently handle texts with confidence, have an overview and ability to move from the specific to the general: • convey ideas persuasively and cogently with apt textual support. • A02 (A - A* Mark scheme) - Candidates: • show appreciation of how writers use language to achieve specific effects; • make assured exploration and evaluation of the ways meaning, ideas and feeling are conveyed through language, structure and form; • at the highest level, make assured analysis of stylistic features. Assessment objectives for this section of the exam: AO1 Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations. AO2 Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers' presentation of ideas, themes and settings.
  • 5. Characters
  • 6. Mrs Johnstone Mickey. Don’t shoot Eddie. He’s your brother. You had a twin brother. I couldn’t afford to keep both of you. New shoes on the table, take them off… “They say I’m incapable of controllin’ the kids I’ve already got.” I’ll have a look in the catalogue next week. We’ll see what the bikes are like in there. He’s gone, he’s gone up to heaven, love. “I love the bones of everyone of them.” I’d spend it. I’d buy more junk and trash; that’s all. I don’t want your money. “But like they say at the Welfare, kids can’t live on love alone.” “couldn’t I keep them together for a few more days, please, please, they’re a pair, they go together.” Mickey: ‘Oh thanks, mam. I love y’
  • 7. Personality Role o Naturally maternal character, embracing new life and being a caring person. o Rash decision on impulse. For example, she buys lots of items from a catalogue on credit despite knowing she probably won’t be able to pay for them later. o Strong, generous character knowing almost instinctively what’s right and wrong, o Largely unselfish because she is shown only to have concern for the child, foreseeing a more comfortable life for him. o Naturally a kind and loving mother o Hard to discipline her children and keep them under control. o Lively and has a zest for life. This can be clearly seen in her love of dancing, but also in her general attitude, o Happy-go-lucky, follows her instincts. o At the start of the play she is working for Mrs Lyons, she finds that she is having twins. o At first she refuses Mrs Lyons attempts to bribe her but she agrees under extreme pressure. o She is dismissed, she disapproves of Mickey & Eddie's friendship, and she gives Eddie the locket before he goes. o She rejoices due to the fact that she is being re-housed. o She jokes about Sammy getting suspended from school for burning the school down and blames it on the school "silly gets play with magnesium" o Later on when Mickey & Eddie meet again she doesn't stop them from becoming friends. When Mickey goes to jail she convinces herself that it is only a light romance between Eddie & Linda. o Just before they die she tells them the truth. Development Other Information o 25 years old at the start of the play and has already had seven children. o Refuses Mrs Lyons’ attempts to bribe her showing that she values people above money o Does agree under extreme pressure to give Mrs Lyons one of her children. o Superstitious "shoes on the table" sign of bad luck. o Lacks concern for the education of her children, taking little interest when Mickey & Sammy are suspended from school. o She does not really concern herself with causes or explanations of the events in her life, instead accepting them as they happen. o Religious rulings against contraception? o Circumstances make it hard for her to be a straightforwardly ‘good’ person. o When Sammy burns the school down instead of scolding him she casually jokes that it was the school’s fault for letting ‘the silly gets play with magnesium’. o Uneducated and does not value intellectual or academic pursuits. o Poor & trapped by poverty. This makes it very difficult for her to care for her children and is ultimately the reason that she gives Edward away to Mrs Lyons. o Sacrifice any youthful enjoyment for the life she has. o Superstitious
  • 8. Mrs Lyons There’s no such thing as a bogey man. It’s a – a superstition. Mrs Johnstone, nobody must ever know. Therefore we have to make an agreement …just for a while I came to believe that he was actually mine. “I don’t want her to hold the baby, Richard. She’s... I don’t want the baby to catch anything.” “We made an agreement, a bargain. You swore on the bible.” July… and my husband doesn’t get back until, the middle of July. He need never guess. Wherever I go you’ll be behind me. I know that now…always and forever like, like a shadow. “You gave your baby away. Don’t you realise what a crime that is? You’ll be locked up. You sold your baby.” “They say... they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die.” Even when – when he was a tiny baby I’d see him looking straight at me and I’d he think, he knows…he knows. (pause.) You have ruined me. (Pause.) But you won’t ruin Edward! Is it money you want?’
  • 9. Personality Role o lonely housewife, o cold character who finds it difficult to be affectionate towards others. o self-centred character who uses others for her own gain. o Over-protective mother, who is always anxious about Edward, o At the start of the play, she is the one who Mrs Johnstone works for. o Manipulates Mrs Johnstone's superstitious mind into giving her one of the twins, then dismisses her. o When she finds out that Edward has befriended Mickey she moves away to the country because of her 'health.' o When she reunites with Mrs Johnstone she bribes her, but Mrs J refuses, then she grabs a knife and threatens her. o When Edward has an affair with Linda she is the one to tell Mickey the truth, but she was only doing this to cause trouble. Development Other Information o Once Mrs Johnstone has handed over Edward, she no longer needs her and cruelly discards her, manipulating her through preying on her uneducated and superstitious mind. o overcome by anxieties and suspicions in later scenes, o results of excessive loneliness and a loveless life. o unreasonable and is possibly mad when she attacks Mrs Johnstone o circumstances certainly haven’t helped: she and her husband are unable to have children naturally and her husband spends long periods at work away from home. o Tries to keep Edward away from Mickey because she doesn’t want him ‘mixing with boys like that’ o "If either learns that they were once a pair, they shall both immediately die," Mrs Lyons to Mrs Johnstone
  • 10. Mickey Johnstone Sammy: ‘Look at y’ Mickey. What have y’ got? Nothin’, like me Mam. Where y’ takin y’ tart for New Year? Nowhere.’ Edward – To Mrs Lyons ‘I like him more than you.’ ‘we were born on the same day….that means we can be blood brothers.’ ‘See this means that we’re blood brothers, an’ that we always have to stand by each other.’ Edward: (awed) ‘Pissed off. You say smashing things don’t you? Do you know any more words like that? Yeh, I know loads of words like that. Y’know like the “f” word. Mickey: ‘there’s very little to celebrate, Eddie.’ Erm… well, the thing is.. Linda, I’ve erm.. Linda for Christ’s sake will you go out with me? Aah… take no notice. We’ve been caught loads of times by policemen.. haven’t we Linda? Round here if y’ask for a sweet, y’have to ask about twenty million times. “he’s feelin’ fifteen years older/And his speech is rather slow...you’d think he was dead” “Why didn’t you give me away! I could have been... I could have been him!”
  • 11. o Personality Role o Friendly, excitable boy o Likes to play adventure games with others and sneak off to pull pranks. o Shy about his emotions o Feels the need to impress Sammy o Likes Edward’s generosity and, in turn, enjoys being able to show him new things o "I could've been him." o He is the twin that stays with Mrs Johnstone, the working class twin. o He meets Edward when he was 7 and both their parents want them to stay away from each other. o He moves away as his family is being re-housed. o He meets Edward again, gets suspended from school, gets a job. o Marries Linda who is pregnant, gets fired by Mr Lyons. o Bribed by Sammy, ends up in jail, gets addicted to anti-depressants, Mrs Lyons tells him about Edward & Linda (who are having an affair) o Gets Sammy's gun, misfires and shoots Sammy, the police shoot him. Development Other Information o Becomes even more withdrawn after becoming unemployed. o More interested in getting a job. o Edward gives Mickey a chance to shine and be a leader and escape the oppression he feels from his brother, school and general poverty o He feels like his friendship with Edward is fading because of their different social backgrounds, e.g. when he loses his job Edward can't understand because it's never happened to him o Looks up to his older brother Sammy and often feels like a cast-off in comparison to him. o Not very well educated. o Does not show interest in his schooling o Suspended for ridiculing his teacher
  • 12. Edward Lyons I thought you didn’t like me. I thought you weren’t very nice. But I think you’re smashing. I’ve always loved you, you must have known that. (To Linda) It’s just a secret, everybody has secrets, don’t you have secrets? “Don’t you know what a dictionary is? Mickey “Course I do... It’s a, it’s a thingy innit?” To Linda “If I could stand inside his shoes I’d say, How can I compare thee to a summer’s day” On university “It’s fantastic. I haven’t been to so many parties in my life.” “Why... why is a job so important?” “I wish I could believe in all that blood brothers stuff. But I can’t, because while no one was looking I grew up. An’ you didn’t, because you didn’t need to; and I don’t blame you for it” (Micky to Eddie) “I’ve got money, plenty of it. I’m back, let’s forget about bloody jobs, let’s go and get Linda and celebrate.”
  • 13. Personality Role o Friendly, generous character. o Feels restricted o Revels in Mickey’s liveliness, bad language and risky games. o Impulsive character and one who doesn’t think too deeply about the consequences of his actions. o Lack compassion and does not sympathise with Mickey’s unemployment worries. o He was the twin that was given to Mrs Lyons. o He was raised in a middle class school, met Mickey when he was 7, moved away to the country because of his mother’s 'health.' o Went to a posh boarding school, got suspended for not taking the locket off, meets Linda and Mickey again at 14. o Goes to university, when he returns Mickey is miserable as he is unemployed, tries to cheer him up, instead Mickey gets annoyed at how he can never know how he's feeling. o When Mickey goes to jail, he helps Linda, they have an affair (or a 'light romance' according to Mrs Johnstone.) o He is a successful businessman, councillor Edward Lyons. o He is shot by Mickey Development Other Information o Naively offers him sweets in an attempt to impress him. o Unselfishly tries to get Mickey to express his love for Linda o Tells Mickey to use his dole money to live like a ‘Bohemian’. o He arranges for Mickey to have a job, but does so o When he moves away Mrs Johnstone gives him a locket with a picture of Mickey, Mrs Lyons later mistakes the picture of Mickey for Edward. o Raised in a middle-class home and is educated at a private school. o Easily influenced by Mickey and Linda?
  • 14. Linda I get depressed but I don’t take those. You don’t need those, Mickey. I suppose I always…loved you, in a way. (To Eddie) Oh, leave him alone you. Y’ big worm! You better hadn’t do anything soft, like him. (To Mickey about Sammy) To Sammy, defending Mickey “I’ll tell my mother why all her ciggies always disappear when you’re in our house.” On Mickey taking tablets “I need you. I love you. But, Mickey, not when you’ve got them inside you.” ‘When you die you’ll meet your twinny again, won’t y’?’ Mickey: Just one thing I had left, Eddie – Linda – an’ I wanted to keep her’
  • 15. Personality Role o Naturally kind and compassionate character. o Feisty and humorous, joining Edward and Mickey in their games and often leading the way. o Strong-willed and very supportive of Mickey o She meets Edward & Mickey when she was 7, she is the leader of the trio, and she comes at Mickey's aid whenever needed. o When Mickey ends up in prison she goes to Edward as a last resort to seek for guidance before having an affair with him. o Her circumstances have trapped her. Development Other Information o Mickey’s aid both when he is suspended from school and when he is mocked by the other children. o Tries to protect Mickey & keeps pushing him to give up his drugs. o Her betrayal of Mickey suggests that she is in some ways untrustworthy o Linda is from a poor family like Mickey. o Lack of education and money allows her no real chance of happiness once Mickey becomes a depressed drug addict. o She asks Edward for help before having an affair with him
  • 16. Sammy Johnstone Sammy: ‘’Cos when we swear…we cross our fingers!’ Sammy: ‘Look at y’ Mickey. What have y’ got? Nothin’, like me Mam. Where y’ takin y’ tart for New Year? Nowhere.’
  • 17. Personality Role o Aggressive and threatening. o Enjoy making fun of others, especially Mickey. o When Mickey is 7, he makes fun of him. o When he is trying to get a bus pass for school children, and the bus driver says he's to old he threatens him with a knife. o When Mickey is redundant he offers him a job as a look out. o He kills a filling station worker Development Other Information o He is presented as anti-social and criminal, o He has no outlet for his hostile tendencies, he has no job or money.
  • 18. Mr Lyons
  • 19. Personality Role o Distant figure to his wife and son o Doesn't get involved in their affairs. o Indifferent to the people whose lives he can directly affect - his workforce o When the bargain between Mrs Lyons & Mrs Johnstone was made, he was working away. o He doesn't know the truth, but seems to like to please his wife so he agrees to move away. o He makes Mickey redundant. Development Other Information o Wealthy businessman o Long periods of time away from his family o Mickey a heartless redundancy letter. o Managing director of the factory where Mickey worked before Mickey was made redundant. o Provides money and homes in wealthy areas o Expensive schooling for Edward
  • 20. Themes
  • 21. Social Class • In this country, class effects how people are able to live their lives and the situations they are in. • In 'Blood Brothers' Mrs Johnstone lives in a poor end of Liverpool, struggling to bring up eight children on her own; she was forced to give one away to keep the others clothed and fed. • Mrs Lyons, whom she works for, lives in a large house, very comfortably in a nice part of Liverpool. She wants children but is unable to have any, even though she is rich.
  • 22. Class • "He's a poshy " • Sweet sharing • "You’re not the same as him" • Social class keeps them apart splits them and kills them (Mickey and Edward) • Police man isn't nice to Mrs J but is nice to Mr L • Families
  • 23. Class Mrs Johnstone: ‘you’ve not had much of a life with me, have y’?’ Mickey: ‘Don’t be stupid, course I have. You’re great, you are, Mam.’ Policeman To Mrs J “And he was about to commit a serious crime, love... You don’t wanna end up in court again, do y’?” To Mr L “it was more of a prank, really... I’m not sure I’d let him mix with the likes of them in the future. Make sure he keeps with his own kind” Mrs Lyons: ‘you see why I don’t want you mixing with boys like that! You learn filth from them and behave like this like a, like a horrible little boy, like them. But you are not like them. You are my son, mine, an you won’t, you won’t ever….’ Mrs Lyons (To Edward) ‘you’re not the same as him.’
  • 24. Poverty and Debt • No money for milk man • The kids are starving • "living on the never never" • No money to pay for the things bought out the catalogue • "havn't got a hat to tilt at the world" • Free school lunches The debt Mrs L and Mrs J made by separating the twins. Narrator: ‘But a debt is a debt, and must be paid.’ Finance Man: ‘If y’ know y’ can’t pay, y’ shouldn’t bloody well sign. Kid Two: ‘’Ey Mam, how come I’m on free dinners?
  • 25. Superstition • Links to the Narrator • Bogey man • swearing on the Bible • Fingers crossed • Blood brothers pact • Knocking the shoes off the table • Magpie • cracked glass • spilled salt • Spider window killed • Full moon shining • walking on pavement cracks • devils got your number • staring through windows • creeping down the hall • gypsies in the wood Mrs Lyons: ‘There’s no such thing as a bogey man. It’s a – a superstition. The sort of thing a silly mother might say to her children – “the bogey man will get you”.’
  • 26. Superstition “do we blame superstition for what came to pass?/Or could it be what we, the English, have come to know as class? Sammy: ‘’Cos when we swear…we cross our fingers!’ Mrs Johnstone: ‘never put new shoes on a table…..You never know what’ll happen.’ Edward: ‘It’s a magpie, never look at one magpie. It’s one for sorrow…’ Narrator: ‘…the broken looking glass. Oh y’ know the devil’s got your number.’Narrator: ‘the reckoning day’ Mrs Lyons: ‘I curse the day I met you. You ruined me.’ ‘I curse you. Witch! Narrator: ‘someone said the bogey man was seen around the town.’ Narrator: ‘And maybe, if you counted ten and kept your fingers crossed…’ Narrator: ‘There’s a black cat stalking and a woman who’s afraid’ (73)
  • 27. Love • Love is a theme, shown by the two women who love their sons but show it in completely different ways. 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 events can be traced back to superstition and love. • It is also the reason for the tragic end of the play.
  • 28. Friendship • Friendship between Mickey, Eddie and Linda; they are all friends, but it gradually breaks apart. • Mickey and Linda's friendship develops into love. • Mickey and Eddie's friendship firstly breaks up when Eddie is forced to move away by his parents, then again later in the play when Mickey becomes depressed and becomes jealous of Eddie (leading to the tragic ending) • Hate then becomes part of the play, as Mrs Lyons comes to despise Mrs Johnstone because of the situation both women are in with the twins.
  • 29. Guilt • Mrs Johnstone is filled with guilt throughout most of the play because of giving her son Edward away to Mrs Lyons. • However Mrs Lyons also feels guilty 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 starts to feel guilty 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 support him. Mickey: ‘I didn’t sort anythin’ out Linda. Not a job, not a house, nothin’
  • 30. Death • Death of the worms • Death of the brothers Mickey and Edward • Death of the guy Sammy killed • Mrs L trying to Kill Mrs J

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