Easy contrast - Sample Essay
Russell here shows the audience an easy contrast between the classes, and how they are judged due to their position in the social class system. He shows the audience how hard it to break- free from the social class, and how that once you are in the lower class, you are stuck in rut. He explains to us through Blood Brothers how every one of us judges people in their everyday lives, due to the way they speak, the clothes they wear, and the language they use.
We see throughout the play, how Mrs Lyons gets a lot more respect shown towards her than Mrs Johnstone. We often tend to believe, that because she is of an upper class, she is a better person, maybe more honest and truthful. We see Mrs J fall for her tricks, and Russell shows us that our judgement is an assumption and how we couldn’t be more wrong. Our perception of Mrs Lyons changes throughout the play, as she becomes a more and more deluded character. At the beginning we feel sympathy for her as she cannot bore any children that she so desperately has wanted. When she then manipulates Mrs J into giving her one of her twins, we see what Mrs L is really like.
“Surely it’s better to give one child to me.” – Page 11. We see how Mrs J at the beginning of the play is naive of the fact the higher class you are, the better person you are. She trusts Mrs Lyons even though she’s not sure about giving her baby away (Page 13). Mrs J is oblivious to the fact that Mrs Lyons has played on her superstitions and uses the Bible to make a ‘binding agreement’. She knows that Mrs Johnstone will feel that she can’t go back on swearing on the Bible and therefore will definitely give her baby away. Russell puts Mrs Lyons across as a very patronizing character, who is very intimidating and persuasive.
Russell shows us how ignorant we are of the issues other classes face daily. He does this by showing us how Mrs Johnstone struggles with trying to pay for milk and other everyday items, whereas Mrs Lyons takes these things for granted. When Mickey and Eddie are introduced into the play (Page 22) we immediately see the different effect of class on their lives as the age of seven. The first way Russell brings us to this difference is their dialogue. Mickey uses Non- Standard English “‘Gis a sweet.” (Page 22) whereas Eddie uses Standard English “my mummy doesn’t allow…” This is one the obvious ways to distinguish between classes.
Eddie also doesn’t know any swear words and this shows the audience the upbringing he has had compared to Mickey. The boys are a contrast to each other because Mickey has no manners, misbehaves and speaks with a Liverpudlian dialect and Non- Standard English whereas Eddie speaks Standard English, is well mannered and is very well behaved. When Mickey teaches Eddie swear words and we see how he has never been open to this kind of language in the kind of environment he has brought up in. Even when Mickey teaches Eddie the swear words, he does not how to use them in a sentence because he has never been around people who have said them, and never heard them used before. When he gets annoyed with Mrs Lyons he says-“You’re…you’re a fuckoff!” (Page 29) which just shows how good an upbringing he has had as he uses it in the complete wrong context.
Another thing Russell shows us in Blood Brothers is the way that people in a certain class treat other people. After Eddie has been out with Mickey and Linda, Mrs Lyons tells him- “You see, you see why I don’t want you mixing with boys like that!” This shows prejudice between the classes. Another example of this the other way round is when Sammy says- “He’s a friggin’ poshy.” (Page 25). Another instance of this is when
Mrs Lyons is also worried about Mrs Johnstone holding her baby, because she looks down at her and does not want to really mix. Mrs Lyons gives us the impression that she thinks she is unclean and not worthy of holding or being near her baby- “I don’t want the baby to catch anything” (Page 17). Mrs Lyons does not want Eddie mixing with the lower class people and makes him believe he is better than them, and should not be seen with them. While Eddie’s out with Mickey and Linda, he does things he wouldn’t normally do, which is due to the fact that he with them. He is not used to doing things that they do and is a bit scared to start with but Mickey and Linda tell him that they always do it, so he doesn’t want to miss out, and seem like a wimp. Edward: “But Mickey…I mean…suppose we get…caught…by a policeman.”
Mickey: “Aah….take no notice. We’ve been caught loads of times by a policeman…haven’t we Linda?” Linda: “Oh, my God, yeh. Hundreds of times. More than that.” Later on in the play, when both families have moved away from their original settings, the difference between Mickey and Eddie becomes very obvious once again. We meet them again when they are fourteen and both at school. The boys both receive very different education and this emphasizes their class again.
Mickey goes to the local comprehensive school with Linda, and then goes on to work doing a very physical, probably labour job. Eddie goes to a private school, which is a lot stricter and then goes to a very good university. When Mickey loses his job he is yet again another stereotypical character because he has to go on the dole. Eddie is living in a ‘bubble’ because he cannot see how others live and what they have to put up with. Mickey knows the reality of not having enough money, but Eddie does not realise because he has never been in that situation. Eddie offers Mickey money but Mickey feels too ashamed to take it from him so goes without because he wants to support his family on his own “Look, look money lots of it, have some.” Mickey – ‘No I don’t want your money, stuff it.’