How does Willy Russell use the stage to show that growing up in different social classes affects two very similar people? Blood Brothers is set in 1950s Liverpool it is about a young mother called Mrs. Johnston of five children and twins on the way that get split up at birth, she was deserted by her husband and lives on the doll. She has seven hungry kids and can’t afford to keep them ‘with seven hungry mouths to feed’ let alone another two on the way. She gets pressured, a single working-class mum who is sadly unable to give her children everything they need. With all this pressurizing demand Mrs. Johnston agrees to give up one of her twins to Mrs. Lyons her boss a middle-class lady, who can’t have children of her own. The two boys grow up near each other, never knowing that they are twins, they slowly become friends.
To make their friendship closer they decide to exchange blood becoming Blood Brothers. All through their lives Edward (middle-class) and Mickey (working-class) found it hard to stay friends as their mums wouldn’t let them see each other. The boys both grow up separating there friendship and therefore each day seeing less and less of each other. Mickey Grows up and gets a job but looses it after a while. With a new wife and a daddy to be, Mickey is desperate to get another job. He is so desperate for money that he gets involved in a robbery and is given ‘life’ in prison.
Therefore Edward has become a councilor with a good education, but with Mickey’s girlfriend Linda desperate for someone to love her, she suddenly turns to Edward and they grow dangerously close. When Mickey finds out about them his anger gets worse, he is so angry that he points a pistol directly at Edward, he accidentally shoots Edward the police are called and get their in a hurry and shoot Mickey. Willy Russell set the play in 1950s Liverpool the time of the discrimination of social classes, which effected many people. This relates to the play as it is about two different social families, it shows how two different social lives can change two peoples lifestyles. It also shows why Russell has used twins because twins are usually really alike but when brought up differently they can change so much.
Mickey and Edward have two very different cultures which affect their language, Mickey grows up in a rough area with a dreadful education, Mickey often abbreviates his words by saying ‘y wanna see him spit’. Edward is brought up in pleasant area and has an excellent education and pronounces his words using the queens English. This is shown when Edward says ‘yes of course take as many as you want’ Willy Russell makes Edward emphasize his words so that it shows his confidence and experience of vocabulary. Mickey often gets angry and uses the phrase ‘pissed off’; therefore Edward is a very positive person.
Edward always has a nice word to say and on the other hand Mickey doesn’t, even when Mickey says something negative to Edward, he will always reply saying something positive. Edward uses the phrase ‘you say the most smashing things?’ Using this phrase shows that he is being polite and considerate. When the boys start becoming best of friends, Mickey influences Edward to speak in slang by shorting his words and swearing at his mother, he calls his mother a ‘fuck off’. Although he doesn’t insult his mother he doesn’t no what the word ‘fuck off’ means. Mrs. Johnston has a Livepolian accent which shows that she grew up in Liverpool this accent reflects on her kids. Mrs. Johnston loves the middle-class and refers to it as it’s ‘just like Marilyn Monroe’. Mrs. Lyons uses strong and persuasive words like when she persuaded Mrs. Johnston to give up one of her twins by saying she ‘had too many children anyway’.
Both families have different educations Although we are not told, it is effectively implied that Mrs. Lyons and Mrs. Johnston have very different educations; Mrs. Johnston has too many children and can hardly afford them, she reveals ‘I was dead worried about having another baby… I didn’t see how we would manage,’ which suggests that she is too ignorant to have stopped having children when she couldn’t care or pay for them. She and Mrs. Lyons are also shown to have different employment situations – which reflects on their incomes and the childhoods they are able to offer their sons- Mrs. Johnston works as a cleaner for Mrs. Lyons making her dependent on her middle class rival, a single mother, she needs her ‘little job,’ to feed her children.
In contrast, Mrs. Lyons does not appear to have a job, she is a full time mother able to give all her attention to Edward: this attention to her only child is only possible because Mr. Lyons has his own factory, where Mickey later works, following the career path of his mother, even as far as being sacked by a Lyons, as Mrs. Johnston was. Mickey, whose mother says to him ‘I’m just thinkin’…you’ve not had much of a life with me, have y’?’ is seen by the audience to be trapped by his working class origins. At school, ‘Oh, shut up Perkins, y’ borin’ little turd!’ (Teacher at Mickey’s school to his class mate).
Mickey has been ‘fucked off from everywhere’ he can’t find a job. ‘global slump’ – sacked…. take a letter Miss Jones Mickey gets treated like and adult at school and does not get punished so he has to learn to grow up as Edward does not have to at his school because they get treated as young children and that influences on his behavior. Eddie: I’ve got money, plenty of it Teacher to Edward: Am I to punish you Lyons? Am I to have you flogged? When Mickey and Edward are adults they both have very different jobs, Mickey makes boxes and then becomes unemployed, and on the other hand Edward is a councilor. Willy does this so that you can see that middle-class people don’t have a high and important job as Edward has a very important job and you have to have a good education to be able to be a councilor.