Eddie has a good education as he says things like “I’ll look it up in the dictionary”- fact that he both owns and can use a dictionary shows he is higher class and has more money and a better education. Mickey who has a poor education shows when Eddie mentions the dictionary he replies “what’s that”, showing that he not only cannot use one, but is unsure of what one is. This lack of education soon hits Mickey in the face when it comes to finding a job. Mickey works in a factory owned by Mr Lyons and Eddie is a town councilor which shows that having an education will get you further in life. Mrs Johnstone and her lack of education has got her know where.
This is shown as she works as a maid at the Lyons home. She is very superstitious with everything she does like when the new pair of shoes was put onto Mrs Lyon’s table. “She is stopped by the sight of the shoes on the table. She rushes at the table and sweeps the shoes off”; Mrs J being superstitious about the shoes on the table, and Mrs Lyons mocks her for it. She has probably not learnt sex education as this shows the amount of children she has had. Mrs Lyons has an education and we can see this by the way she uses her language and vocabulary. She is not superstitious and thought Mrs Johnstone was silly when she got worried about the new shoes being on her table but later on she becomes more like Mrs Johnstone and starts worrying.
By Mrs Johnstone working for the Lyons shows the power that the upper class have over the working class, this is also shown when the two boys grow up and Eddie is a town councilor and has people working for him as he is upper class well as Mickey who is working class works for Mr Lyons in his business in a factory. This is the same as Mrs Johnstone working for Mrs Lyons. With Mr Lyons employing Mickey has a huge amount of different in the money coming in for the Johnstone’s, if Mickey was to get sacked like Mrs Johnstone was when she was working for Mrs Lyons they would loose all of their money.
The policeman acts and speaks differently to the two boys and their parents depending on their class. In the incident at the park where the policeman caught the two boys and Linda throwing stones through a window, the policeman treat the two boys completely different. When it came to taking the boys back home, at Mickey’s house he treats Mrs Johnstone disgustingly and tells her that he basically needs to buck his ideas up and doesn’t want him turning into Sammy, the police man speaks to her in a condescending way, because of her class.
Well as at the Lyons home, he implies that it was an accident that shouldn’t of happened and just to forget it “I’d just dock his pocket money is I was you… if you don’t mind me saying” ” make sure he keeps with his own kind” as she is higher class. Mrs Johnstone being in the working class she gets treated and spoken to appallingly by the other members of her community, like the milkman, catalogue man and policeman. As she has so many children, not a lot of money, speaks with a very common accent and is not very educated, they think they should speak to her in this ghastly manor. The milkman in the first act is very rude to her and is demanding money but in act 2 however when Mrs J has moved up in life and has got a better way of living he treats her nicer ” since I pay my bills on time, the milkman insists I call him Joe”.
The stage is set out like it is to make it easier for the audience to understand. Downstage you have Mrs Johnstone’s house showing they are poor, and their neighbourhood to the audience shows the conditions for working class (cramped). Upper class is upstage and alienated from the audience showing their space and power over the stage, street and working class. The separation on stage shows that there was a huge difference in the lives and living conditions of the upper and lower classes. The space in the middle shows that they cannot migrate into the other’s life and class bracket, and that, when they meet their characters change. This is shown when Mickey and Eddie meet in the middle of the street where they first become similar, Eddie is know longer upper class or lower class and the same for Mickey.
By laying out the stage so the characters are in different parts according to their class is effective as it shows how two people can be completely changed by there upbringing. It also shows that when both Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons get a taste of each others lives the find themselves changing into the other person. The reason that Russell wanted to show how people from different classes have different life experiences was the fact that this was happening to real people and he wanted to highlight the fact and make it more obvious to the audience that this was changing and affecting people’s lives. Showing that social class can change people has both a powerful effect and advantage to show people they can change. It was very effective and this showed in many ways. This whole play was cross referenced to Marilyn Monroe who is glamorous but died tragically, which implies both quest for glamour and a tragic ending.