How does Willy Russell use the stage to show that growing up in different social classes affects two very similar people? ‘Blood Brothers’ is all about a set of twins who are brought up together but in different families of different classes, they grow up as best friends and eventually die together just after they find out there brothers. There are two meanings to a blood brother, firstly there is nature this means that they are physically blood brothers and share the same blood, such as twins. Secondly there is nurture which means that the boys exchanged there blood through a cut of friendship.
The two boys are meant to be similar as they are twins but they’re brought up in different classes and so they become different. The Johnstone’s being lower stage and cramped with the audience shows there cramped lifestyle and that there in the working class whereas the Lyon’s on the other hand are upper stage and set away from the audience to show there space and power over the stage, which means that they are in the upper class. ‘Blood Brothers’ is set in Liverpool; at the time the Scousers were socially divided, the lower classes struggled to find jobs, and lived in cramped conditions but conversely the upper classes lived in rich, spacious conditions with a good education and well-paid jobs.
Mickey teaches Eddie “the F word”; when Eddie says this is an offence he uses it as one word ‘you’re… you’re a fuckoff!’ which means that he does not understand the meaning. Russell uses ellipses before the word to suggest uncertainty of the meaning. The amalgamation of the two words into the word “fuckoff” also implies that he does not know or understand what it is he is saying. When Eddie replies to the policeman after throwing stones at a window and being asked his name, he answers back with “Adolph Hitler” which implies that he is copying Mickey’s common and rude language and behavior. This relates back to when Eddie says” You’re… you’re a fuckoff” and again implies the influence that Mickey has over Eddie. Mrs Johnstone’s language also reflects Mickey’s actions and language, and her class. She uses slang, swears, and has a slouchy, common and rude way of living which suggests she is working class.
Within ‘Blood Brothers’ Mr and Mrs Lyons speak to each other with very formal language, even though they’re married they still speak polite with a well mannered tone to one another. “Darling, I’m sorry”, “Richard”, “Jennifer”, which implies that their upper class. When Mrs Lyons talks to Mrs Johnstone however she talks down to her and is very snappy with her words, when she does this you can see the power that the upper class have over the working class. In act 1 “a woman with a stone in the place of her heart” cross references to “a woman gone mad” we are not sure whether this is Mrs Johnstone or Mrs Lyons so this links them together.
When children Mickey and Eddie are completely different, Mickey plays violent games, uses unsophisticated vocabulary and pretends he has toys but Eddie on the other hand who is upper class however would go home and look words up in dictionary which he had learnt from Mickey, he uses well mannered, appropriate and polite vocabulary and had all the toys he could ever want. When they grow up they become similar and start acting and using the same language, for example when they were throwing stones through a window and both of them replying to the police man after he asks their name with “Adolph Hitler” which suggests that they both have adopted the same rude language and behavior.
Eddie goes to a posh boarding school “I’ll see you at half term then, darling” and Mickey goes to a working class, village comprehensive. However, they are both suspended, and they are both rude to their teacher. Mickey answers a question with the remark “fish fingers” and Eddie tells his teacher “you can take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut” this links them linguistically as well, both because they both mention food (which is an identification of riches), and because their comments are both alliterative, using the letter ‘f’ which makes them very similar.
When they become adults, Eddie soon realizes that he doesn’t like being like Mickey anymore and wants to be himself. Russell shows Mrs Johnstone’s class through her common behavior because she comes over as a person who couldn’t care less what people could think about her or her family and just gets on with life. Mrs Lyons however is very well spoken; she wants everyone to think of Eddie as a higher class person so she does not let him mix with the lower class that live at the bottom of the street, which shows her class. In act 1 and act 2 the boys meet at similar points, this mirrors the fact that the boys are the same- like there are two acts, there are two of them.