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Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk Blood Brothers Revision
Themes Class divide Family Growing up Superstition and Fate Hopes and Dreams Nature versus Nurture Love and Marriage Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Characters Mrs Johnstone Mickey Other children including Sammy and Donna-Marie Linda Mrs Lyons Mr Lyons Edward Lyons Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk Narrator Chorus to play minor roles such as Miss Jones
Motifs Marilyn Monroe Guns- toy and real The idea of games Dancing Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Techniques Parallel scenes to bring out class differences Use of key episodes to give a flavour of life, since play covers a long period of time Use of songs Use of motifs Narrator and chorus Flashback – starts with final scene Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Language The working class characters speak in Liverpool dialect, which makes them sound natural, warm and likeable. The middle class characters speak in Standard English, with Received Pronunciation – this is the cause of humour when the boys first meet. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Essay Questions The role of the narrator Comments on the action Tells the story and involves the audience Links episodes together Warns of danger by appearing on stage at crucial times Points out themes Asks audience questions Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
What do the songs add to the Play? Link scenes and draw parallels Remind the audience of Key themes Link the two halves of the play by using some of the same words/ tunes, such as ‘Easy Terms’ Mood and atmosphere Humour and pathos Fill in parts of the plot Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
The tragic outcome is inevitable from the very start. Discuss. Theme of Superstition and Fate Starting with final scene Continual warnings from the narrator The Marilyn Monroe motif The gun motif Nurture – Johnstone family are in trouble from the start e.g. Sammy’s behaviour and Mrs Johnstone’s fears for Mickey Class divide Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
To what extent do you feel sympathy for Mrs Johnstone? At the start, very little: ‘a stone in place of a heart’, but gradually as story unfolds we feel much more: Husband walks out leaving her with little money Mrs Lyons pushes her into it She does it ‘for the best’ She’s a loving mother to all her children She stays cheerful and makes the best of things But do we also feel she could have controlled her children better, been harder on them? Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
What does this play have to say about class? The class divide is unfair Russell shows that two people with identical DNA can be so different in what they achieve because working class people were denied the chances to develop Russell poses the question: ‘could it be what we, the English’ have come to know as class?’ Money can’t buy love but it can buy power. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Now you try… What has this play to say about mother/child relationships? How is the theme of love presented? You may consider family love, romantic love and married love. How far do you think Russell presents the working class characters in a more favourable light than the middle class characters? Can you think of any other questions? Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
What is it? Sometimes an EMPATHY question is set on either of the Literature texts, Blood Brothers or To Kill a Mockingbird. This means that you have to put yourself in the position of a character and write in their voice, while showcasing your knowledge of the text in your own words. (Walk in their shoes!) Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Usual forms of the question Imagine you are _____________. At the end of the story you think back over what has happened. Write your thoughts and feelings. Remember how __________ would speak when you write your answer. Imagine you are __________. Write down your thoughts and feelings about: the events that were important to you; your relationship with _______; how you feel you have changed. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Tips Write in the first person Refer to events they took part in Root your answer in the text Include some authentic touches where possible using the character’s way of speaking, such as Mrs Lyons calls Eddie Edward. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
To quote or not to quote? It can be difficult to incorporate quotations, although it is sometimes appropriate. However, you should ‘echo’ the text or closely refer to quotations. You do not use quotation marks unless you are using direct speech. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Example: Eddie Things are going a bit better now Linda and I are friends again. That’s all we are, friends. Not that I wouldn’t like it to be more, but she loves Mickey, and I wouldn’t be disloyal even though he doesn’t want to know me anymore. I still think of him as a brother, but I have had more success in life and he envies me. I wish I could turn back the clock to before I went to uni… Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
Your practice task: Imagine you are Linda Write down your thoughts and feelings after the deaths of the twins. Plan your response, including events, themes and feelings. Write the opening paragraph or more. If you wish to, you may finish the essay at home. Copyright © 2009 englishteaching.co.uk
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