Blood Brothers

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Blood Brothers by Mind Map: Blood Brothers

1. Nature versus Nurture The nature versus nurture debate is a debate concerning the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities versus personal experiences in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits.

2. Llyons

2.1. Mrs Lyons

2.1.1. The Lyons are well off and live in a large house. Mrs Lyons explains that she is lonely. Her husband is away working for nine months and they have no children of their own – a strong contrast to the Johnstone family.

2.2. Edward Llyons

2.2.1. Confident

2.2.2. Willing To Talk To Anyone

2.2.3. Sheltered Life

2.2.4. Only Child

2.2.5. Trusting

2.2.6. Takes things seriously/ to heart

2.2.7. Formal English Mother

2.2.8. Well Educated

2.2.9. Don't Know swear words until Mickey Teaches him

2.2.10. Edward comes from a secure rich upbringing, he uses formal language when communicating to other people. The quote "Are you going to come and play"

2.3. Links to big respected successful companies

2.4. Links to Lions- King of the their land top of the food chain and most feared animal

2.5. Links into the lies she tells her husband, Edward and to Mrs Johnstone.

3. Johnstone

3.1. Mrs Johnstone

3.1.1. Lower Class

3.1.2. Stressful life

3.1.3. "Age 30 looks 50"

3.1.4. Mrs Johnstone sings of how she fell in love while dancing, but that her husband left her because she no longer looked like Marilyn Monroe. She has seven children despite being only 25, but the audience are told that she looks much older; and she is pregnant again. Mrs Johnstone can’t afford even the basics of life - her kids complain about being hungry. But she thinks she’ll be able to get by when she starts her new job, cleaning for a couple called Mr and Mrs Lyons.

3.1.5. "Marilyn Monroe" Marilyn Monroe was a very famous Hollywood actress. Her image was well known even to people who did not watch her films. She was presented by the media as a kind of ‘perfect’ fantasy woman and she was shown to live a glamorous and carefree lifestyle. The reality was often very different. She needed anti-depressants and eventually died from an overdose of pills. Russell uses references to Monroe throughout the play. At each point he refers to a different aspect of her life and public image. Mrs Johnstone enjoys the glamour of Monroe's public image. Later in the play Mickey becomes hooked on anti-depressant ‘nerve pills’ and this is compared to Monroe's own depression.

3.2. Mickey Johnstone

3.2.1. More streetwise compared to Edward

3.2.2. Seen things that a seven year old shouldn't have seen because of his older brothers and sister

3.2.3. Petulant Bad Tempred Childish

3.2.4. Naughty

3.2.5. Swears a lot

3.2.6. 'Mam'

3.2.7. "Bored"

3.3. Working Class

3.4. Plain

3.5. Poor

3.6. Stone :- Hard/Cold item

3.7. Common name:- Everyone Everyday

4. Introduction

4.1. 1980's

4.1.1. Willy Russell wrote this play based in Liverpool in the 80s a place of opposites Class divide Gender Stereotypes Council Estate Margaret Thatcher Miners Strike Docks Recession Grammar Schools Loads of Children No Contraception (Condoms/Pills) Willie Russell's Message is showing and highlighting how class division creates tension and how unfair it was. Willy Russell was born in 1947 into a working-class family near to Liverpool. He left school at 15 without academic qualifications and became a hairdresser. By the age of 20 he felt the need to return to education and, after leaving university, he became a teacher at a comprehensive school in his home city. During this time Russell wrote songs for performers and for radio shows. One of his early plays was about the Liverpool pop group the Beatles. He has a love of popular music and this can be seen in many of his plays, but especially in Blood Brothers.

4.1.2. Have very different lives and experiences yet their fate is the same

4.1.3. Turns from the same parents who grew up on opposite sides of the tracks.

4.1.4. Ultimately a play of contrasts.

4.1.5. Liverpool in 1950s sounds like a city with a high amount of unemployment with citizens having low self-esteem.

4.1.6. Willy Russell is trying to show Class divide by the way Mickey and Edward act and what they say in the play, he also shows the difference of money.

4.2. Relationship between Mickey and Edward

4.2.1. Backbone of Blood Brothers (Characters that make the story work)

4.2.2. Antithesis

4.3. How the relationship changes

4.4. Empathy

5. Themes

5.1. Social class/ Class Divide

5.1.1. Family and friendship for characters from two different social classes form the heart of the play. Russell shows how wealth brings privilege, even down to the way the Johnstone's and the Lyons are treated differently by the law. The four main characters can be seen to be social stereotypes, presented dramatically in order to emphasise certain important differences in social class. Russell does this to show the unfairness that it results in.

5.2. The individual and society

5.2.1. In the play Russell illustrates the influence that society has on individuals, in their education, behaviour and the opportunities they have. When Mickey says at the end of the play ‘I could have been him’, the audience become aware of just how differently life might have turned out for him if he had been brought up within the Lyons family.

5.3. Nature vs. Nurture

5.3.1. The 'nature versus nurture' debate is about how much a persons life is determined by their inherited genetics (their 'nature') and how much is determined by the environment they grow up in ('nurture'). The boys are identical twins and so the difference in the way their lives turn out must be a result of their different upbringings and social positions. Russell uses the twins idea to persuade us that attitudes in society influence peoples lives more than their individual efforts at wanting to do well. Russell's play is deliberately objecting to a view that was popular in the UK at the time the play was written. Margaret Thatcher's right wing conservative government claimed that everyone who wanted to work hard could be successful. But Russell clearly objects to this view.

5.4. Fate, bad luck and destiny

5.4.1. Each of the major characters is presented as being trapped and plagued by various kinds of misfortune and bad luck. Russell seems to be asking us to consider whether there really is such a thing as fate or destiny or whether life pans out because of natural rather than supernatural reasons, because of the way we are educated and live. So although fate and superstition is a recurring idea, everything in the play leads to question whether these things really exist.

5.5. Friendship

5.5.1. In the play, the friendship between Eddie and Mickey is initially strong despite their different social backgrounds. Russell is saying that children can make friends easily and form strong relationships even if their parents don't approve. He is suggesting that human nature is blind to social conventions. But in the adult world, unemployment and poverty hits Mickey. Edward seems to him to be from a different world. Russell seems to suggest that friendship is dependent upon shared experiences. Once the two characters go their separate ways, shaped and moulded by education, wealth and social status, tensions develop between them.

5.6. Education

5.6.1. This theme is linked to social class. Russell shows that wealth brings different educational opportunities and these lead to very different lifestyles. Eddie and Mickey are educated differently. One goes on to university and a successful career in politics, the other to a factory job making boxes. Redundancy and lack of opportunity then lead Mickey to crime, drug addiction and depression. Without a better education Russell is saying that Mickey had few options, and so we are asked to see Mickey's mistakes in a sympathetic light. The effects of education shape the lives of the women in the play too. When Mrs Johnstone loses her husband she falls into poverty from which her lack of education has provided her with no easy means of escape. She can take unskilled work, and also has to rely on the State for rehousing to a better place. Compare her with Mrs Lyons who also, despite presumably a middle-class education, is still not self-reliant. In this case Russell is suggesting perhaps that the traditional lives the women lead have less freedom, even when they are educated.

5.7. Growing Up

5.7.1. Many works in drama and literature have a theme of ‘growing up’. Russell’s play is in part just this. Life, for the children, is shown to be a carefree game in Act One. But the pressures of growing up in different backgrounds and educational systems are shown to bring problems later on. It is the different experience of growing up that ends the friendship between Edward and Mickey. For example after Mickey loses his job Edward tries to be positive about his situation. But Mickey tells Edward that he cannot understand living on the dole. He says that Edward hasn't had to grow up like him, to face the difficulties of the adult world. He says that they don't have anything in common any more.

5.8. Men and Women

5.8.1. All three major female characters in the play (Mrs. Johnston, Mrs. Lyons and Linda) suffer at the hands of the men in their lives – they are either let down by their husbands or receive no affection from them. Russell presents a world where the roles of women and men are sharply separate, as a result of the roles given to men and women in their social classes. The female characters tend to be more passive, the male characters are shown as being active and macho.

5.9. Money

5.9.1. Russell’s play has money and materialism as a theme. Mrs. Johnstone’s life in debt, buying things on the ‘never-never’, leads to problems. But Mrs Lyons’ wealthy existence fails to bring her contentment and happiness either. Money controls the relationship of Edward and Mickey too – once Edward returns from university as a wealthy man, Russell suggests that his friendship with the penniless Mickey can no longer be the same, as he cannot appreciate Mickey's reaction to being jobless. And nor can Mickey's pride allow him to accept financial help from Edward.

5.10. Love

5.11. Death

5.12. Anger

5.13. Superstition

5.14. Life Cycles

5.15. Family

5.16. Brotherhood

6. Act Two

6.1. Edward going to Private School - Learn Waltz

6.2. Mickey dancing with mum (Donna Marie Pregnant)

6.3. Sammy burnt the school down

6.4. Boredom and futility

6.5. Both Mickey and Edward are feeling their feet

7. Cowboys and Indians

7.1. Likes freedom of the open range

7.2. Wants independence

7.3. Want's to be a hero

7.4. Likes to protect others

7.5. Likes respect control of his own life

8. Gangsters

8.1. Taking from the rich who in their eyes don't deserve it as they don't work as hard as the working class

8.2. Hero

8.3. Worshiped

8.4. Ways of getting rich quickly

8.5. Dangerous and exciting unlike Mickey's own life

8.6. Idea of protecting his friends and team work