Dichotomies in Blood Brothers

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How does Willy Russell use dichotomies to tell the story in “Blood Brothers” and create drama The story in the play “Blood Brothers” was set during the period when the conservatives were the ruling party at the time and Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of England. Then people that were rich, became even richer, but on the other side factory workers and poor people lost their jobs. This is why rich people kept voting her in, because she gave them more money by preventing new businesses to develop. She also stopped the supports for people at work. Money was tight for some families and a lot were stuck into the trap of debt.

The overall meaning of Thatcher’s time was for people to look after themselves and not the others. This reminds a lot about the play, because that is what happened to Mrs Johnstone and Mickey when they lost their jobs in a factory, and Mickey started working in another place, where he pushed cardboard boxes together all day to support his new family. That is one of the reasons why Sammy is a criminal in the play and Mickey also agrees to commit a robbery, because they needed money to survive their lives when they had almost nothing, and were sick of the rich people getting all the money.

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Willy Russell presents Mrs Johnstone to the audience as a decent woman, who gives lots of love to her children, but she can’t give them more than that because she hasn’t got a well-paid job and she is working as Mrs Lyons’ house maid, which takes a lot of her time, which could be spent with her children instead. That is why Mickey and his siblings are let to learn about life themselves on the streets. That makes the audience sympathise with the poor people. She shows that to the audience after she learns she is going to have twins by saying: “With one more baby we could have managed.

But not with two. The Welfare have already been on to me. They say I’m incapable of controllin’ the kids I’ve already got. They say I should put some of them into care. But I won’t. I love the bones of every one of them. I’ll even love these two when they come along. But like they say at the Welfare, kids can’t live on love alone” Mrs Lyons on the other hand, is a rich woman, and her husband is well-known council director, so she can afford to provide Edward with almost everything he needs.

She is overprotective to him, so that he doesn’t mix up with his twin and the environment they (the poor people) live in. She also has the power and the money needed to do whatever she wants with poorer people like Mrs Johnstone who is struggling with her taxes, and needs money to pay for her children. Mrs Johnstone is not well educated, and believes in superstitions, which also gives Mr Lyons an advantage over her to control her, so she can get everything she wants. She shows her power over Mrs Johnstone by the way she speaks to her.

A good example of that is when she tricks Mrs Johnstone into giving away her baby. But Mrs Johnstone still wants to see the baby and get involved in his life, and that is when the things don’t turn out right and Mrs Lyons starts getting increasingly jealous because Mrs Johnstone still thinks of the baby as hers and eventually persuades her husband Mr Lyons to fire her. She does that by saying: “You don’t see her as much as I do. She’s always fussing over him; any opportunity and she’s cooing and cuddling as if she were his mother. She’s always bothering him, Richard, always.

Since the baby arrived she ignores most of her work. ” The writer of the play Willy Russell presents the twins Mickey and Edward to the audience by making them funny and friendly to the audience. He does that by making their interaction and communication with each other funny as they come from different backgrounds and they are little and know almost nothing about the world they live in; also Edward is posh and Mickey is talking in a slang, which contains some swear words and jokes which are not unusual for the community he lives in.

For example, Mickey tells Edward a swear word, which they both don’t know what it means, and Edward says that he is going to look it up in the dictionary – a word which Mickey has never heard before and doesn’t know what it means. Or another example is, when they talk about Sammy’s metal plate in his head because of an injury he’s had, but they think he has a dining plate inside his head, because they are still very young and have to learn a lot about the world. The writer presents them that way, because he wants the audience to sympathise with those two characters, and to not want them to die at the end of the play.

Later on Mrs Lyons moves away from the town because she becomes paranoid and doesn’t want Edward to mix with lower class children and especially his twin Mickey. But fate meets the twins again, when Mrs Johnstone cannot pay her debts and is forced to move to another place, which happens to be where the Lyons’ moved earlier in the play. That is when the twins start to get closer, and hang around with each other almost all the time, until Edward goes to college, and things for Mickey and his family become worse and worse.

Mickey expresses that after Edward asks him what is wrong, by saying: “You. You are a dick head! There are no parties arranged. There is no booze or music. Christmas? I’m sick to the teeth of Christmas an’ it isn’t even here yet. See, there’s very little to celebrate, Eddie. Since you left I’ve been walking around all day, every day, lookin’ for a job” At the end of the play the twins die at the same time. What happens is that Mickey has a gun pointed at Edward because he found out he had an affair with their childhood friend and currently Mickey’s wife Linda.

Then Mrs Johnstone comes in and shouts at Mickey not to kill Edward: “Mickey! Don’t shoot Eddie! He’s your brother. You had a twin brother. I couldn’t afford to keep both of you. His mother couldn’t have kids. I agreed to give one of you away! ” I think she makes the right decision by saying this because she hopes that Mickey would calm down but instead it backfires on her as he gets even angrier and shouts: “Why didn’t you give me away? I could have been … him! Then he pulls the trigger, and right after that the policeman shoots his gun too. Then the lights in the play go off and when they come back on again, we see the two brothers lying dead on the floor. The narrator’s role in the play is to suggest to the audience what is going to happened throughout the play and also he “plays the devil” as he tells the audience about superstitious in which Mrs Johnstone believes, and to remind the audience that they will play a major part in what happens in the story.

He also appears in crucial moments of the play, to create tension by saying threatening things, such as “The devil’s right behind you, the devil’s got your number, the devil’s going to get you! ” or constantly saying phrases like “Did you… Did you… Did you…”. And although he knows everything that is going to happen, he doesn’t interfere with the characters and he doesn’t try to prevent it. The narrator always stays on the stage and moves around a lot to show that the devil is always watching you and is always right behind you, as he says most of the time.

For example on page 8 the narrator joins in right after Mrs Lyons put the new shoes on the table, and Mrs Johnstone gets upset because she is superstitious, and asks Mr Lyons to remove them. Then the narrator says: “There’s shoes upon the table an’ a joker in the pack, the salt’s been spilled and a looking glass cracked, There’s one lone magpie overhead. ” That shows us that the shoes on the table are going to have a bad effect on the characters in the play, because he is talking about bad superstitions, right after another one happened.

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Dichotomies in Blood Brothers. (2018, May 04). Retrieved from


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