Social, Cultural, historical elements of A Taste of Honey Introduction: `A Taste of Honey’ highlights many issues which would have been easily understood for audiences in the 1950s. Many issues are raised in which the audience can relate to. Delaney’s intention was to make the play realistic, as therefore it is highly influenced by Stavislavski’s “kitchen sink” theatre (genre). When the play was written, society was very different from today. Issues such as homosexuality which people at this time weren’t really aware of, therefore it was not accepted.
Also status (financial) seems to play a vital role in your future – i.e.you had to be well educated to pass your 11+ to go to the grammar school, which provided the best education. Society was repressive, especially for women who had the domination of the opposite gender, which they had to abide to. Therefore, women were very much the weaker sex in this era, and there wasn’t even the acceptability for them to go to work due to seeing their role as housewives, looking after their family and their homes, which was how their success was measured.
However, throughout `A Taste of Honey’ Delaney portrays the realities of a working class background, the prejudices people had to endure, (discrimination against homosexuality and race) and how the characters in the play portray how different they are from the rest of society. However, the 1950s sparked off many changes throughout society. For a start, people started to become more cultured as, for example, musicals such as `My Fair Lady’ was a huge success due to the fact that many people could relate to the story of a working class lady’s struggle to educate herself and be respected by the middle classes. In 1955, James Dean shot to fame in `Rebel Without A Cause’ which highlighted the problems of a teenage boy in a repressive society, and effectively allows ‘teenagers’ to be recognised. Also television was starting to increase in popularity as soaps such as `Coronation Street’ and `The Groves’ were widely watched, due to their realistic approach of working class people’s lives in the current society. Too add to this, just prior to ‘A Taste of Honey’ was John Osbourne’s ‘Look Back In Anger’(1956), which was considered as groundbreaking and controversial due it dealing with people who didn’t agree or fit in with society. Theref.
. .how there is no seriousness involved. The couples only have each other for entertainment and to amuse themselves in some cases, i.e. Peter and Helen: Helen: ‘’Listen, love, I’m old enough to be your mother.’’ (page 18) Peter: ‘’Now you know I like this mother and son relationship.’’ Also their is boy and Jo, and Geof and Jo: Jo: ‘’Go on, I’ve always wanted to know about people like you.’’ (page 48) Geof: ‘’Go to Hell.’’ Jo: ‘’I won’t snigger, honest I won’t. Tell me some of it, go on. I bet you’ve never told a woman before,’’ The comedy is mostly reflected from the language, with use of sexual puns and innuendoes and jokes throughout the play. This is guaranteed to ensure the play is more light-hearted and fits in with Stanislavski’s idea of `soap operas.’ If it was too serious and depressing the audience might switch off to important elements of the plot. An example of this in highlighted mainly through Helen and Peter’s dialogue: Jo: ‘’She should be in bed.’’ (page 19, the pun is the fact that Jo means that Helen’s illness is why Peter: ‘’I know she should.’’ she should be in bed, however Peter twist this to make have a sexual reference).
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