Attached in this post are essays relating to Of Mice and Men and Blood Brothers. Many of them are relevant and you will find them helpful for revision in May and June.
We see from this story that the Johnston’s are a very poor family who are suffering from poverty. With Mrs. Johnston being the sole provider for the family it makes it even tougher for her and the family as a whole to cope, especially as she has a lot of children.
Although they are poor, the Johnston’s seem to cope okay, but only just, and here are many examples throughout the story that suggest this. A prime example of this is how Mrs. Johnston always orders items from a catalogue and promises her children, even though there is no money to ever pay for them. She does this so that her children can have a little bit of happiness in their lives until the items they have received are taken away and repossessed by the catalogue. Although this happens almost all the time for the Johnston’s the children still feel neglected because all the children in their school and around them have all the things they want, and all the things the Johnston kids wish they had and can only dream about. Mrs. Johnston also promises lots of things to them and always tries to console them and reassure them, things like telling them that she had a new, better paid, more luxurious job, which straight away makes her kids feel like everything is going to change and that they will now start getting the things that they always wanted, and not be poor anymore, but this isn’t the case, even though she allows them to think it, we see this in the story when the children ask for, “Mummy, can we have ham…” “…And Spam…” “ And Mummy can we have jam, please Mummy…” But these things never really arrive, as she hasn’t actually got any money, even if she did get a new job, because of all the bills and debts that there are to pay. This is another prime example of how poverty has affected their family.
These are all short-term problems because the children are getting older and they will soon be out working and helping with the financial situation, but the fact that she has to go through every thing on her own was the fault of her husband, who ran out on the family. But before he left the family, Mrs. Johnston got pregnant again. As they already have lots of kids and are really unable to support them all, social services have been watching the family and have warned Mrs. Johnston that she will lose them and see them taken into care if things don’t change, so the fact that she has another child on the way will not help matters.
As Mrs. Johnston was at work, as a cleaner for a rich couple, the Lyons, she mentions her troubles to Mrs. Lyons, she, however has quiet the opposite problem as she has lots of money, but cannot have children. As Mrs. Johnston learns that she is expecting twins, Mrs. Lyons thinks up a plan that she says will make them both extremely happy and better off for it. She says to Mrs. Johnston that she could sell her one of the twins and nobody would ever find out, and as Mrs. Lyons knows the situation of Mrs. Johnston she tries to sway her decision by telling her that she could see the twin everyday and that the only difference would be that the baby has a different name. And because of Mrs. Johnston’s financial mess, and also the fact that Mrs. Lyons has persuaded her to, she gives in and agrees to give her one of the twins. Little does she know that after a few weeks, and when Mrs. Lyons husband returns from a 9-month trip around the world, that she will be sacked and never get the chance to see her baby again.
These as well as some of the other things that I have mentioned are the reasons that the Johnston family are affected by Poverty and that they are practically living their lives in it. It not only financially affects them but mentally, as it compromises Mrs. Johnston’s decisions, eventually making her give up one of her own children, effectively just so she can pay the bills, which is truly unthinkable.
From Act 1 only comment on the similarities and difference which can be observed between Mickey and Edward. There are many differences between the two characters in the first act of the play. Throughout the play the similarities overshadow the differences and the characters become more like each other. First difference is that Mickey makes friends easily unlike Edward who has very little friends, this is because his Mother very rarely lets him go out and play. This is instrumented in the play when Mickey plays many imaginary games with a large group of friends when Edward is in his house. As said before the reason for this is that Mrs Johnstone lets Mickey play freely without any rules, this allows Mickey to socialise more than Edward who is controlled by Mrs Lyons. The second variation is the difference in Education between Mickey and Edward. Edward has a good, high class education whereas Mickey has a poor education. This is revealed throughout Act one. An example of this is when Mickey is shown not to know what a dictionary is. Most people know what a dictionary is so when it says he does not is gives us the idea that Mickey is poorly educated. Another example of is the fact that Edward knows many large words which a normal eight year old would not; this suggests a good, strong education. The next difference between the pair is their behaviour with other people. Edward is well mannered and well spoken whereas Mickey uses bag language and is not mannerly. This is also shown throughout the first act and is very obvious. Mickey is consistently rude with his Mother and other characters. An example of this is when Mickey pushes the woman to answer his questions even when she does not know the answer (pg47). However, Edward is the complete opposite he says Please and Thank You. He politely enquires about Mrs Johnstone’s health and shares his sweets with Mickey. The fourth and final main difference is the class of their families. Mickey has a low class family and Edward has a high class family. Mickey and his family are shown to be disliked where they live and are treated like dirt by the Police (pg43). They are threatened with court and talked to with no respect. It is the opposite for the Lyons family. The police treat them like royalty and speak to them politely. The policeman has Scotch with Mr Lyons, this shows that the Police like them and wish to stay on their good side by blaming the lower class family for what Edward done. However, there are some similarities between Mickey and Edward which are revealed as the play goes on. One similarity between the two characters is that they are both easily excited by anything. This is shown when Sammy buries his worms and when it is revealed they are born on the same day. This is probably because they are young and may not have much excitement in their lives. They also both make friends easily and this evident that they like each other as soon as they meet. The boys are both superstitious like Mrs Johnstone and believe that certain things will affect their life. Overall the boys are more different in their younger years. As they both get older the similarities multiply and they become more alike.
With reference to the way Russell presents Mickey- Show how far you agree that Mickey is responsible for the things that go wrong in his life.
Russell reveals much about the characters in the play through use of dramatic methods. Russell does this by using Music and Song, movement, staging and language. These methods come together to show us a complete picture of Mickey’s life.
Russell shows Mickey as a jealous and envious person. This is evident when Mickey confronts Edward towards the end of the play.
“Does my child … as well as everythin’ else?”
Mickey is jealous of Edwards’s life. Edward has everything and Mickey is left with nothing. This is particularly shown during the finale of the play when Mickey, who is fed up with having nothing and depending on other people, confronts Edward. Mickey’s language and movement show his anger and frustration. Mickey uses foul language and his body language e.g. Pushing/Shoving shows anger. Mickey’s life goes wrong at this point and it is totally his fault. His resentment and rage against Edward makes him go to the extreme and kill Edward.
Mickey is very naive and because of this many things go wrong in his life. He is easily persuaded by Sammy to be a watch out. This is possibly because he is at the end of his tether and feels that there is no other way out of his present situation of misery. Mickey should have known that going with Sammy was a bad idea.
“Fifty quid … Take Linda if you had cash like that”
Mickey may have felt that taking this risk would get him closer to Linda and strengthen their relationship. Mickey’s body show that he is nervous. He moves slowly as said in the stage directions and constantly looks around nervously. He cries when he sees the dead body. After this we know that Mickey did not want to go along with Sammy but it was his fault that he was arrested. This ruined his life and only he and Sammy can be blamed.
Mickey is not able to express his feelings for Linda which may have contributed towards his death.
“Linda, I wanna kiss … but I don’t know how to tell y’”
Linda feels that Mickey is not making an effort and is growing away from her on purpose. This causes her to turn to Edward. Mickey is in the wrong for this because it was his pill taking that meant he couldn’t feel close to her. Again this is a bad time in Mickey’s life and his language shows this. He shouts at Linda and threatens her for his pills. He makes Linda feel second best to his pills and he does not know what he is doing. He is at fault here; if Mickey had made an effort to control his addiction then Linda and he could have had a good relationship.
Mickey was also hurt when Edward moved away from him. Mickey is partially to blame for this. His body language towards Mrs Lyons and the way conveys himself makes Mrs Lyons want to move away.
“You see why I don’t want … like a horrible little boy”
Mickey teaches Edward bad language and Mrs Lyons is not happy. She blames Mickey for what happened. It was Mickey’s fault that they moved away. He pushes his way into Mrs Lyons house at one time. All of this adds up until Mrs Lyons cannot take anymore, she is beginning to hate Mickey and feels that she needs to escape him.
However, Mickey was not totally to blame for the bad things that go wrong in his life. He suffered from poor parenting. Mrs J could not handle all of her children so they were left without any life lessons. Mickey was never taught to vocalise his feelings, express emotions towards other people or to be mannerly towards other people.
“I don’t know how to tell y’”
Mickey is self-conscious and therefore can’t tell Linda how he feels about her. He was never taught that it was alright to do so. Mrs J loved him very much but does not teach him right from wrong. This leads to Mickey getting n trouble with Police as a child. Mickey never grows out of this and still takes risks later in life- Agrees to be Sammy’s accomplice. His naivety in these situations is shown by the way he laughs when he is first caught by the police. Mickey does not know how he should react and has no manners to act properly.
Mickey is also a Victim of Circumstance. He is fired from his job as a “Sign of the times”. This depresses Mickey to the point of turning to crime for money. He has grown away from Linda and is never happy. This is shown by the staging. Mickey is shown alone and dreary for these scenes and does not respond very well. The differences between him and others around him are obvious. Mickey is miserable but others around him are happy and encouraging.