Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in “Blood Brothers”. Blood Brothers is a popular play by Willy Russell. It was written and first performed in 1981. The play tells of twin brothers, separated at birth, with one kept in a low-class family and the other is adopted into a wealthy family. The characters of Mrs Johnston and Mrs Lyons, the mothers, are total opposites. Mrs Johnston is a struggling, single mother of seven, with another two on the way, whereas Mrs Lyons is a privileged, yet childless, married woman. When we are first introduced to Mrs Johnston, she is a single mother ever since her husband left her for a younger woman. She is a low–class Liverpudlian, who is extremely hardworking. Mrs Johnston is described as a woman in her thirties, but looks sixty, because of the stress of work and her children. Mrs Johnston stutters at times, when she’s under pressure, like when Mrs Lyons is persuading her to give away one of the twins, “Erm, well I think it’s the… but, Mrs Lyons, what…” Act 1 Scene 5. Mrs Johnston is shown as unsure and pressured into something she doesn’t want to do. The reader may find it disturbing, since not many mothers give away their children to their employers. Mrs Johnston realises what Mrs Lyons is talking about, but is still confused over the whole situation. When she talks, ellipses are used to show that she pauses in her dialogue, because she is uncertain about the consequences to what she is about to do, “At er…” Act 1 Scene 5. She is hesitating because she is in doubt and hasn’t really decided. Mrs Johnston is lost for words and can’t think of anything to say. Mrs Johnston is a superstitious lady, even though she denies it. The reader can see this in a scene between her and Mrs Lyons, “Mrs Lyons: [Twigging, laughing] Oh, you mean it’s superstition. You’re superstitious are you? The Mother: No. But you never put new shoes on a table.” Act 1 Scene 3. When Mrs Lyons laid shoes on the table, Mrs Johnston panicked. Mrs Lyons uses Mrs Johnston’s belief of superstition against her when trying to keep her ‘son’, Edward, one of the twins. Mrs Lyons contrasts really strongly against Mrs Johnston. At first, Mrs Lyons is shown as a bright person in her thirties, unlike the stressed Mrs Johnston who is the same age. Mrs Lyons is an upper middle-class woman. She is also a very patronising woman, who is forceful and pressurising. Mrs Lyons uses negative views about extra children so that Mrs Johnston will have to give away one of the twins to her. She doesn’t do this in an aggressive way, but in a dangerously sweet manner, “Mrs Lyons: Already you’re being threatened by the Welfare. With two more how will you avoid some of them being put into care? Surely, surely, Mrs Johnston, it’s better to give one child to me than to have some of them taken into care!
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