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Analysis of Key Quotes in 'Blood Brothers'

In this worksheet, students will practise analysing key quotations from Russell's 'Blood Brothers', exploring the writer's use of language, structure and dramatic devices.

'Analysis of Key Quotes in 'Blood Brothers'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Eduqas, Pearson Edexcel, AQA

Curriculum topic:   Post-1914 Prose / Drama, Post-1914 Play or Novel, Modern Texts: Drama

Curriculum subtopic:   Blood Brothers

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In the exam, you will need to be able to support your ideas with quotations from the text.

 

 

You should try to build a bank of quotations for each character and theme and learn these so that you can use them readily in your exam response.

 

 

For a higher mark in the exam, you should try to analyse quotations closely.

 

camera held in hands

 

 

Try to zoom in on individual words.

 

 

Think about:

- What language/structure/dramatic device has Russell used? E.g. dramatic irony, symbolism, etc.

- What are the connotations of this word? What does it suggest about the character/theme?

- What effect does this have on the audience?

- How does it help to reflect something about the context in which Russell was writing?

 

Have a go at the following questions which will help you to closely analyse quotations and think about what they suggest about particular characters, themes or ideas in 'Blood Brothers'.

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples.  These quotations are for reference only.

 

What do the following song lyrics suggest about Mrs Johnstone?

 

"Tell me it's not true. Say it's just a story."

Russell shows how Mrs Johnstone does not want to accept the reality of what has happened​

Russell shows that Mrs Johnstone expected that this would happen all along

Complete the passage below analysing Mrs Johnstone's dialogue with Mrs Lyons after she finds out she is pregnant.

Russell shows how Mrs Johnstone does not want to accept the reality of what has happened​

Russell shows that Mrs Johnstone expected that this would happen all along

What does the following quotation show about Mrs Lyons?

 

"They say...they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die."

She is jealous

She is manipulative

She is kind

Which quotation uses the symbolism of children's games to highlight the innocence of childhood

"You know that if you cross your fingers, And if you count from one to ten, You can get up off the ground again."

"And then she attacked me with permanent acne."

"I haven't even got one girlfriend."

What motif does the narrator use in his song lyrics to remind the audience about the idea of fate?

Which adjective would you 'zoom in' on to show how upset Mickey is after he sees Sammy shoot a man?

 

\"Mickey stands unable to move, tears streaming down his face.\"

What does each quotation show about Mrs Johnstone?

Column A

Column B

"When I bring home the dough, We'll live like king...
Optimistic
"New shoes on the table, take them off..."
Superstitious
"I love the bones of every one of them"
Irresponsible
"Y' shouldn't have signed for all this stuff, shou...
Loving

What does Mickey's response to his mother telling him he is a twin, suggest?

 

'Why didn't you give me away? (He stands glaring at her, almost uncontrollable with rage.) I could have been...I could have been him!'

Column A

Column B

"When I bring home the dough, We'll live like king...
Optimistic
"New shoes on the table, take them off..."
Superstitious
"I love the bones of every one of them"
Irresponsible
"Y' shouldn't have signed for all this stuff, shou...
Loving

How does the following quotation spoken by Mr Lyons reflect something about the context in which Russell was writing?

 

"Mummy will read the story, Edward. I've got to go to work for an hour."

Column A

Column B

"When I bring home the dough, We'll live like king...
Optimistic
"New shoes on the table, take them off..."
Superstitious
"I love the bones of every one of them"
Irresponsible
"Y' shouldn't have signed for all this stuff, shou...
Loving

"Edward: I've got money, plenty of it. I'm back, let's forget about bloody jobs, let's go and get Linda and celebrate. Look, look, money, lots of it, have some....(He tries to throw some notes into Mickey's hands.)"

 

Write a paragraph analysing the effect of this quotation taken from Act 2 of 'Blood Brothers'. 

 

Try to comment on the writer's craft and link back to the context in which Russell was writing.

  • Question 1

What do the following song lyrics suggest about Mrs Johnstone?

 

"Tell me it's not true. Say it's just a story."

CORRECT ANSWER
Russell shows how Mrs Johnstone does not want to accept the reality of what has happened​
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one? This is the opening line of the musical when we are shown how the play will end, with the death of the twins. The musical ends with this song also, where we see the deaths of the twins replayed after having witnessed everything that has led to this point. Throughout the musical Mrs Johnstone is presented as an optimistic and often an idealistic character. This characteristic affects how she deals with the death of her children; the focus on it being a "story" and "not true" shows how she still wants to pretend that everything is ok as she has been throughout the musical. The tragedy lies here in the fact that she can't pretend any longer.
  • Question 2

Complete the passage below analysing Mrs Johnstone's dialogue with Mrs Lyons after she finds out she is pregnant.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you fill all of the spaces? Remember that in the exam, it's important to consider the effect on the audience and to explore how Russell reflects the context in which he was writing. Very early in the play, we see Mrs Johnstone's working-class struggle which helps us to understand why she makes the decisions she does. Russell ensures that his audience sympathises with her - she clearly loves and cares for her children but her situation is out of her control. She has to work to provide for her family as a single mother, meaning that her children are left to their own means a lot of the time. Russell helps us to understand why she has to give her child away, suggesting that she is thinking of the child's best interests over her own needs. Russell employs Mrs Johnstone to depict a harshly realistic image of the working class struggle he saw in Liverpool during the 60s and 70s.
  • Question 3

What does the following quotation show about Mrs Lyons?

 

"They say...they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die."

CORRECT ANSWER
She is manipulative
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation shows that Mrs Lyons is manipulative. She's already seen that Mrs Johnstone is superstitious when she worries that Mrs Lyons has put new shoes on the table. She uses this knowledge about Mrs Johnstone to manipulate her - she makes up a superstition that she knows will worry Mrs Johnstone and force her not to reveal the truth. Of course, throughout the musical, we see how it's Mrs Lyons who becomes most obsessed about keeping the twins apart and it slowly drives her mad.
  • Question 4

Which quotation uses the symbolism of children's games to highlight the innocence of childhood

CORRECT ANSWER
"You know that if you cross your fingers, And if you count from one to ten, You can get up off the ground again."
EDDIE SAYS
The shooting games the children play show their innocence. We see them having fun and being carefree. The quotation above shows how there are no consequences in these innocent childhood games. This offers a stark contrast to their adult lives - Sammy shoots someone in a robbery and Mickey ends up in prison after being their lookout. The actions of the gangs the boys are part of have very devastating consequences, unlike these childhood games.
  • Question 5

What motif does the narrator use in his song lyrics to remind the audience about the idea of fate?

CORRECT ANSWER
Devil
The devil
EDDIE SAYS
The idea of the devil knocking on your door is repeated by the narrator throughout the musical - this creates a motif. Notice how the lighter and more optimistic moments in the musical are often destroyed by this reminder - the idea of fate is explored here. The ending has already been decided for the characters however much they try to escape it.
  • Question 6

Which adjective would you 'zoom in' on to show how upset Mickey is after he sees Sammy shoot a man?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Mickey stands unable to move, tears streaming down his face."
EDDIE SAYS
The adjective "streaming" is used in this quotation to describe Mickey's tears rolling down his face. Remember that in the exam for the higher marks, you need to analyse language closely. By zooming in on individual words and exploring their connotations you can impress the examiner. Here we have zoomed in on the adjective "streaming" to describe Mickey's tears. Russell highlights how devastated Mickey is having witnessed his brother shoot someone and probably also because he realises that he himself will now have to pay the consequences of getting involved in this robbery. The tears "streaming" then reflect Mickey's regret and allow Russell to highlight that Mickey is just a victim here - he was desperate and turned to crime when he couldn't find any other way. Russell wanted to show how easily good men made bad decisions when faced with the continual struggle of unemployment and poverty in Liverpool during the 60s and 70s.
  • Question 7

What does each quotation show about Mrs Johnstone?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"When I bring home the dough, We'...
Optimistic
"New shoes on the table, take the...
Superstitious
"I love the bones of every one of...
Loving
"Y' shouldn't have signed for all...
Irresponsible
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to match them all? Mrs Johnstone has many different character traits. Yes, we see how she can be irresponsible, ordering things from catalogues and living beyond her means, but Russell still presents her in a likeable and sympathetic way. She's loving to her children and affectionate to them. She's also optimistic that things will get better, despite desperately struggling each day. This has to be an admirable quality. Of course, she's also very superstitious - this is what forces her to keep the twins apart throughout their lives and is what that narrator suggests could be the reason things turn out the way they do.
  • Question 8

What does Mickey's response to his mother telling him he is a twin, suggest?

 

'Why didn't you give me away? (He stands glaring at her, almost uncontrollable with rage.) I could have been...I could have been him!'

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to fill all of the spaces? Here we are analysing the quotation by zooming in on different parts. This is important for the higher marks in the exam. Think about the connotations of words - what do they suggest about a character or theme? We have also linked back to the context in which Russell was writing - this is another important part of your exam response!
  • Question 9

How does the following quotation spoken by Mr Lyons reflect something about the context in which Russell was writing?

 

"Mummy will read the story, Edward. I've got to go to work for an hour."

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Remember that for a higher mark in the exam, it's important to link ideas about characters to the context in which Russell was writing. Russell portrays gender stereotypes in the musical and Mr Lyons is presented as a traditionally male figure who spends his time working while his wife looks after his child and house. Later in the musical we also see how he makes the decisions in the household, showing that the traditional hierarchy in the marriage exists. For example, Mrs Lyons asks him if they can move and he makes the decision for his family.
  • Question 10

"Edward: I've got money, plenty of it. I'm back, let's forget about bloody jobs, let's go and get Linda and celebrate. Look, look, money, lots of it, have some....(He tries to throw some notes into Mickey's hands.)"

 

Write a paragraph analysing the effect of this quotation taken from Act 2 of 'Blood Brothers'. 

 

Try to comment on the writer's craft and link back to the context in which Russell was writing.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: Russell highlights the strong class divide in Liverpool during the 60s and 70s by portraying Edward's attitude towards money as carefree, a complete contrast to the struggle that Mickey faces as an unemployed working-class man. His repetition of the word " money" and his flippant remarks about having "lots of it" also highlight an ignorance here in the middle classes to the working-class struggle. Russell's focus on how Edward "tries to throw some notes into Mickey's hand" seems to show an insensitive side to Edward, however, the use of the verb "throw" simply highlights how Edward, representing middle-class society, can literally throw money around without having to worry. Russell conveys how Edward is still childlike, having had a privileged upbringing, and rather than being insensitive, he is perhaps just unaware of what real responsibility and struggle looks like for someone like Mickey.
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