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Analysis of Key Quotes in 'A Taste of Honey'

In this worksheet, students will analyse key quotes in 'A Taste of Honey', exploring their connotations and commenting on their effects in the play.

'Analysis of Key Quotes in 'A Taste of Honey'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Eduqas

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

Curriculum subtopic:   A Taste of Honey

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Camera in hands

 

When you are analysing quotations in the exam, try to zoom in on individual words!

 

"Suddenly she attacks him, half-laughing, half crying."

 

In the quotation above, we might zoom in on "attacks", "half-laughing" and "half-crying" to show close analysis.

 

 

Think about:

 

- What technique has Delaney used? E.g. verb, simile, imagery, 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 Delaney 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 'A Taste of Honey.'

What tone does Delaney create in the following quotation?

 

"Everything in it's falling apart, it's true, an we've no heating - but there's a lovely view of the gasworks, we share a bathroom with the community and this wallpaper's contemporary. What more do you want? Anyway it'll do for us."

 

Click on all of the sentences below that describes the tone.

Humorous

Serious

Angry

Acceptance

Sadness

Jo is shown to be more optimistic that she can change her life for the better.

 

Complete the passage below, analysing the quotation: "I hope they bloom".

 

watering can watering a plant

 

 

 

Humorous

Serious

Angry

Acceptance

Sadness

What is the effect of the imagery in the following quotation:

 

"I'm not frightened of the darkness outside. It's the darkness inside houses I don't like".

 

Delaney suggests that Jo is fearful inside because her house is falling apart and disgusting

Delaney suggests that the fear relates to people as the "darkness inside" represents the uncertainty and insecurity Jo has experienced in her relationships

Consider the effect of the following quotations in revealing Jo's feelings about her mother's attitude towards her relationship with the Boy.

 

Match the quotations to their effects.

Column A

Column B

"I'd better tuck this out of sight. I don't want m...
Delaney shows that Jo knows her mother will be jud...
"No, whatever else she might be, she isn't prejudi...
Delaney shows that part of Jo thinks her mother is...

fast car

 

Which two words in the following quotation suggest that Helen believes that people have little hope of changing the destiny that is laid out for them?

 

Underline two words.

\"We\'re all at the steering wheel of our own destiny. Careering along like drunken drivers\"

Delaney presents the three way arguments between Jo, Peter and Helen as quite humorous and also slapstick in their style. However, she reveals a variety of emotions through the dialogue and the stage directions.

 

Match the quotations below to what they show the audience about Jo's feelings.

Column A

Column B

"You leave me alone. And leave my mother alone too...
Delaney presents Jo as suspicious of Peter's relat...
"Suddenly she attacks him, half-laughing, half-cry...
Although Delaney shows Jo as assertive on the one ...
"You don't look forty. You look a sort of well-pre...
Delaney's use of possessive pronouns in the dialog...
"Can I see the other photos?"
Delaney uses sarcasm in Jo's dialogue to show the ...

Which quotations below show the audience that perhaps Jo will repeat the cycle and struggle to take responsibility for her own child?

"Well, they all know where I get it from too"

"I can work for the baby myself"

"You had to throw yourself at the first man you met, didn't you?"

"If you don't watch it, you'll turn out exactly like her"

"I can do anything when I set my mind to it"

Match the quotations below to what Delaney shows us about Geof and Helen at the end of the play.

Column A

Column B

"I'm going. She can't cope with the two of us. Onl...
The stage directions reveal Helen's controlling na...
"Helen finally throws the whole thing, pack and al...
Delaney presents Helen just as irresponsible at th...
"Oh Jo, I've forgotten how we used to light this t...
Delaney shows that Geof is a calming influence aro...
"There's going to be nothing tricky about it; it's...
Delaney suggests that Geof leaves because he has J...

Match the quotations below to the analytical comment about Geof's character.

Column A

Column B

"I can't stand people who laugh at other people"
Geof values his relationship with Jo, which is a p...
"You'd make someone a wonderful wife"
He is perceptive and understands Jo's faults as we...
"If you don't watch it you'll turn out exactly lik...
He subverts the traditional gender stereotype - as...
"I'd sooner be dead than away from you"
He has experienced prejudice himself and is open-m...

"I don't want to be a mother. I don't want to be a woman"

 

Write a paragraph analysing the effect of this quotation. Try to comment on the writer's craft and link back to the context in which Delaney was writing.

  • Question 1

What tone does Delaney create in the following quotation?

 

"Everything in it's falling apart, it's true, an we've no heating - but there's a lovely view of the gasworks, we share a bathroom with the community and this wallpaper's contemporary. What more do you want? Anyway it'll do for us."

 

Click on all of the sentences below that describes the tone.

CORRECT ANSWER
Humorous
Acceptance
EDDIE SAYS
Delaney gives us a glimpse into Helen and Jo's poor living conditions in this opening scene. Helen often uses humour to make light of situations - "lovely view" here certainly has a sarcastic and ironic tone! Helen seems to have accepted that this is their lot with her comment "It'll do", which contrasts Jo's criticism of the new flat. However, whilst Helen is jokey and makes light of this situation, this could actually be a coping mechanism for her, hiding her true feelings about the real struggle of their working class lives.
  • Question 2

Jo is shown to be more optimistic that she can change her life for the better.

 

Complete the passage below, analysing the quotation: "I hope they bloom".

 

watering can watering a plant

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Delaney uses a lot of symbolism in the play. The bulbs show Jo trying to bring beauty into otherwise terrible living conditions. Alongside her comments about wanting independence and to earn her own money, this symbolism allows Delaney to depict a youthful optimism in Jo, representative of the 1950's younger generation, who were beginning to show a shift in attitude from their parents.
  • Question 3

What is the effect of the imagery in the following quotation:

 

"I'm not frightened of the darkness outside. It's the darkness inside houses I don't like".

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Delaney suggests that the fear relates to people as the "darkness inside" represents the uncertainty and insecurity Jo has experienced in her relationships
EDDIE SAYS
Did you think about the connotations of "darkness"? Darkness evokes feelings of the unknown/of things lurking/death and depression - Jo links these emotions to inside because this is where her relationship with her mother has been focused and is one that has not brought her much happiness. Instead, her mother has been unreliable and neglectful, making her home an uncertain and scary place to be for a child.
  • Question 4

Consider the effect of the following quotations in revealing Jo's feelings about her mother's attitude towards her relationship with the Boy.

 

Match the quotations to their effects.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I'd better tuck this out of sigh...
Delaney shows that Jo knows her m...
"No, whatever else she might be, ...
Delaney shows that part of Jo thi...
EDDIE SAYS
The way Jo hides her engagement ring suggests she is worried about her mother's reaction - is this because her mother will judge her for marrying so young? Delaney shows Jo stating that her mother isn't prejudiced, a misjudgement, we later discover, when her mother is told about the baby's father being black. So, was Jo actually really worried about her mother's reaction to the Boy being black and in denial about this herself?
  • Question 5

fast car

 

Which two words in the following quotation suggest that Helen believes that people have little hope of changing the destiny that is laid out for them?

 

Underline two words.

CORRECT ANSWER
"We're all at the steering wheel of our own destiny. Careering along like drunken drivers"
EDDIE SAYS
Delaney presents a contradiction here - on the one hand Helen suggests she believes in free will and that people can decide their path in life, but the image in the simile "drunken drivers" gives a different impression. The connotations of this image is more of people out of control. This fits in with Helen's fatalistic attitude in other parts of the play.
  • Question 6

Delaney presents the three way arguments between Jo, Peter and Helen as quite humorous and also slapstick in their style. However, she reveals a variety of emotions through the dialogue and the stage directions.

 

Match the quotations below to what they show the audience about Jo's feelings.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"You leave me alone. And leave my...
Delaney's use of possessive prono...
"Suddenly she attacks him, half-l...
Although Delaney shows Jo as asse...
"You don't look forty. You look a...
Delaney uses sarcasm in Jo's dial...
"Can I see the other photos?"
Delaney presents Jo as suspicious...
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to match them all? While the scenes with Peter, Helen and Jo are often presented humorously, the humour hides a variety of emotions. While Jo attacks her mother verbally, this seems to be her way of protecting herself. If she were to show affection, she might be even more hurt by her mother's rejection. She creates a distance between herself and her mother. However, the language Delaney uses highlights how this bravado is all show - Jo still shows an attachment to her mother and a fear of losing her.
  • Question 7

Which quotations below show the audience that perhaps Jo will repeat the cycle and struggle to take responsibility for her own child?

CORRECT ANSWER
"Well, they all know where I get it from too"
"You had to throw yourself at the first man you met, didn't you?"
"If you don't watch it, you'll turn out exactly like her"
EDDIE SAYS
Good work if you got all three! Jo's future is ambiguous. On the one hand, Delaney hints that the cycle might repeat. She highlights similarities between Jo and Helen- Geof, Helen and Jo all recognise these. However, the unmarked quotations above also show the determination Jo has to break the cycle - she shows an optimism that she can improve her life and work to provide for her baby herself.
  • Question 8

Match the quotations below to what Delaney shows us about Geof and Helen at the end of the play.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I'm going. She can't cope with t...
Delaney suggests that Geof leaves...
"Helen finally throws the whole t...
The stage directions reveal Helen...
"Oh Jo, I've forgotten how we use...
Delaney presents Helen just as ir...
"There's going to be nothing tric...
Delaney shows that Geof is a calm...
EDDIE SAYS
Delaney presents a complete contrast between Helen and Geof, as shown through these quotations. Helen's intentions don't seem genuine - she doesn't seem to be acting out of love or care, but is trying to control the situation without considering what is best for Jo. Geof on the other hand, sacrifices his own needs and leaves because he knows that he and Helen can't both stay. He is shown to leave out of genuine concern for Jo.
  • Question 9

Match the quotations below to the analytical comment about Geof's character.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I can't stand people who laugh a...
He has experienced prejudice hims...
"You'd make someone a wonderful w...
He subverts the traditional gende...
"If you don't watch it you'll tur...
He is perceptive and understands ...
"I'd sooner be dead than away fro...
Geof values his relationship with...
EDDIE SAYS
In the exam, you will need to be able to remember key quotations. Try to build a bank of quotations for each theme and character and learn them. Here we can see some key quotations that can be analysed to explore the different and more subtle aspects of Geof's character. We know that Geof is a responsible and reliable source of support for Jo, but we can learn so much more about him by analysing quotations like the ones above.
  • Question 10

"I don't want to be a mother. I don't want to be a woman"

 

Write a paragraph analysing the effect of this quotation. Try to comment on the writer's craft and link back to the context in which Delaney was writing.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Delaney wrote at a time when traditional gender expectations of women were as mothers and housewives. Her characterisation of Jo however, very much challenges this stereotype. Jo's assertiveness in her hatred of her defined role as a women is expressed through Delaney's use of short, sharp sentences and the powerful language in "I don't want...". The repeated sentence structure here is very interesting in the way it repeats and only changes the word "mother" for "woman", allowing Delaney to highlight the automatic connection between being a woman and being a mother in 1950's Britain. The way in which Jo challenges the restrictions she feels society places on her as a woman, makes Delaney a revolutionary writer for her time.
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