The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Evaluate Key Characters and their Development in 'A Taste of Honey'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate the key characters in 'A Taste of Honey', analysing how they are presented in more depth and considering how they reflect the context in which the play was written.

'Evaluate Key Characters and their Development in 'A Taste of Honey'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  

Curriculum subtopic:  

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10


 

thought bubble

 

 

To what extent is Helen an unsuitable mother?

 

Do you think that Jo is capable of becoming a successful independent working mother?

 

How does Jo change as the play progresses?

 

Are all of the characters punished for their moment of happiness?

 

To achieve the highest marks in your exam response, you will need to offer a personal and perceptive interpretation.

 

This means that you need to:

 

- Ask questions of the characters

 

- Think about all of the different ways we might view them - positive and negative

 

- Think about whether they change throughout the play

 

- Try to evaluate how far we can say they possess a particular characteristic

 

Remember that you will also need to show close analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting a particular character and relate your ideas to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

In this activity, you will evaluate how each character is presented in 'A Taste of Honey.'

Consider the quotations below about Helen taken from Act one, Scene one and match them to the analytical comment exploring how Helen is presented.

Column A

Column B

"Of course, you know I can't bear to be parted fro...
Delaney presents a role reversal, with Jo acting l...
"You're knocking it back worse than ever"
Helen's lack of knowledge about how to work the ho...
"Turn em' all, you're bound to find the right one ...
Delaney uses sarcasm in Helen's dialogue and highl...

Delaney contrasts Helen and Jo throughout the play. Click on the sentences that evaluates their different attitudes to life.

Delaney presents Jo as hopeful and optimistic and with a determination to live differently to her mother when she says "I'm not getting married like you did." Helen's response reveals her pessimism and fatalistic attitude when she replies "we all end up same way sooner or later." Indeed Helen's prediction is partially accurate, because we do see Jo repeating some of her mother's mistakes, such as her teenage pregnancy. Delaney highlights here the repetitive cycle of deprivation for working class families in the 1950's and how this was difficult to escape, even for the most determined of people, such as Jo

Jo is presented as optimistic that she will lead a different life when she says "I'm not getting married like you did." Helen is pessimistic when she says "we all end up same way."

Delaney shows Helen using a dark humour that reveals a fatalistic attitude to life and a resignation to her fate.

 

However Delaney shows some contradictory aspects to this attitude.

 

Match the quotations below to what Delaney is showing us about Helen's attitude to life.

 

 

Column A

Column B

"We're all at the steering wheel of our own destin...
In some of Helen's dialogue, Delaney reveals almos...
"Careering along like drunken drivers"
Some of Helen's dialogue has a depressing tone whi...
"We all have funny ideas at that age, don't we - m...
Delaney's metaphor suggests that Helen believes th...
"I certainly supervised my own downfall"
The simile Delaney uses evokes images of someone o...

Match the following quotations about Helen's decision to marry Peter to the analytical comment that describes her motives.

Column A

Column B

"I always accept the odd diamond ring with pleasur...
Helen talks about getting married to Peter extreme...
"What would you do if I told you I was thinking of...
Delaney highlights Helen's materialism - an aspect...
"Besides I'm thinking of giving it up"
Helen shows a hint of being a more responsible adu...

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 feeling during these scenes.

Column A

Column B

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

Evaluate how Jo and the Boy's relationship is presented, by considering the aspects of their relationship that Delaney presents as hopeful and the aspects that suggest the relationship is doomed.

 HopefulDoomed
"I'll probably never see you again" highlights Jo's insecurity in the relationship
"You're the first girl I've met who really didn't care" shows Jo's open-minded attitude to the Boy's race
"I adore you" shows the Boy's seemingly genuine affection for Jo
"I know you're going drinking" highlights how the Boy still enjoys partying with his friends
"He puts a ring on" almost mirrors the previous scene where Helen talks about an engagement ring with Peter
"Let me be your Othello and you my Desdemona" is the Boy's reference to Othello who was black and who ends up killing Desdemona

In the exam, it is important to explore characters in relation to the context in which Delaney was writing.

 

Select all of the explanations below that show the character of Peter being linked to context.

Delaney employs the character of Peter to show the social inequality that existed in the 1950's. Peter reveals his house has "twelve swimming pools", which is a stark contrast to the poverty which Jo is left living in

Delaney was critical of the misogyny she saw in 1950's society and literature and presents the character of Peter as an unlikable character when he refers to the women he has had relationships with as numbers - "number thirty-eight. A charming little thing"

Delaney conveys Peter as an aggressive character when he uses abusive language, such as "shut your mouth, bubble belly"

Delaney shows how Peter is judgemental of working class society in his derogatory comment "I dragged you out of the gutter once", conveying the prejudice of working class society Delaney wanted to depict through her use of a new kind of "kitchen sink" drama that reflected the real lives of working class families

Delaney presents Peter as homophobic, using derogatory language about Geof, such as "little fruitcake parcel"

Evaluate to what extent Jo is presented as a hopeful character.

 

Match the quotations below to what Delaney is showing us about Jo's character.

Column A

Column B

"I'm not planning big plans for this baby or dream...
Delaney shows that Jo feels most hopeful when arou...
"I can do anything when I set my mind to it"
Delaney shows Jo as determined to show her mother ...
"Do you know, for the first time in my life I feel...
Delaney presents Jo as sceptical and cautious abou...
"I hope they bloom. Always before when I've tried ...
Delaney's symbolism of Jo's bulbs failing to grow ...
"They're dead. It makes you think, doesn't it"
The symbolism of Jo's bulbs is used by Delaney to ...

It is now time to have a go at a mini essay question.

 

In the exam, you might be asked to write about how a writer presents a particular character in the play.

 

You will need to use quotations to support each of your points and should link your points about a character to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting this character.

 

Task: Explore how Geof is presented in 'A Taste of Honey'.

 

Try to write 3 paragraphs.

Now try this mini essay task...

 

In the exam, you might be asked to write about how a writer presents a particular character in the play.

 

You will need to use quotations to support each of your points and should link your points about a character to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

For the highest marks you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting this character.

 

The following question is worded to encourage you to show evaluation - try to write 3 paragraphs and then a concluding paragraph where you write an evaluative summary to answer the 'To what extent...?' part. Here you should give your personal response!

 

Task: To what extent is Helen presented as an uncaring and irresponsible mother?

  • Question 1

Consider the quotations below about Helen taken from Act one, Scene one and match them to the analytical comment exploring how Helen is presented.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"Of course, you know I can't bear...
Delaney uses sarcasm in Helen's d...
"You're knocking it back worse th...
Delaney presents a role reversal,...
"Turn em' all, you're bound to fi...
Helen's lack of knowledge about h...
EDDIE SAYS
Notice how Delaney reveals so much about Helen's character in the very first scene through her dialogue with Jo. Delaney employs humour, sarcasm and irony in Helen's dialogue to highlight her flippant attitude to life and her lack of responsibility as a mother. The role reversal that's presented so early on in the play not only serves to question the parental capability of some adults, but also helps the audience to evaluate Jo's actions later on in the play. By setting up their relationship at the beginning of the play, Delaney helps us to understand the subsequent choices the characters make.
  • Question 2

Delaney contrasts Helen and Jo throughout the play. Click on the sentences that evaluates their different attitudes to life.

CORRECT ANSWER
Delaney presents Jo as hopeful and optimistic and with a determination to live differently to her mother when she says "I'm not getting married like you did." Helen's response reveals her pessimism and fatalistic attitude when she replies "we all end up same way sooner or later." Indeed Helen's prediction is partially accurate, because we do see Jo repeating some of her mother's mistakes, such as her teenage pregnancy. Delaney highlights here the repetitive cycle of deprivation for working class families in the 1950's and how this was difficult to escape, even for the most determined of people, such as Jo
EDDIE SAYS
Did you look for an evaluation of the characters? Evaluation tends to ask more questions and tries to sum up how far or to what extent a character is presented in a certain way. The last sentence of Option 1 offers this evaluation when it looks at how far Jo succeeds in her optimism. Option 2 purely analyses their different characteristics. The more evaluation you can include in the exam, the more marks you will be awarded!
  • Question 3

Delaney shows Helen using a dark humour that reveals a fatalistic attitude to life and a resignation to her fate.

 

However Delaney shows some contradictory aspects to this attitude.

 

Match the quotations below to what Delaney is showing us about Helen's attitude to life.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"We're all at the steering wheel ...
Delaney's metaphor suggests that ...
"Careering along like drunken dri...
The simile Delaney uses evokes im...
"We all have funny ideas at that ...
Some of Helen's dialogue has a de...
"I certainly supervised my own do...
In some of Helen's dialogue, Dela...
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one! Delaney certainly depicts some complex characters that require some deep analysis. Helen's attitude to life is contradictory. Her dark humour related to death and her focus on fate shows a depressing acceptance of her lot in life. Yet, Delaney sometimes gives us a little glimmer of suggestion that Helen, deep down, still believes a little that you can change your path in life. Perhaps it's too late for Helen but there's some suggestion she believes that Jo could do better - after all, even early on in the play we see her tell Jo she is "wasting" herself by not going to art school. Delaney shows the working class struggle here and the difficulty in escaping from the limitations of this life.
  • Question 4

Match the following quotations about Helen's decision to marry Peter to the analytical comment that describes her motives.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I always accept the odd diamond ...
Delaney highlights Helen's materi...
"What would you do if I told you ...
Helen talks about getting married...
"Besides I'm thinking of giving i...
Helen shows a hint of being a mor...
EDDIE SAYS
Here we're analysing Helen's character by looking at key quotations and considering what they show about her character. To take this further, we can put all of this information together and make an evaluation of her character. The way in which she initially rejects the idea of marriage to Peter, then talks about material things and then decides she might marry him, could suggest that Delaney is highlighting that Helen treats marriage like a business decision. Living in social deprivation, Helen is representative of the working class society during the 1950's; we see her desire to escape this and that she sees her opportunity in men with money.
  • Question 5

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 feeling during these scenes.

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? The scenes with Peter, Helen and Jo are often presented humorously, but this humour hides a variety of emotions. Whilst 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 6

Evaluate how Jo and the Boy's relationship is presented, by considering the aspects of their relationship that Delaney presents as hopeful and the aspects that suggest the relationship is doomed.

CORRECT ANSWER
 HopefulDoomed
"I'll probably never see you again" highlights Jo's insecurity in the relationship
"You're the first girl I've met who really didn't care" shows Jo's open-minded attitude to the Boy's race
"I adore you" shows the Boy's seemingly genuine affection for Jo
"I know you're going drinking" highlights how the Boy still enjoys partying with his friends
"He puts a ring on" almost mirrors the previous scene where Helen talks about an engagement ring with Peter
"Let me be your Othello and you my Desdemona" is the Boy's reference to Othello who was black and who ends up killing Desdemona
EDDIE SAYS
We can see above that the majority of ticks are in the doomed boxes. Whilst Delaney shows their relationship to be loving and affectionate, she also foreshadows how the relationship will fail. One of the structural ways in which she does this, is by placing the scenes with Jo and the Boy next to the scene with Jo, Helen and Peter. This highlights not only the differences in their relationship, but also their similarities, suggesting that this is as unsuitable as Helen's relationship with Peter. Equally, Delaney suggests the Boy still wants to be out partying, rather than settling down, suggesting he may not be ready for marriage. Finally, the reference to Othello highlights not only the self conscious nature of the Boy's attitude to his colour and, therefore, this mixed race relationship, but also the fact that Desdemona is killed by Othello in Shakespeare's play, does not bode well for Jo's future with him!
  • Question 7

In the exam, it is important to explore characters in relation to the context in which Delaney was writing.

 

Select all of the explanations below that show the character of Peter being linked to context.

CORRECT ANSWER
Delaney employs the character of Peter to show the social inequality that existed in the 1950's. Peter reveals his house has "twelve swimming pools", which is a stark contrast to the poverty which Jo is left living in
Delaney was critical of the misogyny she saw in 1950's society and literature and presents the character of Peter as an unlikable character when he refers to the women he has had relationships with as numbers - "number thirty-eight. A charming little thing"
Delaney shows how Peter is judgemental of working class society in his derogatory comment "I dragged you out of the gutter once", conveying the prejudice of working class society Delaney wanted to depict through her use of a new kind of "kitchen sink" drama that reflected the real lives of working class families
EDDIE SAYS
There are three that link to context here. The selected explanations identify an aspect of character and explain how this reflects something about context, in the same sentence. Making these kind of direct links between character and context will earn you lots of marks from the examiner! The unmarked explanations above offer a relevant analysis, but they don't then link this to context. For example, the explanation about Peter being homophobic could've been improved by exploring how Delaney reflected the prejudice towards homosexuality during the 1950's.
  • Question 8

Evaluate to what extent Jo is presented as a hopeful character.

 

Match the quotations below to what Delaney is showing us about Jo's character.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I'm not planning big plans for t...
Delaney presents Jo as sceptical ...
"I can do anything when I set my ...
Delaney shows Jo as determined to...
"Do you know, for the first time ...
Delaney shows that Jo feels most ...
"I hope they bloom. Always before...
The symbolism of Jo's bulbs is us...
"They're dead. It makes you think...
Delaney's symbolism of Jo's bulbs...
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one and one with a complex answer. If we analyse Jo's character, on the one hand, we can say that Delaney presents her as hopeful for her future. In particular, she wants her mother to see her determination to achieve more than she did. However, at other times we see her cautious about hoping for too much. The bulbs might symbolise her beginning aspirations, but finding them dead might suggest that Jo will repeat the cycle of neglect shown by her mother.
  • Question 9

It is now time to have a go at a mini essay question.

 

In the exam, you might be asked to write about how a writer presents a particular character in the play.

 

You will need to use quotations to support each of your points and should link your points about a character to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting this character.

 

Task: Explore how Geof is presented in 'A Taste of Honey'.

 

Try to write 3 paragraphs.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: Geof is employed by Delaney to subvert the gender stereotypes of the 1950's society she was writing about. At this time, traditional gender roles were defined as stay at home mothers and bread-winner fathers. Geof is described by Jo as like a "wonderful wife", highlighting how as a man he possesses traditional female characteristics. Indeed we see his ability to be an emotional support to Jo and offer the reliability that her other relationships have failed to do when he tells Jo "someone's got to look after you." Delaney's focus on Geof's domestic action in the stage directions when he "dances in with a mop and bucket" is a very physical comment on how he is different from the traditional male figure expected during the 1950's. Because he doesn't fit the traditional role and yet is the most supportive of Jo, Delaney challenges the 1950's assumptions of the traditional family unit, suggesting that traditional gender roles are not necessarily the best.
  • Question 10

Now try this mini essay task...

 

In the exam, you might be asked to write about how a writer presents a particular character in the play.

 

You will need to use quotations to support each of your points and should link your points about a character to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

For the highest marks you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting this character.

 

The following question is worded to encourage you to show evaluation - try to write 3 paragraphs and then a concluding paragraph where you write an evaluative summary to answer the 'To what extent...?' part. Here you should give your personal response!

 

Task: To what extent is Helen presented as an uncaring and irresponsible mother?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look like this: Delaney briefly shows another side to Helen at the end of the play, when we see her return to 'look after' Jo. In this scene, her concern for Jo in her late pregnancy is seen in her focus on Jo's well-being, such as eating "proper food" and going "into hospital" to have the baby. However, at the same time, we see her dismiss Geof in an aggressive and insulting manner ("How disgusting!"), even when it is clear that he is the best support for Jo. Helen clearly can't get past her prejudice of Geof, very typical of 1950's society attitude to homosexuality, even when her daughter needs him. This leaves the audience questioning whether Helen can care for and support Jo. Delaney's focus on the domestic action in the final scene offers a clear juxtaposition of Helen, who forgets "how we used to light this thing" and Geof who will "fix it", highlighting actually that Helen is still not able to look after Jo, the way in which Geof is able to. Delaney challenges the 1950's gender stereotype here, suggesting that it is not necessarily women who are most suited to parental responsibility.
Preview ---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.