BLOOD BROTHERS: NOTES FOR REVISION
Characters and their relationships within ‘Blood Brothers’
There are two main character relationships within the text where we can note a contrast between two characters:
a)the immediate bond between Mickey and Eddie, and the notable differences between their separate upbringings.
b) the turbulent relationship of Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons, and here you can compare and contrast two very different characters.
Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons
A large part of the tension throughout the text hangs on the superstition that Mrs Lyons uses to trap Mrs Johnstone into silence; that should Mickey and Eddie discover their brotherhood, they will both die.
Throughout the play we see the huge contrast between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone. At the beginning of the play, the Narrator describes Mrs Johnstone as ‘the mother, so cruel’ – but is this what we are led to think of Mrs Johnstone?
For instance, how do we react to the scene where Mrs Johnstone allows the boys to go to the cinema to watch the ‘Swedish Au Pairs’ film? We know that Mrs Lyons would not be as liberal. We see that Mrs Johnstone has a better understanding and acceptance of the fact that young boys will be sexually curious and she does not try to suppress their curiosity.
We see her as down-to-earth and the more approachable mother – she of course wins instant credibility with her two sons. This moment is also an example that indicates that happiness during upbringing is not assured by social status or wealth.
Rather than viewing Mrs Johnstone as a cruel character, we tend to sympathise with her dilemma. We see her handle her house full of children with endless patience and tenderness. Despite being trapped by her social position and her lack of funds, she is down-to-earth and does not see money as the answer to all of her problems. We see her refuse money from the desperate Mrs Lyons:
MRS LYONS: Thousands… I’m talking about thousands if you want it, and...