A Study of How The Plot Relates to The Writer's Past and His Daily Life

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2402 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 2402|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Writers are influenced by the historical times in which they write because probably everyday of their lives their actions and what they say is influenced by the time within which they live. Communicating with other people changes the way they speak, the way they use their language, their accents and a whole lot of other variables could be considered. The 70s influences Willy Russell in his writing, the way the characters speak and the things which are going on and the style of various things such as the fair and the shop also you can tell this because of the economic slump which occurred in the early 70s.

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The economic slump in the 70s was due to a number of reasons, one of the reasons for the industry of Britain to decline was that other countries could be competitive by providing new technology and very competitive prices because they could cut costs on the labour they had and materials. This made some of the main industries in Britain go into great financial difficulty and they had get close down or lower the work force. This created a loss in jobs and lots of unemployment causing poverty as so many people were unemployed. Urban decay was a result of poverty; people could not afford decent property or they had to move into council homes. This created class differences people who had money and had decent homes and people with little money and poor homes or ones which they didn´t even own.

Willy Russell was inspired to write Our Day Out by his own experiences when he was a teacher at a comprehensive school. The experiences that lead him to write Our Day Out was that while teaching he accompanied the teacher of a remedial department on a trip to Conway Castle and a Zoo. At the last minute a deputy head of disciplinarian behaviour also joined the party creating a potential recipe for disaster. During the course of the day the deputy head relaxed and enjoyed himself, only to revert to his usual self at the end of the day. In doing so, he destroyed all the positive achievements of the day.

This play is about a progress class which go on a trip for the first time, Mrs Kay cares for the children a great deal and just wants them to have fun as long as they don´t hurt anyone or themselves. The deputy head who joins the trip unexpectedly changes this and believes they should be quiet and not have so much fun I order to learn. As the day goes on the children get up to all sorts of mischief including stealing, eventually the deputy head finds out about this and his attitude towards the kids deteriorate further. Mr Briggs just wants to get them back to school as soon as possible. When put into a situation however with one of the children threatening to jump from a cliff he loosens up and takes the class to the fair where they have a great time. However at the end of the day Mr Briggs takes the negatives of him being fun and happy and exposes them to the light.

At the start of the play you learn a bit about the children and the type of lives that they live. They are living in the inner city of Liverpool, which comes across as a poor area and where council homes are situated. The first character introduced to us is Carol, a younger girl who explains what the progress class is and that they are going on a trip. She seems to lack intelligence and it doesn´t seem as if she is taught much at school. She also seems to have a very strong accent.

Here we learn that people in the Progress Class cannot even read or write, this shows us how deprived these children are and how they don´t even get much of a chance to learn, even the head teacher has no will to get them a decent education.

The way Carol relates to Les seems like she has seen him a lot, Mrs Kay seems to be like Carols mother. Reilly and Digga seem to know Mrs Kay well and seem comfortable with her, she also seems to knows them quite well and knows when to trust them and when to not to. Mrs Kay seems to know all of the children quite well and seems to get on well with two of the other teachers Susan and Colin. All of them apart from Mrs Kay seem to have an accent the teachers accents are not as strong as the children´s accents however.

When we are introduced to Mr Briggs and his relationship with Mrs Kay it seems as though he doesn´t like her at all although Mrs Kay proceeds in being friendly. She comes across as a laid back, caring and friendly woman. Mr Briggs seems arrogant and passionate about being professional. Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs are two extremes in this one is laid back and caring and the other is strict and sees the children there to be taught and not there to have fun.

When the coach arrives the driver sets some rules of his own before the children get on.

The driver seems quite harsh and takes extreme measures, Mrs Kay doesn´t have the time to check all the children for sweets and lemonade so she speaks with the driver which is quite an amusing talk.

Mrs Kay says a number of other things in order to make Ronnie feel guilty and wrongful. She says how they don´t even get to eat chocolate they look at it in the shop windows and wish they could have it. When the driver gets back on the coach the kids hide their chocolate and lemonade and Ronnie, to make himself feel more comfortable, gives one of the kids some money to go and get some sweets for all of them to share. On the coach journey social disadvantage is shown in many times in the conversations the people have. One instance is where Carol and Mrs Kay are speaking she asks if she would ever be able to live a better lifestyle.

Reilly is also very unfortunate we learn that his mother died ten years ago and that Reilly hasn´t even seen his father in two years we don´t learn about where he is staying or who he is living with. Andrews doesn´t have a very good home life either he has been smoking for five years and his parents know about it. His mother and father don´t live together and his mother is a prostitute.

Mr Briggs seems quite upset about these children and their lives which they live. He tells Andrews to try and stop smoking and he doesn´t seem to understand at first what the children are telling him, it takes him a while to realise how poor they are. The kind of language between the teachers and the children also shows the social disadvantage, the children have a very limited vocabulary and strong accents whereas the teachers don´t have very strong accents.

In the shop the kids disagree with the prices of the sweets and steal because they can´t afford it and the shopkeepers think they are getting loads of money to find out later that they didn´t get anything. This shows that they steal often as they don´t have much money and are quite experienced at it. Some of them might even be encouraged by their own parents to steal. On the coach Linda expects to marry someone with a reasonable income and someone who treats women with decency, Jackie doesn´t see this as a reality.

They don´t even know simple animals like a bear. They obviously don´t have much interaction with animals and decide to take some with them, they steal all sorts of small animals, but the zookeeper is quick enough to get to them in time to tell Mr Briggs. Initially when they were at the zoo Mr Briggs was quite pleased with the children as they seemed interested in the animals and were learning new things. Each scene develops Willy Russell´s concerns by making the situations increasingly severe each time and how they don´t seem to see anything wrong with what they are doing. Also the way they question things for example when Ronson and the others are asking about the bear they seem to be deprived.

At Conwy Castle the children don´t seem interested in the castles history much at all and are just running about screaming and playing, Mr Briggs sees this as chaos and argues with Mrs Kay that it should have been better organised and the kids should be sorted out more. I believe this argument is very significant to the way the kids live and shows Willy Russell´s concerns very well. It´s a shame really isn´t it? We bring them out to a crumbling pile of rocks and mortar and they think they´re in the fields of heaven.

Mrs Kay understands very well how badly the children´s lives are and how there isn´t a chance for them in the world to get a better lifestyle than they have. There´s no point in pretending that a day out to Wales is going to be of some great educational benefit to them. It´s too late for them. Most of these kids were rejects the day they came into the world. We´re not going to solve anything today Mr Briggs. Can´t we just give them a good day out?

Mr Briggs still disagrees with Mrs Kay and tells her so and accuses her of having a bad attitude for a member of the teaching profession, he basically says that he doesn´t even think she should be a teacher. Mrs Kay starts to loose her temper at Mr Briggs persistence.

Well what´s your alternative? Eh? Pretending? Pretending that they´ve got some sort of future ahead of them? Even if you cared for these kids you couldn´t help them to make a future for them. You won´t educate them because nobody wants them educated.

Mr Briggs tries to reason with her but Mrs Kay gets carried away and continues on building on her point she is trying to make to Mr Briggs. She comments on how you were able to teach them how to obey and expect more than the job at the factory but they can´t do that now, because of the decline in traditional industries around that time.

At the beach Carol tells Mrs Kay that she doesn´t want to leave Wales and she doesn´t want to go back home, Mrs Kay tries to explain to her that she can´t stay but she asks why. Mrs Kay tells her it´s a special day, she doesn´t seem to take this information too well and wanders off when Mrs Kay isn´t looking. Reilly persists in trying to flirt with Susan, so she goes and speaks with him and he gets embarrassed. When Mrs Kay realises that Carol is missing she asks Susan and Colin and they haven´t seen her for hours. In the panic as a last resort she asks Mr Briggs who doesn´t seem too impressed or surprised.

The relevance of this little argument is later when on the cliff at first Mr Briggs is really irate and wants to get back to school as soon as possible, then things take a twist.

Mr Briggs goes up on the cliff to look for Carol with success. Mr Briggs starts to tell her off then Carol tells him to stay away from her which shocks Mr Briggs quite a bit. He obviously doesn´t expect a pupil to shout back at him. He does as she wishes and tells her to just come down. She just tells him to go down on his own.

Carol continues to say how he hates her and all of the kids, she seems to realise reality a bit more and knows how to get to Mr Briggs. This scene shows Willy Russells concerns to us through Carol and Mr Briggs how Carol hasn´t got a chance to live somewhere nice where she would like to and how throughout her life because of her poor status her social life would be affected. In this scene Mr Briggs and Carol seem to bond a bit, Carol threatening to jump off the cliff increases the drama quite a bit, it isn´t just about Mr Briggs getting annoyed at little children who are immature anymore. Mr Briggs lightens up after he gets Carol down and he even tells the driver to take them to the fair.

They go to the fair and before they leave to add a bit of comedy after the seriousness at the cliff Ronson asks Mr Briggs if they can go again tommorow. Mr Briggs is influenced by the social environment of the fair, I wouldn´t imagine him to be wearing a cowboy hat anywhere else. When they get back to Liverpool Reilly realises how horrible the place he is living in is and some of the others seem to as well. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun at the fair even Ronny who at the beginning was incredibly weary of the kids getting on the bus with sweets and lemonade. Carols goldfish in the bag is like herself, she is stuck in the inner city of Liverpool and it is almost impossible for her to get out of her lifestyle.

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The concerns of Willy Russell in this play are very much 70s related and I believe that it was probably wrote near the end of the 70s or early 80s. I don´t think that all of Willy Russells concerns are still relevant to today´s life, there aren´t many factory jobs but there are many other jobs which require little qualification. Although this is the case there are still problems of social disadvantage present, people are still split up into classes and if someone wears cheap clothes for example they will get teased at school or people look down on them.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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A Study of How the Plot Relates to the Writer’s Past and His Daily Life. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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