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Russell: Blood Brothers

13. Act 2 – "You shall not take my locket!" (pp. 50-56)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we continue reading through Act 2, from the moment that Sammy runs off being chased by the police to the moment that Edward and Mickey are chastised by Mrs Johnstone for trying to see a dirty film at the cinema. In particular, we think about: (i) the teacher as an authority figure, and the various other authority figures we have seen in the play so far; (ii) the importance of Edward's locket; (iii) the extent to which both Edward and Mickey defy authority; (iv) the extent to which Edward and Mickey might be seen as mirror images of one another; and (v) the character of the Narrator and the concept of the 'dead hand of the past'.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Willy Russell's Blood Brothers. The first six modules serve as an introduction to play, exploring the play's historical context, the extent to which it is a 'Brechtian' play, the fact that we are told in the very first scene what will happen at the end, and the themes of superstition, nature and nurture, and destiny and fate. In the following nine modules, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes, language, symbolism, and more.

Note: We use the Methuen Drama version of the play (ed. Jim Mulligan). Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in the page numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2022, January 29). Russell: Blood Brothers - Act 2 – "You shall not take my locket!" (pp. 50-56) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Russell: Blood Brothers – Act 2 – "You shall not take my locket!" (pp. 50-56)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Jan 2022,

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