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5. Nature and Nurture
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the play's exploration of nature and nurture, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which the characters in Blood Brothers are trapped by their upbringing; (ii) the importance of education; (iii) the importance of one's peer group and other social influences; (iv) the contrast in the play between the presence of the mothers and the absence of the fathers; (v) the similarities between the two mothers, not least in the extent to which they love their children; (vi) the similarities between the two brothers, including their insecurities, their lack of support network, and their inability to be either independent or dependent; and (vii) the similarities between the brothers and the mothers.
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
McRae, J. (2022, January 29). Russell: Blood Brothers - Nature and Nurture [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/russell-blood-brothers/nature-and-nurture
McRae, J. "Russell: Blood Brothers – Nature and Nurture." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Jan 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/russell-blood-brothers/nature-and-nurture