Taste of Honey: From dependence to independence

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Taste of Honey: From dependence to independence 'A Taste of Honey' was written by Shelagh Delaney when she was 18, and published in 1958. Four years later, in 1962, it was turned into a film. It shows life as it really was for many people in and around the slums of Salford, near Manchester, living with the poor housing and lack of opportunity. The characters are genuine; you can really believe in them. Some of the characters were totally different from the usual 'straight-laced' characters that were so common in the kitchen-sink dramas that were around at the time. For instance, a homosexual, a young pregnant unmarried girl, a semi-whore mother and a black sailor all living in the same areas, and some even living in the same houses as each other. This was completely different from the 'safe' plays of the time. There is hope in the play; the characters, especially Jo, are able to overcome their fears and problems and carry on with their lives. The characters in a taste of honey speak like typical working class people in the north of England. There are not many examples of regional dialect, but there are a few, such as when Helen says, 'Eee, there's a terrible draught,' showing that Helen is a resident of Lancashire. The characters drop letters, making them sound more common. There are many examples of this, including Jo saying, 'You packed 'em,' and Helen saying, 'Turn 'em all'. This shows that Helen and Jo are ordinary, common, working class or lower, people. The ancient Greeks believed that a play had to be realistic, and that to be realistic the action of the play should have one setting. The time the play took to act should be equal to the time covered in the plot and that the play should have only one main story. The Greeks called these ideas the 'three unties of time, action and place'. This is different to a taste of honey in that the play, although only having one main plot, has a sub-plot. The main story is the story of Jo, and the sub-plot being Helens story. There are many objects in the play which could contain a hidden meaning, from something a simple as darkness or a light bulb, to deeper things such as an eye patch or children singing. The list is endless. The very first instance of symbolism is the play's title, 'a taste of honey'. A taste is a very small amount for a short period of time. Honey is sweet, and therefore honey represents good. From Jo's point of view, her life is bad.
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