Social, Cultural, Historical Elements Of A Taste Of Honey

2468 words - 10 pages

Social, Cultural, historical elements of A Taste of Honey

Introduction:

`A Taste of Honey’ highlights many issues which would have been easily
understood for audiences in the 1950s. Many issues are raised in
which the audience can relate to. Delaney’s intention was to make the
play realistic, as therefore it is highly influenced by
Stavislavski’s “kitchen sink” theatre (genre).

When the play was written, society was very different from today.
Issues such as homosexuality which people at this time weren’t really
aware of, therefore it was not accepted. Also status (financial) seems
to play a vital role in your future - i.e.you had to be well educated
to pass your 11+ to go ...view middle of the document...

Also television was
starting to increase in popularity as soaps such as `Coronation
Street’ and `The Groves’ were widely watched, due to their realistic
approach of working class people’s lives in the current society. Too
add to this, just prior to ‘A Taste of Honey’ was John Osbourne’s
‘Look Back In Anger’(1956), which was considered as groundbreaking and
controversial due it dealing with people who didn’t agree or fit in
with society. Therefore, Delaney had lots of inspiration to write
this play and her own life experiences would have contributed to this
(i.e. she failed her 11+ and came from a working class background).
Like Stanislavski, she wanted to highlight to society
(middle-classes/upper classes etc) the realities of life for the
working class in society and the structure she used (`Soap opera’)
would have appealed and attracted to many audiences. Other changes
such as free medical attention for everyone was now available, however
happiness was regarded as having more material possessions than our
friends and neighbours (materialistic).

Homosexuality - There is an insinuation throughout the play that Geof
is gay and that his previous landlady threw him out due to his sexual
activities, and Jo also shows an interest in this:

‘’I’ve always wanted to know about people like you.’’ (page 48)

‘’I bet you’ve never told a woman before.’’

Delaney only hints at this due to the fact that it would be to
‘shocking’ for a homosexual character to be portrayed in a play, as
they were not accepted in society and considered outcasts. This
highlighted the prejudices against homosexuals. At this time, they
were not accepted throughout society and even if you knew you were
gay the discrimination was so high that no-one would dare admit it.
This lead to many problems such as job refusals or loss of jobs and
homosexuals were seen as outcasts of society. Anotexample of
discrimination against Gays in this play is Helen’s attitude towards
Geof, talking to him with little respect and calling him names.
Evidence for this is illustrated in the dialogue:

Helen: ‘’You prefer to stay in this hole with that pansified little
freak.’’ (page 67)

Racism - Jo’s first boyfriend is a black boy called Jimmie. She
doesn’t seem bothered about his race, obviously due to her attraction
to him. However, he is aware of what others might say, as in the
1950s black people were not very common in England like today. This is
indicated in Act 1, scene 2:

Boy: ‘’She hasn’t seen me.’’ (page 23)

Jo: ‘’And when she does?’’

Boy: ‘’She’ll see a coloured boy.’’

However, their is the issue of how ‘boy’ is portrayed in the play, as
it eventually turns out that he was only after Jo for sex. Considering
the play has feminist approach, Peter too is portrayed as rather
selfish, only wanting Helen to occupy him, and he talks about Helen in
a disparaging tone towards the end of the play. Therefore, two out of
the three male...

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