She can’t quite believe it’s true that it has actually happened to her sons, the prophecy of Mrs Lyons come to life or death as the case may be. As the audience sees the distraught Mrs Johnstone all their sympathy and their own sadness pour into her character but what about the absent mother? She who has just lost a child also and yet she receives nothing no let up from the writer from her bad image even in great sadness. It seems clear to me that these two opposing characters are the classics good and evil, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Superman and Lex Luther.
Its very clean cut we don’t really see any of Mrs Lyons’ good side I suspect this is because of Willy Russell’s background that he is brutal with Mrs Lyons. He came from a working class family in Whiston near Liverpool and left school at fifteen and led a life very much like Mickey’s. This makes him biased towards the lower classes and and their situation. Whilst rensenting the upper classes, it was probably what he was taught as he grew up and also how he felt at going through life trying hard and yet failing whilst others more privilaged just winged it to the top.
So it is pretty obvious that this play is going to be written in support of Mrs Johnstone’s case. We see the two mothers representing the opposite ends of this scale that is social class. They epitimize their own place on the social ladder. Mrs Johnstone struggling to keep her head above ground with eight children and no job until Mrs Lyons comes along, a lady of leisure rich husband, nice house in fact “it’s a pity its so big” and offers her cleaning work. Some of these things stem from money that much is pretty obvious but the image that each of them gives comes from many factors like accent.
Mrs Johnstone has, we can tell from the text a very strong Liverpudlian accent “Ah yeh… yeh. Ey it’s weird though” that Mrs Lyons doesn’t at all. She speaks with precision and ‘class’ not a mistake to be heard perhaps an exageration by the writter to emphasize the difference using the language. Mrs Lyons accent probably came from her upbringing and decent education which is another thing that set the two women apart because as we see Mrs Johnstone isn’t the brightest women in the world the fact that she had eight children says that much.
Where as Mrs Lyons seems to be fairly well educated, we see her argue her way out of tight spots like when her husband gets suspicious when she snaps a Mrs Johnstone for wanting to hold the baby, he says “don’t be hard on the woman” but Mrs Lyons comes back saying that she dosen’t want the baby to catch anything as if to imply that her husband cares for their child less than her and then guilt trips him further by looking as if “she is about to cry” in the stage directions.
This is meditated, she knows what she is doing and it shows clear inteligence. Mrs Johnstone could probably make more use out of Mrs Lyons education in the work place than she ever would being a house wife and this clear advantage and the way it is put across to look so unfair allow Mrs Johnstone to be viewed as the clear underdog and everyone loves an underdog. I think that Mrs Lyons is made out to be the villain of this tale but really its just the writer manipulating the audiences emotions.
It could probably easily be turned around and Mrs Lyons be made the hero. Willy Russell presents the two mothers as total opposties in class but they do share one thing their mutual love of Eddie. He portrays Mrs Johnstone in a very favourable light and Mrs Lyons in a negative one. This has a huge effect on the way the audience relate to and feel about the two different charaters. Positive or negative it is all engineered by the writer.