“A Taste of Honey” is set in the city of Salford . Shelagh Delany was born in 1939 and was seventeen when she began to write the novel .The reason she wrote this is because people had bad ideas about people from the north but in actual fact they are alive and cynical “A Taste of Honey” was accepted by loan littlewood they both believed that plays should be about ordinary people. The play came to the east end of London in May 1958 going to the west end early the following year.
This play has kitchen sink realism in it. This is when things on the theatre were based on social people with ordinary lives. These were set in the north of England based in council houses and pubs . An example of this is “shameless” but it’s not a perfect example although it has got elements of realism in it.
My first impressions is that Helen is not a very good mother and she realise on Jo to do stuff for her
“Children owe their parents this little attention”
This shows that Helen relies in Jo to do things because Helen isn’t capable. Also I get the impression that Helen can be an alcoholic at times and she only cares for drink and men. Helen and Jo aren’t like mother and daughter because they call each other by their first names and this isn’t a typical mother and daughter relationship they are more like friends.
In act one scene one the stage directions introduces Helen as a semi-whore .This means her attitude towards men is she uses them and gets money and then moves on . In this scene Helen is talking to Jo when peter enters .Peter and Helen have been together before because Peter says:
“I found it do you think you could escape me dear?”
This is suggesting that they have been together before because peter calls Helen “dear” Peter and Helen start arguing because Peter’s just turned up and doesn’t really care about what people think about him. In act one Peter asks Helen to marry him but not in a very romantic way all he says is:
“I am offering to marry you, dear.
Helen can’t believe what he has just said and she says:
“Listen love I am old enough to be your mother”
She thinks that she is too old for peter but when she thinks about Peter’s wealth and how much money he has got her re thinks. She is thinking of a better life and better house and being able to pay the rent because her biggest thoughts at the start of the play is the rent .Although Helen really thinking about love and she doesn’t care who it is and what kind of man she has .
Helen has a role as a mother but she doesn’t really follow it that much she is more interested in money and men and that. In this part of the play she takes a bit of interest in Jo because she says:
“I didn’t realise I had such a talented daughter, look at that its good isn’t it.
Helen hasn’t realised since Jo was born that Jo is good at drawing so this proves that she doesn’t take a lot of notice. At this point in the play Helen and Jo are being really nice to each other .Jo feels at this point that her mother is either changing or has done something . I think it’s because Helen feels guilty about moving house and the place isn’t nice it’s only a smelly old and dirty flat.
From the audience point of view isn’t not a surprise that Jo falls in love with the first man she meets .Jo seems very intelligent at first but it seems she has learnt nothing from her mother mistakes. The audience point is that Helens relationship with peter is a mess because all Helen is interested in is money men and sex. Although Jo proposal is genuine and Jo admits :
“I don’t know why I love you I just do”
She cannot explain why she loves him it’s probably because it’s the first time she has been given love and affection. The sailor’s part in the play is very brief the sailor gets her pregnant and leaves. It’s a cycle all the time with Jo and Helen.
Jo and Geoff s relationship is a very complicated one Jo is pregnant and Geoff is looking after her all the way through the difficult parts of her pregnancy. The audience thinks that Geoff likes Helen the reason for this is Geoff says
“I’ve got bloody heart-ache”
This suggests that Geoff likes Jo. Jo doesn’t see that Geoff likes her. There are also elements that Geoff is a homosexual because Jo says “it wasn’t a man was it”.
This suggests that she is taking the Mickey out of Geoff. Although Jo and Geoff still respects Jo and loves her. After Jo said this there relationship is still very strong. As this scene continues Geoff flirts with Jo through out it she is very nice to Geoff. The audience thinks that Jo likes Geoff as a best mate someone one to love and be affectionate with because her mother wasn’t affectionate with her.
Jo is pregnant at very young age and she doesn’t no how to cope with the pregnancy so she has Geoff to keep her company all the way through the difficult stages. Jo at times can seem to be very stressed out this is probably because she has her pregnancy to cop with as well as herself and her house. Jo can get very stressed out sometimes we know this when she says
“I want to know why you do it tell me or get out”.
This shows that sometimes she can get much stressed out and think that the world revolves around her. As well she thinks that she is the only teenager in this situation but she isn’t. Jo has Geoff waiting on her all the time she doesn’t really do stuff for herself. Although the audience thinks that she could do stuff for herself and thinks on her feet. Jo is a very understandable character and has her own views on looking after babies and also her own views on abortion. Jo is very grown up for her age.
Helen returns at the end of act two and just treats the place likes it’s hers and pretends everything’s ok. Also Helen expects Jo to be working and not relaxing for her baby. We know this because Helen says “get up there’s plenty of other girls in your condition who have to work and take care of a family up”
So Helen tries to go back to a mother again but Jo isn’t daft and spots this straight away .Jo doesn’t want her to have anything to do with her or the baby. Helen thinks that Jo is living ff Geoff and Helen and Jo start to argue. They act like they are two little kids having an argument and Helen is really nasty to Jo. After this Helen expects Geoff to go so he just leaves. Helen has a really bad reaction when she finds out the baby is going to be black she finds it horrifying. She says “can you see me wheeling a pram oh my god ill have to have a drink “.
Helen is thinking of herself again and she wants to push the pram round.in the 1940s it was really weird to have people to have black babies but now we have become more cultural. So Helen doesn’t wan t to seem to push the pram anymore because she knows this. Helen wants it to be adopted only thinking of herself and her image again