Stereotypes in Our Day Out
Can Willy Russell be accused of using stereotypes as a means of
putting his opinions forward?
Throughout the play; ‘Our Day Out’, written by Willy Russell, there is
a constant use of stereotypes portrayed in the characters. Stereotypes
are standardised characters or a fixed idea of something. Willy
Russell used stereotyping as an effective way of putting his opinions
forward because he could develop his initial ideas for characters to
raise awareness of what Liverpool was like in the 1970s. In my opinion
Willy Russell wanted to show the general life of many children in
Liverpool in the 1970s and also to show that stereotypes create false
views of certain people and are harmful in general.
In the text, the main characters are children and teachers in 1970S
Liverpool. Teachers are often stereotyped anyway; people presume that
they are strict and disliked or the opposite. This contrast is shown
with the two characters Mr Briggs, who is rather strict and Mrs Kay
who is not. In the play Mr Briggs is often shouting at the children or
telling them off: “Never mind what for, just do what you’re told,
lad.” This emphasises the point that he is stern. There are no points
in the text where Mrs Kay has this attitude directly towards the
The children in the play are also stereotyped because they live in a
rough area and don’t have many opportunities- because of the fact that
they live in Liverpool. In the play the children swear and steal,
suggesting that they are somewhat deprived; they break the law and are
impolite as they don’t know any better and have been brought up in a
way which it is natural to do so. They are underprivileged as when
they encounter animals at the zoo they are thrilled. “They’re great,
aren’t they?” The child, Ronson, seems to feel honoured at holding a
rabbit suggesting that the children don’t get many opportunities like
this. Therefore Willy Russell can be accused of using Stereotypes to
put his opinions forward because he makes his characters over
exaggerated and in a way slightly unrealistic.
In the play there is a trip to Wales and the coach load of children
stop at a café on the way. The shopkeepers in Wales are also
stereotyped, and prove that children and Liverpool are stereotyped
because when the shopkeeper sees the children she closes the shop. “I
only ever did it once, take a Liverpool coach load. I tell you not one
word of a lie Miss Powell, they’d rob your eyes if you wasn’t
lookin’.” This suggests that she not only presumes that they steal
because they are children but also because they come from Liverpool.
This emphasises the point that Willy Russell does use stereotypes as a
means of putting his opinions forward as he shows it not only through
characters but through characters opinions of other characters.
Willy Russell not only shows other characters’ opinions of Liverpool
children but he also proves the point that they steal...