Compare The Ways That Mr Briggs And Mrs Kay Are Presented In 'our Day Out'. With Whom Does Willy Russell Intend Us To Sympathise?

1217 words - 5 pages

Our Day out by Willie Russell is an energetic and humorous play, about a school trip to Conwy castle. The 'progress class', a class for illiterate children, are on a trip to Wales where the liberal Mrs Kay and the strict Mr Briggs have completely different ideas about the day should be organised.Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs have two distinct personalities that clash frequently throughout the play and Willie Russell presents both in an interesting and comical way in his drama. Mrs Kay is a benevolent and fun teacher who treats the children as if they were her own. 'She always reminds me of a mother hen rather than a teacher'. Mr Briggs says this and it sums up exactly what Mrs Kay is like and her attitude to the children.Her aim on the school trip is for everyone to have fun with the only rule being '...think of yourselves but also think of others'. She genuinely cares for the children and wants them to have an enjoyable day out to assuage the social injustice that they find themselves up against. Mr Briggs' ideology of the children is contrary to Mrs Kay's. Mr Briggs is a strict, intolerant and old-fashioned teacher who is has firm standards and is harsh towards the students. 'Stop! Slater, walk...walk! You, boy...come here. Now stop. All of you...stop!' Mr Briggs is shouting as the children get off the coach but Mrs Kay casually walks past and pours out some coffee.At the zoo, Mr Briggs lightens up a little and we get to see more of the soft and loving side that he conceals in favour of the harsh and angry one. He is enjoying himself when he explains about all of the different animal types to the children, and in the café with Mrs Kay, he even offers to do a small presentation at school with some slides. 'I didn't think the kids who came to you would be too interested in animals'. He is pleasantly surprised with the interest of the children in a topic that he holds close to this heart. However, all the reader's hopes of Mr Briggs turning 'nice' are dashed when the children attempt to steal the animals and he returns with vengeance back to the old Mr Briggs, and, with a 'face of thunder', shouts at the children again.Mrs Kay understands that a lot of the children come from a deprived background and sympathises with their predicament. She shows this when she chooses to go on the side of the Progress Class when they attempt to steal some animals from the zoo. 'Well I'd suggest that if you want the chaos to stop then you should stop seeing it as chaos...It's too late for them. Most of them were rejects the day they were born...can't we try and give them a good day out...' She realises that it was probably the closest that they would ever get to an animal and many were just over-excited at the prospect of having something that they would never have.Mr Briggs' encounter with Carol Chandler is a defining moment of the play because when Carol is on the top of the cliff we can see that Mr Briggs does not know what it is like to be Carol and...

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