Blood Brothers: Exam Tips and Revision

Key Information:

The Blood Brothers exam is the first part of your English Literature Paper 2. You will be given a choice of questions, and only need to answer one. (Click here for an example paper) Unlike literature paper one, there will be no extract to use as a starting point

The question is worth 30 marks, with an extra four marks given for accuracy of spelling punctuation and grammar. This is roughly 1/3 of the marks for the entire paper, so 45 minutes would be a good amount of time to spend on this question.

The exam questions could be about characters, themes or a combination of both. Have a look through these examples:

  1. How does Rusell present ideas about social class?
  2. How does Russell use the characters of Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons in Blood Brothers to explore ideas about class?
  3. How does Russell present the Mrs Johnstone as a significant character?

You can from these examples that the questions can be worded differently and can focus on characters, themes or a combination. It’s worth remember though, that characters and themes are interlinked. For instance, you could focus totally on Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons for question 1, even if they are not mentioned in the question. Or, you could focus on Edward and Mickey. The key thing is to bring your own knowledge to the question and answer it in an interesting way.

Revision:

You need to have a good knowledge of the following themes and charcaters:

Themes:

  • Social Class and money.
  • Fate and Superstition
  • Childhood and Growing up
  • Friendship
  • Identity and Nature vs. Nurture.
  • Gender

Characters:

  • Mrs Johnstone
  • Mrs Lyons
  • Edward
  • Mickey
  • The Narrator
  • Sammy
  • Linda
  • Mr Lyons (and Mrs Lyons)

When revising, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time, and try to tackle areas you may not feel to comfortable with.

There are lots of different ways to revise, but whatever you do, you should be aiming to practise answering essay questions in timed conditions.

Let’s say you wanted to revise the characters of Edward and Mickey. I would start by going over your notes, or using the internet to find out a few key things:

  • What parts of the play do the appear in?
  • What do they do / say?
  • Why are they important? What themes do they link to?
  • What key quotes could I remember?
  • What is Russell using these characters to tell me?

When finding this information, you could record it in your book, or using flash cards, or a mind map. Then, imagine you were preparing an essay on these two characters. Try devising a specific exam question and adapting the information you have gathered into an essay plan. (Download an blood-brothers-generic-essay-plan-class)

10 essays I could revise / plan / attempt:

  1. How does Russell use Edward and Mickey to present ideas about social class?
  2. How does Russell use the Narrator and other characters to explore ideas about fate and superstition?
  3. How does Russell use different characters to explore ideas about gender?
  4. How does Russell use the characters of Mr and Mrs Lyons to present ideas about social class?
  5. How does Russell use Mickey and Edward to explore ideas about identity?
  6. How does Russell present ideas about childhood and growing up in Blood Brothers?
  7. How does Russell present the importance of power and money in Blood Brothers?
  8. How does Russell use the characters of Mickey and Sammy to present ideas about crime?
  9. How does Russell use the characters of Linda and Mrs Johnstone to present ideas about gender?
  10. How does Russell use the characters of Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons to explore ideas about family?

Useful Links and Resources:

 

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