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A script written for television by Willy Russell In my essay I will write about the three most important scenes in the script. The story (set in the 1980’s) about a group of friends who fail a test of loyalty. They talk of community spirit and yet they can’t respect another’s decision. Their idea of community spirit is making and standing by one decision and not taking into account that not everyone wants that choice. The majority of the street act as sheep, following and not making decisions for themselves.
This is shown when they follow Eddie’s decision to paint their houses yellow to show support for the local football team ‘Northside United’. Danny decides that he does not want to paint his house yellow! Eddie (who started the idea) tries to bully Danny into doing it, but he refuses and Eddie disowns him as a friend. Danny’s wife Susan and son Michael move out when he refuses to paint the house because Susan is embarrassed about his decision over the house. She eventually tricks Danny into leaving the house while it is painted yellow by other members of the street.
Danny, who is angry and devastated that his family and friends care more about being on television that his feelings, leaves his house, the street, his wife and his son and walks away. The play is both dramatic and sad in many ways. The tension mounts as the reader goes on to discover what each character is like, and can almost predict the main events in the script -but then there’s a twist. The first dramatic scene is when Susan is first asking Danny to get on with painting their houses yellow.
He asks her, if no one else was painting his or her houses yellow would she want it yellow? Her answer is no, she tells him that she doesn’t even like yellow. He then tells her that he won’t be painting the house. Susan tells him that it’s not his decision, the street has decided. This is important because it shows that the majority rules. Susan believes that if the ‘street’ wants the houses to be yellow then they should paint them yellow. She then goes on to say ‘don’t you support the team?
‘ and Danny replies that he does, but painting his house yellow is not the way he does it. The second most dramatic scene is where Danny decides that he will paint the house when his son Michael comes home crying because his friends wont play with him. He picks up some paint tins and brushes and heads for the door, but then there is a note pushed through the letterbox. It’s from Eddie and is threatening him to paint the house. When he opens the door Eddie and the others and stood outside. Danny pours the paint down the drain and then throws the empty can at Eddie.
Just as he was about to ‘give in’ and paint the house he sees that Eddie wont stop until he gets what he wants and that makes Danny all the more determined not to be bullied into painting the house. Susan and Michael move out because Susan says that she is ashamed of Danny and their house. This scene is important because it tells us that Danny realizes that the other residents are ‘bullying’ him. If they cant get what they want then they will force him into it, if they can. The final most dramatic scene is where Danny receives a phone call saying that Michael was in hospital and he rushes out.
He begs a friend to take him to the hospital but his friend says no because he knows that Michael isn’t really in hospital. Danny soon finds out that Michael is not in hospital but painting the house yellow with the rest of the street. Danny shouts at them, and knocks over the ladders. He asks them how far they will go just to get on television? Although he doesn’t say it, this line is like saying “is this worth sacrificing a friend”. Its important because it shows that Eddie and the others don’t really care about Danny and don’t really believe in the community spirit they keep talking about.
Later on he locks the doors of the house and settles down to read the paper when Susan knocks at the door. She says that she wants to talk; she misses him and wants to move back in. He opens the door and lets her in before locking it again. Whilst they are talking Susan opens the door with her hand behind her back and Eddie and the lads come in. The stop Danny from getting outside whilst the house is finished painting. When it’s done, they let him go, he looks at the house, then at Eddie, Susan and the rest of his neighbors and walks away.
Danny decides that there is nothing he can do, if this is what the people are truly like, then he doesn’t want to be there. He doesn’t shout or fight, he simply walks away as though tired of fighting and arguing because he knows that he can change nothing. Terraces is an important play, is serves as entertainment but also has a moral to the story. Just because the majority thinks something is right, it doesn’t mean that your own opinion doesn’t matter because it isn’t the same. This is relevant to everyday life because choices and decisions are made and the majority usually makes the final choice.