A Taste of Honey: genre

A Taste of Honey: genre

Genre and Sub-genre

  • A Taste of Honey is a play in the ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’ sub-genre, primarily known for its realistic portrayal of working-class life.
  • Its elements of social realism set it apart. It focuses on societal issues of the 1950s like class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
  • Though it is a social realism play, it also pushed boundaries by incorporating elements of the Absurd Theater genre, doing so through elements of non-reality such as the ambiguous ending.

Balance of Comedy and Tragedy

  • The play is known for its mixing of comedy and tragedy, creating balance between moments of humour and serious social commentary.

Setting, Language, and Characters

  • The drama’s setting, language and characters are all reflective of the working-class reality of the North of England and the urban landscape post World War II.

Structure and Form

  • It is also marked by its distinct approach to form - its plot does not follow a traditional structure. Instead, it disjointedly represents realities of life not usually depicted on stage.

Use of Symbolism and Dramatic Devices

  • Writer Shelagh Delaney used symbolism and other dramatic devices in the play, indicative of its roots in modernist drama. For example, the recurring motifs of darkness and the bear reflect Helen’s and Jo’s fears respectively.

Gender Roles and Family Structures

  • Also noteworthy is the play’s subversion of traditional gender roles and family structures, a controversial choice during the time it was written and performed.