A Taste of Honey: social context

A Taste of Honey: social context

“A Taste of Honey” Overview

  • “A Taste of Honey” is a play written by Shelagh Delaney in 1958. It is set in post-war Britain, which greatly influenced the social context of the narrative.
  • The play is a reflection of the working-class society of Salford, Manchester, during the 1950s, primarily portraying poverty and the yearning for a better life.

Major Themes

  • The play raises issues related to social class, ethnic minorities, and gender, which were of high relevance in the 1950s and remain significant today.
  • Delaney deftly exposes the effects of living in a society where women must be self-sufficient, yet are not given the opportunities to flourish professionally.

Social Issues

  • Teenage pregnancy, which is a significant aspect of the plot, was a social taboo during the time the play is set. This reflects societal attitudes towards sexuality and morality during the 1950s.
  • “A Taste of Honey” also explores the hardships faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the mid-20th century. The character, Geoffrey, is a homosexual at a time when homosexuality was criminalised in Britain.

Racial Tensions & Class Struggles

  • The play confronts racial tensions prevalent during the post-war period. The character of Jimmy, a black sailor who impregnates Jo, illustrates the racial discrimination prevalent in society.
  • The attitudes of the characters towards work, education, and ambition provide insights into the limits and aspirations of the working-class during this era.

Artistic Genre & Family Dynamics

  • “A Taste of Honey” is also considered a Kitchen Sink drama of the British New Way movement, which aimed to depict the harsh realities of working-class life.
  • Family dynamics is another critical aspect portrayed in the play. The strained relationship between Jo and her mother, Helen, displays the lack of traditional family structures in working-class society.