A Taste of Honey: structure

A Taste of Honey: structure

Structure of “A Taste of Honey”

  • A Taste of Honey” is a two-act play, with each act divided into scenes. Having a clear grasp of this structure allows for a deeper understanding of character growth and progression of principal and secondary storylines.
  • The first act introduces the main characters and lays the foundation for the pivotal conflicts of the play. It offers a view into the interplay between Jo and Helen, as well as a glimpse into Jo’s relationship with a sailor.
  • Act two propels the storyline at a rapid pace, creating a stark contrast with the initial scenes of domestic life.
  • Across both acts, Delaney uses real-time scenes, where actions on the stage mirror actions in real life, lending immediacy and realism to the play.

Timeline and Narrative Devices

  • The playwright, Shelagh Delaney, uses a combination of time jumps and flashbacks. This non-linear timeline allows exploration of characters’ pasts and futures, which would be less feasible with a linear narrative.
  • The end of the play leaves Jo’s future uncertain, thereby fostering opportunities for varied interpretation, analysis and deeper understanding of her character.

Central Relationship and Narrative Arc

  • The relationship between Jo and Helen serves as the cornerstone of the narrative structure. The first act shows their relationship deteriorating, while the second act portrays an improvement, orchestrating a particularly dramatic arc.

Blending of Tones

  • The play deftly weaves humourous and tragic elements, reflecting the vagaries of real life. Delaney’s effective structuring ensures a harmonious balance between these tones, thereby augmenting her play’s realism and relatability.

Genre and Theme

  • A Taste of Honey” falls under the category of kitchen sink drama – a genre known to depict the ordinary realities of working-class life. Recognising this genre paves the way for understanding the play’s overall structure and themes.
  • The episodic structure employed by Delaney allows for the exploration of a variety of subjects and themes such as care, neglect, independence, dependence, race, and love.