saturday night and sunday morning themes
It is clear that there are differences between Arthur’s two female acquaintances, first Brenda and then Doreen. He complains of the lack of pay, the working conditions and his simple desire for a fun life. Nevertheless, the film attempts to offer the audience a fascinating character type who, despite the on the edge lifestyle, could be perceived as being realistic of the time. It's no exaggeration to say that people at that time could literally quit one job and then start another one straight away. Arthur scowls at this idea as it would be detrimental to his social life; whereas Jack views it only as a positive. During Arthur’s voiceover he makes a comment about Jack, he describes him as too career driven as he appears to take on any task given out by the boss. An example of this would be when Arthur deliberately spills a drink over someone in the pub before knocking into his interfering female neighbours without apology. With regards to the main theme of gender, abortion is viewed vastly different in contemporary society. The first significant contrast between two male characters in the film is presented to the audience when Arthur is seen to be relatively happy to ride home on a pushbike, whereas the film also shows Jack arriving home on his motorbike. The characters in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning are shown as real flesh-and-blood people, warts and all. He is greeted into the pub by Bert and his Aunt with much rapture as an almost hero-like figure, but he then descends quickly into his default womanising character as he is left alone with his future acquaintance Doreen. Got it! Instead he simply dumped Brenda with his Aunt Ada and hoped the problem would go away. During the abortion scene, Aunt Ada is heard to utter the words, “men get away with murder”. He toils away at a dead-end job in the local factory all week, then come the weekend he's off out for a spot of drinking, casual sex, and mindless violence. Arthur's stubborn cynicism derives largely from the feeling that he's being used by his self-appointed social betters. In contrast to Brenda, Doreen appears to be a typical sixties girl who values her relationships and could be described as being from the new generation. You can’t help being one,” Arthur thinks. Made in 1960, it was groundbreaking in both its portrayal of the industrial nightmare of working class factory life, and its unrepentant, cocky anti-hero Arthur Seaton. It would appear that Jack’s character, although clearly troubled by what went on between Arthur and Brenda, is able to move past the events in complete confidence that Brenda is his and that she is completely happy to be with him; despite this not necessarily being the case. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Furthermore, aside from Arthur initially providing a solution to what was deemed as simply a problem, Arthur shows little support for Brenda. During the pub scene, the cinematography of the shots allows the pub to look extremely busy. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Arthur, a twenty two year old machinist, is seen on the surface as a kind man with a good heart, he cares very much for his parents and is polite too to his friend Bert and to most other characters. ( Log Out /  Arthur also goes on to mention a work colleague named Fred, “he’s one of them who knows how to spend his money, like me”. She has a strong personality and, at first, seems reluctant to speak to Arthur until he starts to reveal his charm and wit. Fighting with mothers and wives, landlords and gaffers, coppers, army, government. He simply hates the present system and wants to see it destroyed. Similarly, Arthur initially appears reluctant to the idea of marriage as he surveys the new build homes, he looks frustrated as he is someone who wanted more from life than characters such as Jack. Afterwards, Bert makes the comment, “I don’t know how that rat face could do a thing like that”. It is also here were Arthur’s character is presented as having more than one side to it. Interesting also, is the divisions the film accurately shows up between women and men. The general mood of prosperity was summed up in the famously complacent words of the then Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan: "You've never had it so good." This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Violence, albeit only minor, is evident in this film between men and women. At the end of the book, he rages against the way that he, and others like him, are forced by the system to fight in one form or another every day of their lives: And trouble for me it'll be, fighting every day until I die. ( Log Out /  It could be viewed, as Arthur does, that Brenda is just another girl looking for fun. Sillitoe's unflinching portrayal of British working-class life is notable for its lack of sentimentality. All these personality traits will become evident as we begin to look at how the film portrays gender stereotypes. Instead he chooses simply to have fun and is happy sleeping with married women, even when they are the wife of his work colleague. The main theme that this essay will focus on however is gender, looking at the differences and divisions between men and women in 1960’s Britain. ( Log Out /  Even Jack, the naturally reserved character that he is, is seen striking Brenda in front of everyone at the fair such was his immediate reaction to realising the truth of his wife’s deception. There are at least two points of evidence within the film that suggests this, firstly in how many people work at the factory and secondly how busy the pubs and cinema’s look. Powell comments, “He sees work as futile and he prioritises fun ahead of any sense of duty, the downfall of the previous generation.” (Powell, 2009). Bert and Arthur overhear the kerfuffle and head over as the two women hold the man down as they await the police. This essay will also take into consideration a twenty first century viewpoint when looking at the various issues raised by the film, and how things may be viewed differently in contemporary society. Throwing himself headlong into a life of hedonistic excess is about the only way that Arthur can ameliorate the chronic hopelessness that eats away at his soul on a daily basis. Late on in the film as the two appear as an item; Doreen appears keen on the idea of marriage and a new build home. The film also manages to identify the differences in the female gender through sub themes such as abortion and marriage. The film ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ (Reisz, 1960) was filmed and set in 1963 Nottingham. This was the reality of the time however as marriage came before anything else, with Arthur being warned by Jack to stay away from his family following his wife’s affair; such was the male dominance of relationships. Although it could be argued that this is simply the way things were for women back in the nineteen sixties. This is noticeable in particular when the pair are seen fishing together, as Bert opens up to Arthur as a good friend to offer support for his problems and decisions. This suggests a criticism on Sillitoe's part of the British working-classes. It is made clear at certain points within the film that there is an inherent utopian view of the days gone by, which the film attempts to tackle by enhancing or even romanticising the working class lifestyle of the sixties. Powell says, “The idea that hardships of war brought out the best in the community does not make any sense to the younger generation” (Powell, 2009). In today’s age of relationship equality and the disputes surrounding abortion, the choice of a couple to do this is usually very much a joint and careful decision. During his conversation with Arthur, Jack says “she’ll be alright with me, I’ll look after her” with steely confidence. As the film progresses, it becomes obvious that some of Arthur’s behaviour would certainly be more noticeable today but was seen simply as the norm in nineteen sixties Britain. Crucially, the characters Doreen and Brenda show how opinion’s of relationships can differ between women. Jack on the other hand is far happier to spend the evening reading the paper, as the film begins to show up differences between male lifestyle and desires. This segment of the film shows the most severe difference between nineteen sixties society and the present day in the discussions of gender. It is here where the film juxtaposes the class difference between Arthur and Jack, not just in their mode of transport but further as they both arrive home. At the same time, Sillitoe is also offering a powerful critique of a society that is structured in a such a way that it implicitly encourages the working-classes not to believe in anything. This is evident in the scene just before Arthur meets Doreen for the first time. Following a hard day’s work, Arthur would most probably be found in the pub; partaking in a session of competitive drinking as a free spirit.


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