A Taste Of Honey Essay Research Paper

A Taste Of Honey Essay, Research Paper



Morals are defined as expressing or teaching a conception of either behaviour. Teaching moral values to a child are usually the responsibility of the parents. A parent influences a child at a young age, although as they mature they have the ability to accept or reject their traits. In the play, A Taste of Honey, author Shelegh Delaney illustrates the impact a parent has on a child, and how their decisions can affect the way in which they control their lives. Children are influenced by their parents and this is reflected in their behaviour, which is dependent on the morals instilled in them from birth.

Relationships play a vast role in several people’s lives and can have a tremendous effect on them. For example, in the play, A Taste of Honey, Helen, a single parent recently gets remarried to Peter, a young, rich, good looking man. This marriage has a tremendous impact on Helen’s daughter, Jo, and influences the decisions she makes throughout her life.

Helen and Peter’s marriage was based on desires rather than the comfort of being loved. Helen had originally moved away from Peter with her daughter to “turn over a new leaf” (15) for herself. As Peter arrives at Helen and Jo’s flat he makes a proposal to Helen that she cannot refuse. He offers to marry her giving her a glamorous white house and all the money she desires. He claims that she cannot get any better than him because he is “young, good looking and well set up” (19). In spite of Helen’s reluctance she marries Peter anyway solely for his money. Evidentially, their marriage does not elongate because the only reason Helen’s is interested in Peter is for his money and the only reason why Peter is interested in Helen is because she is a former prostitute.

Coincidentally, Jo, Helen’s teenage daughter follows in her mother’s footsteps and ends up making the same mistakes she did. When Helen got married she left Jo to live in the flat by herself, because she believed Jo being eighteen years old that she was mature and responsible enough to take care of herself. However, when Jo meets Jimmie, a black sailor, he makes sexual advances towards Jo, which she cannot refuse. Jo does not understand the meaning of a true “relationship”. All she knows is what she has learned from Helen. He proposes to marry Jo on the first day they meet and she accepts. Months pass and it is Christmas, Jimmie comes back and impregnates Jo and then vanishes and is never seen again. Jo claims that Helen cannot say anything harsh because she too got pregnant with Jo at the age of 18.

Jo being afraid and lonely is befriended by a young homosexual named Geoff. He wants to help Jo through her pregnancy although Jo is reluctant because she feels he wants more. Geoff wants the baby and is ready to accept the responsibility of taking care of him/her. In order to do this he moves in with Jo and takes car eof her, anxiously awaiting the birth of the baby.

As we can see, Helen’s relationship had a tremendous impact on the way Joe perceived relationships. Helen’s influential behaviour caused Jo to make immoral decisions through the relationships she encountered.

Pregnancy is also a huge factor that is very influential in a teenager’s life. In someone else’s eyes a baby is a bundle of joy. However, in reality, raising a child requires hard work and devotion. Raising a child also requires great independence.

When Jo first gets pregnant it does not seem to be a great deal, although as she goes further into her pregnancy she begins to think differently. Jo now realises that she is in fact alone and that is when she becomes dependent on Geoff. For Jo states, “looking after a baby isn’t that nice, three months of exercise, constipation and four months of relaxation” (56). Jo is too young to understand the responsibilities of taking care of a child. She is insecure and cannot handle the pressure of properly raising a child. For example before the baby was born Jo was so distraught realizing that even though she has Geoff she is still very much alone. At one point Geoff brings Jo a doll and due to her vulnerable state she threatens to violently kill the baby saying, “I’ll bash its brains out, I’ll kill it, I don’t want this baby, Geoff. I don’t want to be a mother. I don’t want to be a woman”. (75)

Similarly to Jo, Helen went through the same ordeal although not as dramatic. Helen was once married, although her husband thought sex was dirty, so Helen then went elsewhere to fulfil her needs. That is when she met Jo’s father, a younger, good-looking man lacking of intelligence. She did not see any harm in having her fun. She did not love him; she just wanted to use him for her own desires and pleasure. After a month of fooling around with him Helen realized that she was pregnant and her husband divorced her. She too, like Jo, was very scared and afraid although she knew she had to be strong and independent.

Helen’s mistake impacted Jo’s life forever. Having a child is not a mistake that anyone can take back. Helen thought she was doing a harmless act although infact it resulted in the conception of an unwanted baby, which is similar to Jo’s case.

Dependency is another issue, which is often addressed when someone is unsatisfied because they do not have the ability to get everything they want. In this case Helen is dependent on men for material things whereas Jo is dependent on men for comfort and love.

Helen, being a former “semi-whore” got every thing she wanted. Although when she tries to turn over a new leaf she simply couldn’t do it. She wasn’t used to earning things legitimately. Helen does not love Peter she only married him for his money. Peter promised to give her a fancy house and all the money she wanted. Throughout the play we can see that Helen and Peter had a marriage lacking love. Helen is totally dependent on Peter, for material comfort. For example, when Helen wanted to leave Peter to be with Jo she still asked Peter if he could provide her with money and she will perform certain acts for him

Similarly to Helen, Jo is dependent on Geoff. Jo never had a father and she had an absent mother for most of her life. Jo feels the need to be loved and taken care of. When Geoff first moves in with Jo she is a bit reluctant and attempts to push him away. She has the fear of getting hurt again although Geoff and Jo’s relationship progresses Jo begins to trust Geoff and then becomes dependant of hi. Geoff does everything for Jo such as paying her rent, cooking, cleaning, and generally just takes care of her. Then after a while Geoff gets tired of doing everything for Jo and attempts to leave. Jo becomes so dependant on Geoff she begs him to stay claiming that she will do more, as she should.

Dependency is an issue that is seen in Helen and Jo’s relationship. They are both depending on men for immoral reason, although Jo isn’t really to blame for her trait because Helen heavily influences her.

Being financially stable is another issue that is often addressed in raising a child. Sometimes we will go to great lengths to provide for our families, usually in a moral respect, however, sometimes it ends up being immoral.

When Helen got pregnant she had no job and her husband had divorced her because another man impregnated her. She was strained and lonely so she resorted to the only thing that was easy and that made good money, which was prostitution. She turned to prostitution for two reasons, one being that she needed the money for Jo as well as herself, and two being that she liked having sex. In spite of her indecent acts her immoral earnings were enough to support them.

Instead of Jo realizing her mother’s mistakes and trying to make better life for herself she once again follows in her mother’s footsteps. Jo went to school for a period of time and then when she met Jimmie she stopped attending school so that she could get a job and save enough money for her wedding. By Jo resigning from school she lacked of education and was unable to get a proper job once she got pregnant. Unable to get a proper job, Jo stopped working and that’s when Geoff moved in with her. Geoff paid her rent as well as bills and looked after her every need anxiously awaiting the unborn baby. Even though Jo’s way of getting money to support her baby as well as herself isn’t as immoral as Helen it still has it’s corrupted aspects.

Earning money immorally to support a child is wrong, however in certain cases the individual may not have a choice. Jo learned how to scam money out of Geoff for her own selfish needs, as Helen did to Peter as well as many other’s for her own needs.

In conclusion morals are defined as expressing of teaching a conception of ethical behaviour. However, in the play, A Taste of Honey, we can see that two characters, Helen and Jo displayed immoral behaviour through the entire play. This play proves that what a parent does and who they become often determines who their children will become and what traits they will further. Parents heavily, influence children, and their actions can effect the decisions they make through their lives, which could consequently influence the way, a child views their life in a positive of negative manner.


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