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Hindle Wakes


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A: Stanley Houghton Pf: 1912, Manchester Pb: 1912 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Hawthorns' and Jeffcotes' homes, Hindle, near Manchester, 1900s C: 4m, 5fFanny Hawthorn, a working-class girl, has gone off during the ‘wakes’ (the annual holiday) from the fictitious Lancashire mill town of Hindle and has had a weekend fling with Alan Jeffcote, the good-looking but feckless son of the mill owner. When her horrified parents find out, they insist that the pair must marry, and Mr Hawthorn visits Mr Jeffcote Senior to demand this. Jeffcote reluctantly agrees, even though his wife and son Alan, who is engaged to Beatrice Farrar, the beautiful daughter of the Mayor, are strongly opposed to marriage with a mill girl. The honourable Jeffcote is adamant, threatening to disinherit Alan if he disobeys, and, when Beatrice also tells Alan that he must marry Fanny, he at last acquiesces. But no one has yet sought Fanny's opinion on the subject. It turns out that Fanny regards their weekend as a bit of fun and has no intention of marrying the feeble Alan. Her outraged mother bans her from home, but this suits Fanny too: as an emancipated young woman she is quite ready to stand on her own. The relieved Alan will seek out Beatrice to see if she will still have him.

A: Stanley Houghton Pf: 1912, Manchester Pb: 1912 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Hawthorns' and Jeffcotes' homes, Hindle, near Manchester, 1900s C: 4m, 5f

Yet again we have here a play, like Our Boys and The Admirable Crichton, where the lack of deviousness and basic common sense of a working-class figure is contrasted with the flaccid and cowardly behaviour of a supposedly social superior. What is innovative here is not only the authentic setting, with its use of Lancashire dialect, but also that it is a young woman who displays independence of spirit and scorns conventional morality, producing a working-class variant of Nora in A Doll's House.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Stanley Houghton (1881—1913) playwright


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