Let’s focus on some key quotes that fit the themes. We’ve given you two quotes with possible interpretations as a model. Use the downloadable worksheet to explore this theme in more depth.
Mark: ‘You know what he’s like [Adam] he was, sort of hanging around…’
Jan: ‘Trying to be part of [the gang]…’
Possible Interpretation: Adam’s desire to be part of the gang can be interpreted in many ways. It can be seen as part of a forbidden temptation which deserves punishment, but it can also indicate the status the gang has amongst young people. Being part of a gang can be extremely appealing and comforting at a time when young people were rather lost and adrift, feeling they did not really belong anywhere. They were alienated by many elements in society which may have already been viewing young people in a negative way; from parents to school authorities to the media. The gang provides a new ‘family’ with a clear social structure, authority and a sense of belonging and this is perhaps what was so attractive to Adam, so much so that he was willing to go through the terrifying ‘hazing’ ritual in order to be accepted by the gang.
Phil: ‘Everyone else stay calm. Keep your mouths shut. Tell no-one or we’ll all go to prison. Just get on with things.
Possible Interpretation: Phil shows that he well and truly has control of the gang and its behaviour at this point in the play. He directs everyone and expects absolute obedience. He is even willing to threaten people with losing his lives when he earlier calmly tells Brian he will be thrown down the grille if Phil does not get complete compliance. He controls via fear and terror and an iron will.