JENNY MORRISON

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JENNY MORRISON
Notes on Changes in her Character and Several Key Plot Developments
WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT JENNY
THROUGH THE PLAY
• Jenny desires to be her own woman, and not to be held back by family
expectations;
• However, she has conflicting emotions towards living her own life and
supporting her desperate family;
• As a character, Jenny is quite a forward individual – both in terms of her
appearance and in the way she interacts with other people;
• By the end of the play, Jenny realises that she was being naïve about what
she aimed to achieve, and instead, she really wanted a strong relationship
with her family as well as a sense of independence;
WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT JENNY
THROUGH THE PLAY
• Jenny had a sharp tongue, and used this persistently on her family and neighbours;
• Then, when we next see Jenny in Act III we learn that she has discovered a sense of
responsibility and respect towards supporting her parents in their situation;
• Her and John had a very close bond but that was broken when Jenny started
becoming rebellious and left the family behind;
• John’s act of physical violence towards Jenny wasn’t tolerated by her and she wouldn’t
succumb to the traditional authority of men in the family;
• John and Jenny’s close relationship in fact exacerbated the situation between them, as
John is so hurt by Jenny’s hunger for freedom and she in turn is bitter about how
disapproving he is
JENNY/JOHN CONFLICT
• A key part of Jenny’s role in the play is in the ongoing conflict between her and her father
John;
 Jenny arrives home late from being with a boy, who is her boss and having been drinking
 “I’m for nane o this traipsing roon the toon till a oors…Jenny’s doon there wi a fella…By Goad! If ever a
girl asked for it! (He shakes her roughly) Whit have you been drinkin?”
 John is disappointed in the company Jenny keeps, and the way she composes herself
 “I don’t approve o yon Nessie Tait”
 “…wi yer paint smeared a ower yer face…let your hair grow tae the colour God meant it…”
 She enrages John when she tells him about how she is quitting her job and cutting her financial
support to the family;
 “I’m chuckin the shop”, “It’s your duty tae hand ower every penny ye earn tae her…”
 Jenny shows a great deal of disrespect to her father and criticises him for his failure to provide
for the family
 “…so ye’d better hang on tae yer job this time. If ye can!”
JENNY’S REBELLION
• Shows a clear lack of respect for Granny and the older generation
• “It taks a shunt o dennymite tae shunt Granny
• “(to Isa) See whit a mean”
• Rebels against the authority of her elders and gives attitude back to Lily
despite Lily threatening her
• “[Jenny] surveyed the other women looking them over, up and down and
shaking [her] head”
• Rude towards other people where other young girls would have been much
more courteous
• “(to the room) She’s got plenty of company, she says”
JENNY’S INFLUENCE ON MAGGIE
• In Act 3 Jenny returns to the Morrison household after deciding to be independent and
separate from her family.
• Maggie was very happy and relieved to see Jenny return:
"Oh Jenny, Jenny! The times I've dreamt o this!"
• Jenny brings the good news of a plan she has to get the family a real house, but as Jenny and
Maggie are planning how to go about it, John feels very insulted and angry that he wasn't
consulted in the decision:
"I'd an idea I wis the heid o this hoose."
•
Both Jenny's return and the good news she brought with her seem to give Maggie some
confidence as she stands up for Jenny against John and starts to humiliate him.
•
It's obvious that Jenny's return is a major catalyst in the climax of the play, as Maggie
confronting John showed a complete change in character for Maggie and also a change in
gender roles.

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