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GCSE English Literature Guide to Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice Part One

| Friday October 25, 2013

Categories: KS4, OCR GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Drama, Hobson's Choice, Analysing Drama, Hot Entries, Writing, Drama Analysis, Literary Analysis, OCR GCSE English Literature, Unit A662, WJEC GCSE English Literature, Unit 2a Literary Heritage, Drama and Prose

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The following guide is in two parts; Part One covers the background and Acts 1 and 2 and Part Two explores Acts 3 and 4.


Hobson’s Choice was written by Harold Brighouse who was born in 1882 in Eccles, Salford, Lancashire. He was one of a group of Northern playwrights working in the years around World War 1. They wrote about their experiences as working men in the north of England which contrasted with the experiences of playwrights living and working in London.

He was brought up in a stable home in a family that was sometimes rather short of money as his father made loans to various relatives. His father worked for Holdsworth & Gibb cotton works, was a magistrate and treasurer of Eccles Liberal Association and his mother was a headmistress until her marriage. This was a typical middle-class family with solid links to the manufacturing base of Yorkshire.

He left school at 17, worked for a cotton merchant as a textile buyer and moved to London in 1902 to set up an office for them. He was following in his father’s footsteps working in the cotton trade.

He met Emily Lynes in London and married her in 1907. She was an avid theatre goer and he developed a real interest in theatre from her. This was the start of his interest in drama and writing plays. He began by writing one-act plays – Lonesome-like was written in 1907, The Doorway in 1909 and first produced at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester.

Other plays followed including Dealing in Futures, produced in Glasgow in 1911, about chemical factory workers poisoned by dyes; The Game about a brilliant footballer in 1913; The Northerners, set in the cotton industry of Lancashire, and Garside’s Career, about political corruption, both in 1914. He died in London in 1958.

Hobson’s Choice was written around 1914 after Brighouse returned from France having been declared unfit for combat. It was first produced in New York in 1915 and at...

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