Blood Brothers

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Mrs. Jennifer Lyons Character Analysis

The opposite of Mrs. Johnstone—whom she employs as a cleaning lady when the play begins—the infertile and snobbish Mrs. Lyons adopts Edward as her own child, and raises him as a wealthy, upper-class boy. Like Mrs. Johnstone, Mrs. Lyons is haunted by the original act of a mother giving up her child, but in Mrs. Lyons’ case, this guilt turns into suspicion and paranoia. She makes up a superstition to keep Mrs. Johnstone away from Edward, and eventually becomes so convinced that she will lose her son that she tries to kill Mrs. Johnstone. Eventually, Mrs. Lyons’ hatred and madness become so pronounced that she reveals Linda and Edward’s affair to Mickey, thus contributing to the murder of her adopted son.

Mrs. Jennifer Lyons Quotes in Blood Brothers

The Blood Brothers quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Jennifer Lyons or refer to Mrs. Jennifer Lyons. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class and Money Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bloomsbury Press edition of Blood Brothers published in 1995.
Act 1 Quotes

MRS. JOHNSTONE: Oh God, Mrs. Lyons, never put new shoes on a table…You never know what’ll happen.
MRS. LYONS: Oh…you mean you’re superstitious?
MRS. JOHNSTONE: No, but you never put new shoes on a table.

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker), Mrs. Jennifer Lyons
Related Symbols: Shoes on the Table
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

As Mrs. Johnstone performs domestic tasks in Mrs. Lyons' home, she becomes distraught when her employer puts new shoes on a table--a terrible omen, Mrs. Johnstone believes. Her vehement reaction introduces the theme of superstition, which will become increasingly important as the narrative continues.

At first, as shown here, superstition is seemingly laughable and misguided. In fact, Mrs. Lyons will soon use Mrs. Johnstone's superstitiousness (which is implicitly associated with her class and level of education) to manipulate and fool her. By the end of the play, however, it will become clear that superstition in fact comes from a place of truth. The bad omens associated with the twins do in fact point to their deaths, starting with the seemingly silly "new shoes on a table." 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Blood Brothers quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

In the name of Jesus, the thing was done,
Now there’s no going back, for anyone.
It’s too late now, for feeling torn
There’s a pact been sealed, there’s a deal been born.

How swiftly those who’ve made a pact,
Can come to overlook the fact.
Or wish the reckoning to be delayed
But a debt is a debt, and must be paid.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Mrs. Johnstone, Mrs. Jennifer Lyons
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

As the two mothers decide to deceive their sons, Mr. Lyons, and the whole world, the Narrator ominously announces that they can never go back on their word. He reminds the women (though of course they cannot hear him) that regret is useless--an impossible truth, of course, for Mrs. Johnstone, who has just given up all claim to one of her sons. 

Even more foreboding than the idea of regret, though, is the Narrator's mention of "a debt" that "must be paid." By agreeing to such a massive deception, Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons have (the Narrator suggests) committed a grave and unforgivable sin. Eventually, they will pay for their crimes, however long they may delay "the reckoning" of which the Narrator warns. 

MRS. LYONS: You do know what they say about twins, secretly parted, don’t you?
MRS. JOHNSTONE: What? What?
MRS. LYONS: They say…they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, that they shall both immediately die. It means, Mrs. Johnstone, that these brothers shall grow up, unaware of the other’s existence. They shall be raised apart and never, ever told what was once the truth. You won’t tell anyone about this, Mrs. Johnstone, because if you do, you will kill them.

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker), Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker), Mickey, Edward
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Terrified that her son will love his biological mother more than he loves her, Mrs. Lyons lies to Mrs. Johnstone in this passage, playing on her superstitions and ignorance. Mrs. Lyons, of course, knows that the saying she has made up about "twins secretly parted" is false. What she does not know, however, is that by creating this false superstition, she has actually set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy.

By consistently acting out of selfishness, fear, and paranoia, Mrs. Lyons makes her own worst fears come true. Not only does she lose her son's love, but he eventually loses his life. This tragic truth illustrates how easily lies can in fact become realities. Whether or not Mrs. Lyons believes her own words doesn't matter; what does matter is that words have power, and her false prophecy can all too easily become true. 

You see, you see why I don’t want you mixing with boys like that! You learn filth from them and behave like this like a, like a horrible little boy, like them. But you are not like them. You are my son, mine, and you won’t..you won’t ever…Oh my son…my beautiful, beautiful son.

Related Characters: Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker), Edward
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Already, Mrs. Lyons has become paranoid and suffocating. Her snobbishness has morphed into full-blown class hatred as she strives to keep her son away from his brother and his biological mother. She repeats "you are not like them" in order to remind both herself and her son that they are different than the Johnstones (even though Eddie is, in fact, a Johnstone by blood).

Mrs. Lyons' repetition of "You are my son" only further emphasizes her possessive and paranoid nature. She is desperate to reassure herself that she owns Eddie and that he will never be taken from her. What Mrs. Lyons does not understand, though, is that her own actions will eventually alienate her from her son, as she becomes increasingly dictatorial, prejudiced, and unstable. 

MRS. LYONS:…If we stay here I feel that something terrible will happen, something bad.
MR. LYONS: Look, Jen. What is this thing you keep talking about getting away from? Mm?
MRS. LYONS: It’s just…it’s these people…these people that Edward has started mixing with. Can’t you see how he’s drawn to them? They’re…they’re drawing him away from me.

Related Characters: Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker), Mr. Richard Lyons (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Deeply distraught that her son has met his (unknown) brother, Mrs. Lyons begs her detached husband to move the family away. She claims that she wants to remove her son from the bad element in the neighborhood, when really she only wants to separate him from Mickey and Mrs. Johnstone. 

Already paranoid, Mrs. Lyons cannot understand that her son is simply growing up, making friends, and moving outside his comfort zone. Instead, she views every sign of his coming of age as proof that he is being "draw[n] away from [her]" by Mickey.

Along with Mrs. Lyons' fear comes a degree of snobbishness and pride. She hates Mickey not only because he represents Eddie's true family, but because she views him as low class and inferior. 

Act 2 Quotes

MRS. LYONS: Where did you get that…locket from, Edward? Why do you wear it?
EDWARD: I can’t tell you that, Ma. I’ve explained, it’s a secret. I can’t tell you.
MRS. LYONS: But…but I’m your mother.
EDWARD: I know, but I still can’t tell you. It’s not important, I’m going up to my room. It’s just a secret, everybody has secrets, don’t you have secrets?

Related Characters: Edward (speaker), Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker)
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

Having received a locket as a gift from Mrs. Johnstone, Eddie refuses to tell his mother how he came by it, knowing that she will be furious (but not understanding why). Once again, Mrs. Lyons shows her paranoia and her utter lack of understanding of her son. As children grow up, they naturally begin to keep secrets. Mrs. Lyons, though, views this as a sign of insolence and insubordination, and becomes even more convinced that her son is pulling away from her.

Also notable is Eddie's question to his mother: "[D]on't you have secrets?" Of course, as readers/audience members, we know that Mrs. Lyons is keeping a massive secret from her son. Eddie, however, still innocent despite his newfound independence, is entirely unaware of the dark and convoluted history of his own origins. 

MRS. LYONS: Afraid he might eventually have forgotten you? Oh no. There’s no chance of that. He’ll always remember you. After we’d moved he talked less and less of you and your family. I started…just for a while I came to believe that he was actually mine.
MRS. JOHNSTONE: He is yours.
MRS. LYONS: No. I took him. But I never made him mine. Does he know? Have you told…
MRS. JOHNSTONE: Of course not!
MRS. LYONS: Even when—when he was a tiny baby I’d see him looking straight at me and I’d think, he knows…he knows. You have ruined me. But you won’t ruin Edward!

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker), Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker), Edward
Page Number: 77-78
Explanation and Analysis:

Meeting again after years and years, the two mothers have a confrontation: Mrs. Johnstone is confused and placating, while Mrs. Lyons is aggressive and accusatory. By now, her paranoia has morphed into a raging delusion. She is convinced that Eddie will never be her true son, and that Mrs. Johnstone has somehow kept a hold on him despite the physical and temporal distance that Mrs. Lyons has placed between them. 

This conversation exemplifies the different ways that guilt affects these two women. Mrs. Johnstone has tried to put her sin out of her mind, and to focus instead on the family still with her. Mrs. Lyons, in contrast, has become obsessive and unstable, convinced that she will be punished for what she's done. She believes that she must protect her son from the obsession that has ruined her, unaware that her actions will actually lead to his death. 

MRS. JOHNSTONE: YOU’RE MAD. MAD.
MRS. LYONS: I curse the day I met you. You ruined me.
MRS. JOHNSTONE: Go. Just go!
MRS. LYONS: Witch. I curse you. Witch!
MRS. JOHNSTONE: Go!

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker), Mrs. Jennifer Lyons (speaker)
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

Becoming increasingly hysterical, Mrs. Lyons grows convinced that Mrs. Johnstone has ruined her life and her happiness. In revenge, she curses Mrs. Johnstone, calling her a "witch," and even attempting to hurt her.

In a complete reversal, Mrs. Lyons, once so skeptical of superstitious beliefs, now believes that Mrs. Johnstone has supernatural powers, and even attempts a curse of her own. Her deception--both of her own son, and of Mrs. Johnstone--has eaten her alive. She's become consumed by guilt, fear, and paranoia, and has no grasp on reality left. 

Even in this horrifying moment, however, Mrs. Johnstone remains nonviolent. She does not attack the crazed Mrs. Lyons, but only attempts to defend herself. 

Get the entire Blood Brothers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Blood brothers.pdf.medium

Mrs. Jennifer Lyons Character Timeline in Blood Brothers

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Jennifer Lyons appears in Blood Brothers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The scene shifts, moving to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Lyons , where Mrs. Johnstone works as a cleaning lady. Mrs. Lyons enters with a parcel... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
After Mrs. Lyons leaves, the Narrator enters. He lists various superstitions, from shoes on the table to spilling... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
We return to Mrs. Lyons ’ home, where the rich woman finds Mrs. Johnstone devastated by the idea of having... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone asks if Mrs. Lyons is really that desperate for a child. Mrs. Lyons responds in song, explaining how she... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
As she begins to plan the deception , Mrs. Lyons has Mrs. Johnstone swear on a Bible never to tell anyone about the bargain. The... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...debt of all is that she will have to give one of her sons to Mrs. Lyons . Mrs. Johnstone laments the fact that she will never know her son, and that... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Lyons enters, wearing fake pregnancy padding, and is upset that Mrs. Johnstone hasn’t notified her about... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone’s children ask her what happened to the twin whom Mrs. Lyons just took. Mrs. Johnstone responds that he’s gone to heaven, and tells them about all... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
A week later, Mrs. Johnstone returns to work at Mrs. Lyons ’ house. She stops for a minute at her baby’s crib and plays with him.... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Mrs. Lyons calls for Mrs. Johnstone and announces to her that she is no longer doing satisfactory... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
As Mickey sulks, Edward , Mrs. Lyons ’ son, emerges and greets him, saying that he saw Mickey playing by his house.... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...house. Edward asks her if he’s done something wrong, and Mrs. Johnstone asks him whether Mrs. Lyons knows where he is. Edward admits that his mother would be upset to learn where... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
We shift to Mr. and Mrs. Lyons’ house. Mr. Lyons gives Edward the present of a toy gun, and then pretends to... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
With his father gone, Edward asks Mrs. Lyons how to spell the word “bogey man.” Mrs. Lyons tells him that the bogey man... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...is Mickey come to see if Edward can play with him. The boys explain to Mrs. Lyons that they are blood brothers. Mrs. Lyons tries to usher her son off to bed,... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Lyons enters, looking for Edward. The Narrator enters as well, and repeats his refrain, warning Mrs.... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mr. Lyons tries to calm a frantic Mrs. Lyons , who is terrified about where her son has gone. Mr. Lyons wonders if something... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...Mr. Lyons asks Edward if he would like to move to the country, explaining that Mrs. Lyons has been ill. Edward protests that he wants to stay, but Mr. Lyons asks him... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Edward is unenthusiastic about his new home in the country, although Mrs. Lyons tries to persuade him of how beautiful it is. He reacts with violent fear, however,... (full context)
Act 2
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Lyons enters, teaching Edward how to waltz. Edward has been at boarding school, and is about... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
We move back to Edward, now with Mrs. Lyons , who is appalled that her son has been suspended. In an effort to explain,... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
The Narrator enters, mocking Mrs. Lyons for feeling secure, and telling her that no amount of time can brush away the... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...that he can get money first. As the boys head off together, we realize that Mrs. Lyons has been watching the entire exchange. After a moment, she follows the pair. (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
The two boys walk along as, unbeknownst to them, the Narrator follows them (along with Mrs. Lyons ). Edward offers to lend Mickey money, but Mickey says that he will ask Mrs.... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
With the boys gone , Mrs. Lyons emerges to confront Mrs. Johnstone, demanding to know how long the family has lived in... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Out of nowhere , Mrs. Lyons enters. She shows Mickey Edward and Linda together, as Mrs. Johnstone ominously sings about “the... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...that Linda was the one good thing he had left in his life, but that Mrs. Lyons has revealed the affair to him. Edward tries to deny it, but Mickey screams that... (full context)