Blood Brothers

Mrs. Johnstone Character Analysis

The biological mother of Mickey and Edward (as well as a horde of other children, including Sammy and Donna Marie), Mrs. Johnstone is a deeply superstitious woman who is forever scrambling to get by, but has a good heart and a strong sense of right and wrong. After being left by her husband, she believes that she has no choice but to give up one of her twin boys—Edward—to her wealthy employer, Mrs. Lyons. As the play goes forward, Mrs. Johnstone becomes tortured by guilt and regret, though she remains kind and loving despite her grief. She is the moral center of the play, and survives the play’s deadly finale despite the fact that both of her youngest sons are dead.

Mrs. Johnstone Quotes in Blood Brothers

The Blood Brothers quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Johnstone or refer to Mrs. Johnstone. 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:

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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:

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Only mine until
The time comes round
To pay the bill.
Then, I’m afraid,
What can’t be paid
Must be returned.
You never, ever learn,
That nothing’s yours,
On easy terms.

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker)
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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You’re always gonna know what was done
Even when you shut your eyes you still see
That you sold a son
And you can’t tell anyone.
But y’know the devil’s got your number,
Y’know he’s gonna find y’,
Y’know he’s right behind y’,

Yes, y’know the devil’s got your number

And he’s knocking at your door.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Mrs. Johnstone
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2 Quotes

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:

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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:

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MRS. JOHNSTONE: Mickey. Don’t shoot Eddie. He’s your brother. You had a twin brother. I couldn’t afford to keep both of you. His mother couldn’t have kids. I agreed to give one of you away!
MICKEY: You. You! Why didn’t you give me away? I could have been…I could have been him!

Related Characters: Mrs. Johnstone (speaker), Mickey (speaker), Edward
Related Symbols: Guns
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mrs. Johnstone Character Timeline in Blood Brothers

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Johnstone appears in Blood Brothers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
As Act One opens, Mrs. Johnstone laments in song, begging the narrator and audience to “tell me it’s not true.” The... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone , a thirty-year-old woman who looks far older than her years, sings about her deadbeat... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Narrator, now playing a Milkman, rushes in to demand that Mrs. Johnstone pay him for the milk she’s ordered. She tells him that she can’t pay now,... (full context)
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 and greets Mrs. Johnstone,... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
...to spilling salt to breaking a mirror, creating a sense of foreboding for the audience. Mrs. Johnstone tries to reassure herself that she is not superstitious. (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Narrator reenters, this time playing the Gynecologist. He listens to Mrs. Johnstone’s fetus’ heartbeat, and she tells him that she thinks she’s figured out a way to... (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 two more children, even worrying that they will be... (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... (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 two agree, and... (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
The Narrator exits and the play moves to a hospital room, where Mrs. Johnstone has given birth to her two baby boys. As she returns home, a Catalogue Man... (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 the twins’ birth. Mrs. Johnstone begs to keep them both for... (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... (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... (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 work. She tries to... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...enters and once again sings about all the various omens of bad luck. He tells Mrs. Johnstone that “the devil’s got your number,” and that eventually, he’s going to find her and... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The play moves seven years into the future, as the son whom Mrs. Johnstone kept, Mickey, knocks on his mother’s door while carrying a toy gun. His mother comes... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone emerges from her house, and Mickey introduces Edward as his “brother.” Mrs. Johnstone hears Edward’s... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
As Edward leaves, Mrs. Johnstone sings a lament that her son will never recognize her. (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The policeman confronts Mrs. Johnstone , telling her that she and her children will get no more warnings—if Sammy or... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Edward leaves his house and goes to the Johnstones’, where Mrs. Johnstone answers the door. She asks him if his mother looks after him, and he responds... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone appears clutching a letter, ecstatic. Donna Marie and Sammy enter, as do the Johnstones’ neighbors,... (full context)
Act 2
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
Seven years have passed. Mrs. Johnstone sings about her lovely new house. She pays her milk bill on time, and the... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone enters, hurrying Mickey off to school, and telling him that she’s been hearing him talk... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...conductor—played by the Narrator—tells the teenagers to get on the bus, but then turns to Mrs. Johnstone . He asks if she’s happy, and whether she’s forgotten the past. He reminds her... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...Teasingly, she opens it up, but is appalled to find the picture of Mickey and Mrs. Johnstone within it. She questions Edward about where he got it, but he responds that it’s... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...Mrs. Lyons). Edward offers to lend Mickey money, but Mickey says that he will ask Mrs. Johnstone for some. Edward says that they need to move quickly, before his unstable mother sees... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mickey and Edward burst into Mrs. Johnstone’s kitchen, with Mickey thrilled to reintroduce his mother to his old friend. Mrs. Johnstone is... (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 the area. Becoming increasingly... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
As Mickey prepares to go to work, Mrs. Johnstone enters with his lunch. The Narrator enters briefly, explaining that it is a cold day... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
As the policemen place Mickey in a cell, Mrs. Johnstone sings about what happens next: the jury sentences Mickey to seven years in prison, and... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone continues to sing as Mickey comes home. She notes that her son feels fifteen years... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Linda enters holding shopping bags, and approaches Mrs. Johnstone . The two women discuss what to do about Mickey, who is still addicted to... (full context)
Class and Money Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
...who longs for the past. Making a decision, Linda calls Edward. As she does so, Mrs. Johnstone enters, singing that the two (Edward and Linda) don’t mean to be cruel, and that... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Mrs. Johnstone continues singing, as we see Mickey deciding not to take his pills anymore, and Linda... (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 price you’re gonna have to pay.” Enraged, Mickey pounds on his... (full context)
Superstition and Fate Theme Icon
The Power of the Past Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Mickey roams the streets looking for the couple, as Mrs. Johnstone chases him. The Narrator tells the audience that a man has “gone mad in the... (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
...at everything, even at shooting Edward—he doesn’t even know if his gun is loaded. Suddenly Mrs. Johnstone enters the building, much to the dismay of the policemen. She begs Mickey not to... (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
...the story of the Johnstone twins, separated at birth, who died on the same day. Mrs. Johnstone begs to be told that her sons’ deaths are just a story, that it’s “just... (full context)