The Differences in Attitudes of Billy and Geoffrey in Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

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The Differences in Attitudes of Billy and Geoffrey in Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse "Billy Liar" was originally a novel written by Keith Waterhouse. In the late fifties/early sixties, Waterhouse collaborated with Willis Hall to turn the novel into a play. It is about a boy called Billy Fisher, his life, relationships, attitudes and lies. The story takes place on one Saturday in the Fisher household. During the late 1950's, teenagers were gaining more responsibility. For the first time, it was them who had to support the family as many adults were killed during the war. As they had jobs, teenagers had their own money to spend. This created businesses aimed at teenagers. Teenagers were starting to like different music and wear different clothes rather than follow their parents like in previous times. This was seen as rebellious by elders and highly disrespectful. At this time, teenagers were also beginning to have their own opinions and no longer went by the saying "children should be seen and not heard". A great role model of the time was Elvis Presley. Teenagers saw him as 'cool' and good-looking - and he gave them a style/image to follow. What made him even greater was that adults hated him - because he was, in their opinion, disgusting. Elvis became a symbol of individuality for teenagers. Fashion wasn't the only factor that changed. Teenagers were given more freedom and started to own their own houses. Before, there could be two or three generations of a family living in the same house. With all the money teenagers were making, it was no longer necessary to stay in their parents homes. In some ways, this made families drif... ... middle of paper ... ... wanted; to be as different from their parents as possible. This is still the same today and so, the play is still enjoyable now as it is still relevant. The lies are so far fetched that it is still entertaining and, although we no longer use some of the swear words, we still understand what the characters mean by them. This play sums up the change from children being exactly the same as their parents (before the 1950s) to children wanting freedom and independence (after the 1950s). It is put in a fun, light hearted play which deals with serious issues in society at the time - issues which have been highlighted by the writers' use of structural, linguistic and dramatic techniques. This is an enjoyable play to read and watch as it is very lively and entertaining - even today, some half a century after it was written.

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