Billy Liar Essay

Billy Liar Essay

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Billy Liar

The play 'Billy Liar' was first produced in London on 13th September
1960. Originally a novel, it was adapted by Willis Hall and Keith
Waterhouse for performance.

Billy the main character in the performance lives in a lower middle
class family and is subconsciously trapped by their social class.
Billy is an imaginative youth who indulges in daydreams and escapism,
but cannot fulfil his fantasies due to the restriction of his social
culture.

In modern society Billy would have been more likely to fulfil his
dreams as generally family and social restrictions have changed since
the 1960s and movement away from the family unit is more accepted.

In the play Billy has the possibility of moving to London and
fulfilling his dream to become a scriptwriter. The first person Billy
confronts with this idea is his family in Act 1. The family: his
mother (Alice), his father (Geoffrey) and his Grandmother (Florence)
express disbelief. The way the family interacts and influences Billy
can be seen as barriers and doorways. Barriers are a verbal or
physical influence stopping Billy from moving to London, but the
doorways are ideas that push Billy to fulfil his dreams.

In Act 1 Billy is late for breakfast and complains it is cold.
Florence retorts 'When we had eggs. We were lucky to get them.'
Indicating that Florence and Billy hold different values. The quote
refers to Florence's past and also she refers to 'When I was a girl.'
This shows the generation gap and the different values held between
her and Billy. The family find it difficult to understand that life
changes thus preventing Billy from fulfilling his fantasies in thi...


... middle of paper ...


... that Tom
Courtney's interpretation fits with Albert Finney's idea of Billy. In
the film there are clips that show Billy's dreams. The film confirms
that Billy was committed to carry out his dreams when he agreed to go
to London with Liz. However the death of Florence and the heart to
heart talk with his mother made him realise his value in the family
unit.

Overall the play shows us that at this point in Billy's life he is not
yet able to break through the barriers holding him in Stradhoughton
and restricting him. Billy has been subject to social conditioning and
to him Stradhoughton and his family is his entire life (even thought
he does not like it). He knows he cannot ignore his life in
Stradhoughton even though he wants to and in time he may regret his
decision. He is not yet capable of fulfilling his dreams.

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Billy Liar Essay

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