Humour and Conflict in the scene in which Rita and Barbara Clash from Billy Liar

Humour and Conflict in the scene in which Rita and Barbara Clash from Billy Liar

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Humour and Conflict in the scene in which Rita and Barbara Clash from Billy Liar

Task: ‘Explain how both humour and conflict are created in the scene
in which Rita and Barbara clash’

Billy liar is set in 1959, at the time of the teenage rebellion and
the start of the swinging sixties. This is reflected in the play
because there are still some ‘old Fashioned’ People around i.e.
Barbara, which tells me that the ‘new age’ hasn’t affected some people
yet. And there are also people like Liz who are really taking to the
new style of living.

Where the play is set and where the family live tells me that they are
quite a ordinary, boring family, if they lived in the middle of the
country I would perceive them as being quite adventurous, Billy wants
to move out of this normal place because he is not normal, with his
strange imagination and random unneeded lies. The furniture in the
house is of dreadful taste and the rooms are very over done which
tells me that Billy’s parents are not very imaginative which is a
contrast of Billy.

Billy likes to tell stories that sometimes he wishes were true like
when he tells his dad Geoffrey that he had been offered a job in
London, I think that this story is bringing up the part of his
personality that makes him unable to face reality. He also makes up
stories just for the sake of it. For example when he tells Barbara
that he had a sister but she died but then covered it up by saying
that his parents never talk about it. I think that Billy is a
desperate teenager who just engaged to Barbara and Rita so that he
could have sex with them and when he found out that Barbara wouldn’t
have sex till they were married he tried to make her split up with him
by telling her that he had been lying to her. He starts this
conversation when he says “Barbara, I’m glad you asked me that
question. About my sister.” I think that when Billy is with Liz he
acts more truthfully and doesn’t seem to make stories when he’s with
her or when he does she can make him come out with the truth. I know
this because Liz says “(changing the subject) How’s everything with
you? How’s the script-writing? How’s the book coming along?” then
Billy replies “(enthusiastically.) Oh, I’ve finished it. It’s going to
be published next Christmas. (She gives him a long, steady look.) I
haven’t published it yet.

The build up to the scene where Rita and Barbara clash starts ever

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since you find out that Billy has got himself engaged to two girls
because the audience must think that they have to clash at sometime as
it is inevitable in reality if the same situation was to occur. It’s
almost as though every scene that includes Barbara or Rita seems to
make the chances of the to opposite personalities clashing. For
example when Billy fails to get the ring from Barbara and then Rita is
demanding it back and Billy tells her that the ring is at the
jewellers, then the scene when Rita tells Billy that she has been to
the jewellers but its not there. This is creating humour because Billy
has to keep on making up lies on the spot that are obvious to us to be
not true. It also causes more conflict because some of the time the
person he tells the lie to knows that he is telling a lie. In the
scene where Rita rings the doorbell of Billy’s home and asks Billy
about being seen with Barbara and about the ring, which ends up in her
walking slowly away hoping that Billy will follow, but he doesn’t,
which then results in her returning later on where she walks into the
house without knocking and sees Barbara which is where the main
conflicts begin.

Outline the scene

At the beginning of the seen Rita immediately creates tension and
conflict between her and Alice by saying “(to Billy, indicating Alice)
it takes her sometime to get out of the lavatory, doesn’t it? What’s
she been doing? Writing her will out?” I think Rita might of shouted
this quote with an angry shriek and she might of given Alice an evil
look, Then Billy creates humour for the audience and tries to relieve
the tension by saying “Rita, I don’t think you’ve met my mother have
you?” he behaves as though it was a formal dinner party when the
situation is completely different. The next time Billy speaks he is
still acting as though Rita hadn’t come into the house throwing
insults about the room; Billy says “I’ll just take her as far as the
bus stop mother.” Quite calmly and as if Rita wanted to leave. Also
when he says “well, I’m very glad you have come, Rita, because I feel
I owe you a word or explanation.” He creates humour and tries to
soften the conflict and he is purposely misunderstanding the
situation. Alice gets very aggravated very quickly with Rita, which
escalates the conflict between Alice and Rita. I can tell this because
she says “(shocked) we’re not putting up with this! Where does she
think she is?” Alice is not being at all unreasonable in being so
shocked and outraged as Rita bursting in to somebody else’s house
unannounced and starts insulting the family in it is completely
irrational and rude. When Billy next speaks he says (still in a formal
clam manner) “well, I’m very glad you have came, Rita, because fell I
owe you a word of explanation.” Rita then replies in a very rude and
lower class manner “(imitating him) Oooh, I feel I owe you a word of
explanation. Get back in the cheese, with the other maggots!” Rita is
trying to create conflict between him and Billy and I think that this
creates humour because her voice may be put out in a funny tone. I
think by the time Billy next speaks he drops his act and starts
actually trying to calm down the situation.

The first time Barbara speaks the difference in class is obvious
between the two characters. The reason why Barbara finally speaks is
because Rita says “you can bring his rotten farther down. I hope you
do. And bring his rotten grandma.” I think this may of upset Barbara
as she is a sensitive, caring person. I think Barbara would be the
type of person to feel strongly about what Rita said when she referred
to Billy’s sick grandma as ‘rotten’. Barbara replied “Billy’s grandma,
for your information, happens to be ill in bed.”
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