Characterization of Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot is a 12-year-old boy who lives with his father Jackie, his big brother Tony and his eighty-year-old grandmother in Everington in Northeast England at the time of the miners' strike in mid-1980s. He is the protagonist in the story and is principled, likable, and vivacious with a musical tone in his body. His mother Sarah who died two years before the beginning of the story was a musician and used to play on the piano for the whole family. Unlike the others in the little community Billy is – to some extent – impervious to social conditioning enough to think outside the box. Although he feels bound to the social tradition beautifully summarized by Jackie; “I boxed. Me dad boxed. You box” (p. 12. l. 20) he dislikes it. He is a dreamer who has his own ideas about how to do things and doesn't follow others just because of their authority. For instance he thinks that boxing is more about footwork rather than “how hard you hit someone in the head” (p. 13 l. 6). He thinks that his boxing trainer George is teaching a boxing style that is “about sixty years out of date” (p. 20 l. 15). He identifies himself with and is inspired by Muhammad Ali because of his non-conventional way of fighting described as "[f]loat like a butterfly, sting like a bee" (p. 1 l. 8). One of Billy's most admirable personality traits is his courage – a willingness to go against powerful social conventions – to follow his dreams. He is unsettled, almost erratic, and persistent in his search to find the one thing that would fill the hole in his heart left by the death of his mother. The last connection he has with his mother is through a letter she had written for him to open when he is eighteen which drives him towards something, and allows him to draw on a reserve of inner strength. Towards the end of the story the strength the letter represents is replaced with the ballet. The character Billy is dynamic in that he blossoms into a headstrong teenager...
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