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  • Topic: Billy Elliot, Stephen Daldry, Family
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How Many Miles to Babylon

Answer structure – Theme and issue
Theme and Issues
The texts I have studied for my comparative course are “How Many Miles to Babylon” (HMMB) by Jennifer Johnston, “Billy Elliot” (BE) by Stephen Daldry and “Lies of Silence” (LOS) by Brian Moore. One theme that is common to the three texts that I have studied is the theme of relationships. Keys moments from the texts help to heighten the importance and develop our awareness of those themes. In (HMMB) we witness the destructive nature of the parent- child relationship between Alec and his mother, Alicia. In (BE), in contrast, we see a very realistic portrayal of a father-son relationship who love each other dearly but struggle to make it work. In (LOS) we move to a couple who from the very introduction of the text are in a loveless marriage with Michael’s infidelity only heightening this issue. The authors of these texts use key moments to explore these relationships in all their complexities. In (HMMB) we see that, the protagonist and narrator has a vindictive mother who rules the household through manipulation and bullying. Points to note:

Discuss the mother/father relationship.
Use a key moment where Alicia shows her negative views towards the family. •Isolation
Show how this key moment sets the tone of the text.

Alec and Alicia’s relationship is the most troubling and disturbing relationship of the three comparative texts. Points to note:
Discuss the continued isolation of Alec
Discuss the dark insights we get into the parent/child relationship. •Discuss the continued development of the tone.
It is in the end of the text that we see the true destructive power of the relationship between Alec and his mother. Points to note:
Is Alec’s death a first and final victory over his mother?
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