Monday, 23 January 2012

The 80's.

The book (and the musical) "Billy Elliot" is set in north-England during the 1984-85 UK miners' strike. This is evident because, as I have told you before, both Billy's dad and his brother are involved in the strike. As a result of them being involved in the strike, they are not making any money, and this affects Billy and his nan. They don't have enough money for coal, so their house is freezing, and they barely have enough money for food. When it comes to Billy's audition and the probability of getting in, the issue is even clearer. Billy's dad and brother talk to the boxing coach about getting together a fundraising event so that they can pay for the audition and the trip to London. Billy's dad even abandons the strike and goes to work in a weak moment just to get enough money to send Billy to London. He doesn't get far, though, before Billy's brother stops him.


The division between the lower and middle class is also made clear in the book about Billy Elliot. His ballet teacher comes from a middle class society, and it is described how Billy felt walking around in her neighbourhood, and his expectations of her living conditions. But her middle class "stamp" is not much to brag about. Billy's expectiations were way to high, and he finds out that there actually isn't much of a division. It's not far from the life he lives. The book describes the way the divisions between lower, middle and upper classes were in the 80's - quite different from the Norway I know today.

I feel that the book also refers to the prejudices people had (and some people still have) against homosexuals. It becomes clear towards the end of the book that Michael, Billy's best friend, is homosexual, and throughout the book, there are different situations which support this. For example, one time when Billy goes to his friend's house, Michael opens the door fully dressed in his mother's clothes and makeup. Also, when the story is told through Michael's eyes, he actually states that he fancies Billy.
The word "poof" is used as an abusive word throughout the book, a word which is slang for homosexual. The prejudices against homosexuals also become clear when Billy's dad and brother discover that Billy takes ballet lessons, and they're frightened he might be a "poof".


This is my contribution to the post about the setting/social environment of the book. It will be edited before I use it in my analysis, and please bombard me with all the constructive comments you can think of! (I won't get offended.., don't worry).



  1. I actually think that this is really good, well done! :D

  2. It's excellent, really. It's all relevant, and your challenge will be to choose what to include in your analysis within the word limit.
    I'm not sure that attitudes towards homosexuals have changed that much in the north of England since the 1980's - England as a whole is still very homophobic, and it is worse in the industrial areas with a large proportion of working class people. It comes down to education, I think.

    1. Thanks for pointing the last bit out. I'm not so familiar with the north og England and their attitudes ;D