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HSC English (Standard) Student Workbook Billy Elliot Stephen Daldry Module C: Texts and Society Elective 2: Into the World

Anthony Bosco

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Module C: Texts and Society Elective 2: Into the World The module ‘Texts and Society’ is an exploration of how individuals and events are shaped by the surrounding environment in which they take place. It is a close examination of the factors within a society, both cultural and environmental, which impact upon the people and define their values, attitudes and beliefs. An individual’s choice to either conform to or challenge the values and attitudes of their society will come to determine their identity and place in the world.

Into the World The elective ‘Into the World’ is an exploration of the “aspects of growing up or transition into new phases of life and a broader world”1. These texts examine how different experiences may shape or reshape an individual’s perception of themselves and the world around them. In moving from a formative context or milieu, the central protagonist(s) encounter obstacles or barriers, which they must negotiate in order to progress into a broader world; one which is beyond their comfort zone. The concept of the bildungsroman journey is central to the film Billy Elliot. This narrative progression charts the growth of an individual from a state of immaturity or naivety to a state of greater maturity or maturation. It is about ‘growing up’ or going through the stages of changing from a child to an adult. Billy Elliot follows this structure in presenting Billy’s progression from an unhappy adolescent who is uncertain about his identity towards a grown man who has achieved fulfilment through following his aspiration of becoming a professional ballet dancer. When composing responses for this elective, students are advised to incorporate a selection of the following key terms:          1

Change Growth/development/growing up Immaturity/maturity Progression Transition Formative context/environment/milieu Obstacles/challenges/barriers Values/attitudes Identity

English Prescriptions p. 16


     

Consequences Rewards Interactions/relationships Mentor/guide Conformity/non-conformity Acceptance/rejection

In order to effectively compose a response in relation to this elective, we have divided the transition of Billy ‘into the world’ into three distinctive stages. 1. Overcoming Personal Boundaries 2. Overcoming Societal Boundaries 3. Experiences of the New World After reading the above notes, you may wish to write down some important points in your own words. You can use the space provided below to do this.


Stage 1: Overcoming Personal Boundaries The focus of this stage is to introduce the responder to the central protagonist(s) and their identity in the initial stages of their ‘into the world’ journey. The fears and aspirations of the protagonist(s) will reflect and/or challenge the values and attitudes of the society in which they have grown up in. This formative context has shaped their perceptions of both themselves and the world around them. Protagonist(s) impose personal boundaries or limitations in accordance with the hegemonic beliefs, values, practices, customs or attitudes of the society in which they exist. Personal boundaries limit one’s potential for self-expression or self-potentiation. The process of challenging or overcoming these personal boundaries reshapes the protagonist(s) perspective of themselves and their world, leading to a change in their identity and the way that they are perceived by others. Overcoming personal boundaries is an integral component of moving ‘into the world’ as an individual must combat their own fears in order to achieve maturity and to move beyond their comfort zone into a new and broader world.

Scene One: Boxing versus Ballet (00:06:14 – 00:11:44) 1. Consider the visual symbolism of Billy and Michael standing outside the door to the Everington Boys Club in the full shot at 00:06:14.


2. What does the dialogue between Billy and Michael reveal about their varying attitudes toward boxing? NB. Boxing is a sport associated with traditional gender roles and hegemonic masculinity in the context of 1980s Durnham, Northern England.

3. Analyse the film techniques used between 00:07:11 (beginning with the mid-shot of Jackie Elliot) and 00:08:06 (the final dutch angle close-up of Billy laying on floor of the boxing ring) to convey Billy’s inability to perform the traditional form of masculinity expected of him by his father and the society in which he lives.


HSC English Billy Elliot Student Workbook  
HSC English Billy Elliot Student Workbook  

A structured programme of study enabling students to understand the key aspects of 'into the world' represented by Stephen Daldry in his fil...