Billy’s family is very poor and if we compare all the things that we have in our life today, he does not have many things. His home does not have curtains and he has to share a bed with his older brother Jud. There is no central heating in their house and Billy has to light the fire every morning because his brother and his mother are not concerned. When Billy delivers the newspaper to one of the houses, he is stunned as he peered into the house. He distinguished everyday life objects like radiators, radios, carpets etc. but compared to what he had it was like ‘heaven’ to him .
I felt a lot of pity when he opened the shelf for food because there was, “… a packet of dried peas and half a bottle of vinegar on the shelves. The bread tin was empty…. ” In most people’s house there would be cakes, sweets, jam, bread etc. but Billy is under- nourished and this might have been a problem why he is was always being told of in school. If you compare our life today with Billy’s home life, you will be able to see how the author, Barry Hines, arouses sympathy for Billy. Billy is always treated rudely and unjustly in his house.
Jud is always bossing Billy and makes him do everything. Jud tells Billy “Hands off cocks: on socks. ” This is very rude and offensive. In addition, he punches Billy and hurts him just so Billy will obey his commands. Jud takes Billy for granted and gets away with everything because his mother thinks he is greater than Billy since he works down in the mines. His mother is exactly like Billy. She demands things from Billy and tries to harm him. In one of the scenes, his mother orders Billy to get the shopping but when he says that he needs to go to school she tries to murder him.
His home life shows how he is treated maliciously by his family, which also stimulates us to feel compassion for Billy Casper. Billy Casper is treated almost the same way in school as he is at home. Most of the teachers are very strict and are very hard on the pupils. They do not allow any humour or chatting in their classes but they do expect them to do everything flawlessly. When Billy had said something out of the ordinary, the teacher, Mr Crossley, told Billy, “And so did you Casper. You just came out from under a stone. ” It is not a pleasant remark to reply with even if Billy had made a mistake.
In most schools, the children would most likely stick together and be supportive. However in Billy’s school, the children all laugh with the teacher’s insulting jokes and it is like as Billy described it, “The survival of the fittest. ” Everybody always puts the blame on Billy even if he did not do something or it was not his fault. If you take the scene from the football pitch, the physical education teacher, made Billy have a cold shower for twenty minutes just because he had accidentally prevented the football from going into the match. The teacher was struggling in the match himself but he had put the blame on Billy.
Another example of being accused for no reason was at the assembly scene. When the children were singing hymns, somebody had unintentionally coughed. The headmaster, Gryce, told the teacher that it was somebody from a particular section and the teacher just came and pulled out Billy Casper. Later on, we find that it was not Billy but they did not seem to care. One reason that most teachers do not seem to care of what happens to the students, is maybe because they knew that the children were probably were going to go down and work down in the mines, where the would eventually die of lung cancer or other diseases.
Finally, the last reason of how the author makes the reader feel pity for Billy is the comparisons he makes in the narrations. There are a lot of similes and metaphors that describe Billy’s emotions and feelings. One of the similes used was, “He stood still as a rock as the cane came swishing down faster then one could blink. … looked down at his hand and an ugly mark shone out like gold …. ” I felt a lot of sympathy for Billy when the author makes these comparisons and I really liked the way that the author did not over-do the comparisons and made them seem really realistic.