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We have been studying the play called “Kes” by Barry Hines and Allan Stronach. We also watched the film. We have been studying the Main Character, Billy Casper, and his home life, hobbies and school life. I will be writing about these points and some parts of the film. Billy is keen in falconry. He is very interested in this type of bird. He gets his hawk from a nest high up on an old ruined monastery where some of the bricks where unstable. Billy wants to train it but does not know how so he goes to the library to try and borrow a book on falconry. When he gets there he can not take it out as he is not a member of the library.
So he goes to the shelf and steals the book. In the film this is different because he goes to a book store and steals the book there instead. He calls the bird Kes and keeps it in his shed. He grows close to the bird as he starts to train it slowly. Eventually he lets it fly on its own. He spends most of his time with Kes. At home Billy has to share a bed with his older brother, Jud. Jud bullies Billy by hitting him and calling him names. The mother, only known as Mrs Casper, doesn’t care for Billy and Jud very well. She doesn’t make them breakfast in the morning.
Kes By Barry Hines
Later she asks Billy if he has fags when he is about to be late for school which shows what she thinks of her son. Mrs Casper and Jud argue a lot of the time as Jud thinks he can do what he wants when he wants to. Billy has a paper round at his local shop. On the morning the story starts Jud steals Billy’s bike so Billy has to walk his paper round. At school Billy spends little time paying attention to his teachers and most of the time day dreaming. After he walks his paper round he is very tired and falls asleep in the morning assembly and is sent by the headmaster, Mr Gyrce, to his office where he is to get the cane.
In the office there are other people as well. When Mr Gyrce comes in he starts to give the boys a long lecture on how it always seems to be the same people in there. They got two snaps of the cane one on each hand. When Billy is in Mr Farthing’s Room for English he is not paying any attention to a boring talk on tadpoles that another boy is doing. He gets into trouble and is forced to do a talk he is not prepared for because he is not meant to do one. The talk is on his hobbies so he talks about Kes. At first he puts no effort in his talk but gets more excited as he gets more and more enthusiastic about it.
He uses all of the technical terms. In the film this scene is good as it shows his enthusiasm for his hobby and the interest of the class. The next scene is set in the play ground at break time where Billy is alone walking around. He walks past a boy known as MacDowell who starts to say abusive things about Billy’s family. Billy gets angry and they start to fight on a pile of coal. Everyone comes running to watch which is shown with a long shot camera angle. Mr Farthing shows up and breaks up the fight. MacDowell starts to argue with Mr Farthing and is sent inside.
Mr Farthing starts to ask Billy about what things are like at home and we can see on Billy’s face in the film that he does not really want be there answering the questions asked by Mr Farthing. However, when Mr Farthing starts to ask about Kes then his voice and face seem to pick up a bit. We see all this thanks to a close up camera angle. In the final part of story a lot of things happen. It all starts when Jud leaves money and a betting slip for Billy to put on at the bookies. When Billy gets there he is not sure whether both horses will win or not on a doubles bet.
So he asks a man who thinks that one of them will win but the other one won’t. Billy decides to chuck the betting slip but keep the money. Billy goes and gets some chips for himself and some beef for Kes with Jud’s money. When Billy is back at school and his is looking out the window again day dreaming. He sees Jud out in the playground and then the bell goes. Billy is scared so he goes and hides in the boiler room. When Billy comes out, he sees two boys from his class and asks them if they had seen Jud. The boys say they had seen Jud looking for him about half an hour ago and that he seemed furious and determined to find him.
They also said that Mr Gyrce was looking for him as well. At that moment Mr Gyrce comes round the corner and sees Billy. The two boys run off and it is just Mr Gyrce and Billy alone. Billy had missed his appointment with the employment manger when he was hiding, so he is now sent to see the employment manager. Billy is useless in his interview as he is preoccupied with his thoughts of Jud. He also did not really know what he wanted to do when he left school. He took a pamphlet on all the different job options he had. Billy walks home very slowly as he doesn’t want to see Jud. Billy goes to see Kes but when he gets there Kes is gone.
Billy storms in the house very upset and starts to cry. He shouts at Jud about how he killed Kes in cold blood. Mrs Casper steps in to the argument at this point asking if it is true and Jud owns up. Billy snaps furiously and he jumps up to attack Jud. However Jud is to strong for Billy and throws him off. Billy runs to the bins and tries to find Kes. When he does find him he puts him in his coat and runs off to the field where he used to fly him. He then digs a small grave for him in front of a bush. Billy is now weeping with tears. This scene shows us that Billy loved Kes and he was not just a pet to him but a best friend.