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Billy Elliot and Pygmalion

            Life and its trials requires us to evolve and develop with changing stages, each stage with obstacles and challenges that can enrich one's experience if overcome successfully. An integral role in this is played by family and societal values as well as external interventions.This is evidenced by the protagonists of the film Billy Elliot and the play Pygmalion. Both pieces illustrate the importance of persistence and determination in achieving personal freedom, however, to what extent this freedom is achieved for the main characters is not as clear. As he evolves into an adolescent, Billy Elliot recognizes that he has a passion for dancing, however, he also realizes that his dream is unconventional and nearly impossible. Billy soon becomes aware that this passion will clash with his family's view of gender roles and the stereotyping of males in the rough-and-tumble mining town of Durham, England. "Lads do football and boxing, not ballet!" claims his father, Jackie, unable to see why a heterosexual boy would want to perform ballet. This creates a barrier in Billy's life and causes him to become secretive and inhibit the pursuit of his passion, evidenced by the fact that he hides his ballet shoes under his mattress. Additionally, Billy's father and his older brother Tony are held captive by political strife, struggling to make ends meet as striking miners during Margaret Thatcher's term as Prime Minister. This hardship is reflected when Jackie uses the family's piano for firewood in the winter.
             However, Billy finds freedom through his persistent pursuit of his dream through human relationships and other changes. Billy's relationship with Mrs. Wilkinson forces him to grow and help him achieve freedom through dance, as she treats him like an adult and forces him to make difficult decisions about his career. Many relationships presented in the film depict tension and frustration as the characters are forced to adapt to challenges and changes in their environment.

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