How is Prior developed for the reader?
There was a distinct difference in attitudes to class during World War One, and this is seen in Pat Barkers’ presentation of Billy Prior. Upper, working and lower classes viewed each social class with contempt, which lead to tension at the home front, and Barker presents Prior to show these tensions. Prior reflects the middle class views of this time period, as well as portraying the different relationships between different social classes.
We first meet Prior in chapter 5 when Rivers is introduced to the new patient in the hospital who has a rude attitude and refuses to speak for his speech ‘comes and goes’, “it was unlike Sister Rogers to take a ...view middle of the document...
Prior is not happy that his son joined the army, he says, “I told him, time enough to do summat for the Empire when the Empire’s done summat for you” reflecting on the working class views, he also goes on to say that he would have more sympathy if Prior “had a bullet up his arse”. This also shows how a working class man may view a soldier fighting in the war. This as well as the fact he comments about Prior’s mental condition as, “Comes when it’s convenient and goes when it isn’t” suggests that a working class man does not believe in such a thing in war neurosis, it is simply an excuse for men to hide away to avoid pulling their own weight.
This chapter has been split to show the father’s working class attitude towards other social classes, not mentally prepared to go to work, and Prior’s mother who is proud of her son and has conflicting views with Mr. Prior. These unbalanced views had led Prior to confusion about where he really fits in.
His mother in contrast to Mr. Prior has much more sympathy towards her son, Mrs. Prior appears to have a more caring and understanding attitude, which we can expect from a mother, an example of this would be when Rivers asks her if she is proud of her son, as it goes on to say, “Her face softened. I am”. We are able to see how her gesture changes to that of a more considerate nature and how a middle class mother may worry for her son. She believes that Billy blames her for trying to better him and separate him from the "common people".
Prior’s lower class birth and provisional status place...