A Kestrel For A Knave - Main Characters.
Billy Casper is the central character of the novel.
His life is a dismal one and the novel follows a typical day in his life.
He is not trusted by the shop keeper and this sets up the lack of faith anyone has in Billy, which explains his behaviour (cheating on him and gaining revenge) and the desire to escape the world he lives in.
The theft of the orange juice and the eggs is merely because he is hungry and not being looked after.
Billy has a vivid imagination and this comes out in many scenes, including his reading of the Desperate Dan comic (where he can escape into another world) and the assembly.
He is strong, resourceful and independent.
He is the ‘knave’ in the title.
Knaves were generally thieves, liars and cheeky, all characteristics Billy has through necessity to survive.
Physically he is smaller and weaker than the other boys, but he has more enduranceas shown by the cold shower episode.
Billy is often described as dirty and it seems he rarely washes, but this is due to the bad example set for him at home.
At 15, Billy is about to leave school and is expected to work down the mine.
At school Billy gets most satisfaction from his English lessons where he is allowed to use his vivid imagination.
He is intelligent and, when given the chance, very skilful (especially with Kes)