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How do RC Sherriff and Susan Hill explore the loss of youthfulness and innocence during war in Journeys End and Strange Meeting?

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Introduction

Lindsey Sherar How do RC Sherriff and Susan Hill explore the loss of youthfulness and innocence during war in Journey's End and Strange Meeting? The frontline battlefront and home line homefront of war held opposing attitudes especially regarding the effect on the soldiers' emotions. With propaganda and patriotism encouraging so many men to enlist, they entered the trench life na�ve and unprepared for how war was going to change their lives. The families who were lucky enough to have their loved ones return home, had to welcome changed men. They left their homes as young boys proud to serve their country but returned with the emotional turmoil of dealing with the consequences of their experiences. RC Sherriff and Susan Hill both use specific treatments in their development of their central characters to build upon the theme of loss of youthfulness and innocence. In Journey's End, Stanhope is evidence of the transformation that men went through whilst at war. A once spirited and eager young man, he now cannot serve without being intoxicated with alcohol. Loss of youth is truly evident in this character. He will continue to battle with the addiction of drink, in order to cope with the horrific sights suffered, whilst serving. Although Journey's End is only based over four days, 18 March 1918 to 21 March 1918, in the trenches, Stanhope fluctuates between his unstable and drunken state as he must continue with his duties. ...read more.

Middle

Susan Hill uses Strange Meeting as a journey not only of service to the war but of a friendship which grows during each chapter. Barton and Hilliard, who have met from different family backgrounds, come together to support each other as a team. However, they had to engage each others' personalities in order to gain an understanding of one another; this has led them to growing up quickly. Barton, who is a calm, open and friendly young man , is transformed emotionally from child to father figure to Hilliard. Hilliard is changed by Barton, enabling him to open up and express himself personally to someone. Hilliard has been at the Front before and he represents experience because of this. However, Barton is the one who stabilises and prepared Hilliard for what he will experience and how to share the experience with others, showing support. These are two young boys, taking on large commitments to serve their country. YOU MUST USE QUOTATIONS TO SUBSTANTIATE WHAT YOU SAY The stresses of these commitments begin to have their effects. A visible change of Barton is evident, which is a key turning point in the novel. He becomes the same as all the other soldiers, "his eyes had taken on the common look of shock and misery...the texture of his flesh was altered, grained and worn." ...read more.

Conclusion

Alcohol dependency is how Sherriff represents change, compared to Hill's use of characterisation within a journey. Hilliard has returned to war after taking leave due to injury. He deals with war by detaching himself mentally from his actions. Hill introduces Barton into Hilliard's life. By having contradictory characters together in a pressurised environment, Hill takes the read through the bond they share. Therefore, the changes of characters personalities become more evident and the loss of youthfulness and innocence are easier to recognise. In conclusion, propaganda encouraged the young to enlist, with families and friends pressurising those who did not. They were filled with false expectations and were na�ve to the effects of war to the lives, if they were to return. As explored, many young men left their families, never to return, giving their lives to the glorification of war. The vulnerability of their youth was soon crushed by the true realities of war and a whole generation was wiped out, leaving many wives widows, at such young ages. Sherriff and Hill, use the frontline perspective of war to express the changes men went through due to the circumstances of their daily routines. Characterisation through dependency and journeys are used to express the characters emotions. Especially for Journey's End, a small period of their lives serving has changed so many people's lives at the time and still to this day. ...read more.

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