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The play 'The Long, The Short and the Tall', is set in the Malayan Jungle in 1942, it is a War - Drama. The play is about an inexperienced patrol of British soldiers

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LST GCSE Coursework English Literature Does war bring out the best and the worst in men? The play 'The Long, The Short and the Tall', is set in the Malayan Jungle in 1942, it is a War - Drama. The play is about an inexperienced patrol of British soldiers who are cut off from their base camp in the Malayan jungle by a Japanese military force. Whilst in the jungle they find a hut where they decide to rest, but a Japanese soldier stumbles upon the hut and is captured and made a POW (Prisoner of War) by the group of British soldiers. The British need to get back to base camp with the soldier but with the advancing Japanese Sergeant Mitchem has a dilemma. As I mentioned before Sergeant Mitchem has a dilemma, he has to decide whether or not to kill the Japanese soldier they have captured. If he kills the POW the he has gone against the Geneva Convention which states that an unarmed captured soldier must not be harmed, if he decides to do this he will commit a war - crime. On the other hand if he decides to take the soldier with him, then with the Japanese surrounding them, he could escape or call out to his platoon and endanger the lives of the patrol, something that Sergeant Mitchem will not do. ...read more.


Also, when Mitchem decides to kill the POW, Bamforth stands up for him and protects him, saying, 'He's a man' When Johnstone calls him, 'A Bloody Nip' This shows Bamforth going back on what he said earlier referring to the captured soldier as a pig that should be carved up. This willingness to stand up for someone who is supposedly trying to kill you brings out the best in Bamforth. Furthermore, it brings out the best and the worst in Mitchem because he is willing to commit a war - crime to protect his patrol but the worst because he is killing defenceless prisoner. But, it brings out the worst in Johnstone because he just wants to kill the prisoner due to his ruthlessness and for the fun of it. Corporal Johnstone has a sinister, evil character. He is ready to kill the prisoner of war without thought; a quote to back this up is when he says, 'Stick it in' He says this when he has hold of the defenceless captured soldier, this shows that he has no conscience because he doesn't care that the man is unarmed he just want him to be killed. This shows that war has brought the worst out in Johnstone because he has no thought when he wants someone dead. ...read more.


The other aim was a triumph as it certainly made me think. It made me wonder what war is actually like, what kind of character I would be if I were in the British patrols shoes, would I be a bully but stand up for what's right like Bamforth or would I be psychopathic and cold-blooded like Johnstone or would I be like Mitchem, a man who would do anything to save the lives of his force. It also made me think what I would do if I was in that situation, would I have killed the Japanese man or would I have stood back and let it run its course. I also feel that the play was tense due to the different characters of the patrol, this caused conflict between everyone which again was very entertaining. If I had the same dilemma as Mitchem, I would not have killed the POW and I would not have taken him with me, I would have tied him up and knocked him out, therefore protecting the lives of my squad and not committing a war - crime, I think this is what Mitchem should have done instead of being brutal. I think that he play could have been improved by bringing the other characters into the play more too. 1 ...read more.

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