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20th Century Drama - Journey's End

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Introduction

G.C.S.E Coursework 20th Century Drama - Journey's End In the final scene of the play, Journey's End, the writer, R.C. Serriff, uses various dramatic devices to create impact. The candles in the dugout are one example of this. They are used by Sherriff to symbolise the relationships between the inhabitants of the dugout. At the start of the scene the lights are extinguished and the dugout is completely black. This darkness is used to show the tense atmosphere after the argument between Raleigh and Stanhope the night before. In the final scene we see a side to Stanhope that was previously hidden. He is made out by Sherriff to be more vulnerable than he was previously seen to be. This is shown when the stage direction tells Stanhope to be "lying bundled with his blankets wrapped tightly around him." This is used to show how Stanhope is not the hard, whisky drinking British officer with the traditional stiff-upper lip, but still a young man and likely to die in the big attack that morning. ...read more.

Middle

He comes into the dugout during awkward pauses and often breaks them by introducing the subject of food into the conversation. The officers readily discuss this, especially Trotter who often shares a friendly banter with Mason about what's for dinner when there is a high-tension moment happening around them. Also it is usually Mason who relights the candles in the dugout. This is symbolic to the fact that he is usually the one to break the tension. At the beginning of the scene, when all the candles are out, Mason is framed in the doorway against the Very lights, before he lights the candles and wakes Stanhope up. This is depicting the way he is breaking the tension from the previous nights argument and how he is cheering everyone up, be it with hot tea or with his tactful handling of Hibbert later on. In the final part of the scene we see how the relationship between Stanhope and Raleigh is more that just professional. As Stanhope hears news of men getting wounded, he acts calmly and plans the best course of action to help them, but when he hears of ...read more.

Conclusion

He tries to break the silences by getting up at every available opportunity to get Raleigh tea, water etc. Coming to the end in the scene we see "the rosy red glow of the Very lights deepen to an angry red colour". This is to prepare us for the impact of what happens next, and also it represents the anger felt by Stanhope when Raleigh dies. When Stanhope gets no reply from Raleigh it is apparent that he is dead. Stanhope is struck by this and he sits down and does not move. He is distant from anyone else as is shown when he is called up to the line by the Private. It takes the soldier two attempts to get Stanhope attention. At the end of the play Sherriff leaves it to the audiences imagination about what happens to the rest of the company, not telling us if they live or die. This is an adequately dramatic ending, in keeping with the rest of the play in which much is left to the imagination of the audience, and relies on them making assumptions and drawing conclusions. It is not known whether Stanhope comes out of this alive, the chance is slim but there is hope. ...read more.

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