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Compare and Contrast the Presentation of the Psychological Effects of the WarAnd the Setting on Stanhope, Osborne and Raleigh in 'Journey's End', andHilliard and Barton in 'Strange Meeting'

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Presentation of the Psychological Effects of the War And the Setting on Stanhope, Osborne and Raleigh in 'Journey's End', and Hilliard and Barton in 'Strange Meeting' Written by R.C Sherriff in 1928, 'Journey's End' was the cause of controversy when the play was first produced in 1929, as the play's subject matter, the War itself, was still considered a raw period in history. 'Strange Meeting', written by Susan Hill in 1971, shared this subject matter yet, as Hill wrote of the War several decades later, she presented it from a differing perspective. Both authors however, present an extremely anti-war stance through their texts. Sherriff presents a microcosm of the War; setting all of the action within one dugout due to the restrictions of the stage, focussing on one small group of men. This enables Sherriff to present a detailed account of the events of the play, depicting a vivid image of life in the front line trenches, and the effect it had on the men involved. Similarly, Hill uses claustrophobic settings for her novel, although these settings vary unlike those in Sherriff's play. The limitations of a stage production consequently allow Sherriff to emphasise the strength and nature of the relationships between the men, due to the close proximity in which they live, through stage directions and set. Focussing on a small group of protagonists, Sherriff is able to present several stereotypes of soldiers throughout the War. Similarly, Hill bases the action of her novel around two central protagonists and several supporting characters, which enables her to present details of the formation of close relationships between men living in such close proximity, under such stress, through utilising different literary techniques, such as switching from the third person perspective to first person in Barton's letters. ...read more.

Middle

Contrary to this objective insight given by Hill, the limitations of the play as a genre mean that Sherriff uses stage directions to show Stanhope's feelings of dismay towards Raleigh upon first meeting him. Stage directions state that; 'he [Stanhope] stops at the sight of Raleigh. There is silence.' Sherriff then demonstrates Stanhope only talking to Raleigh in short, simple sentences, enabling the audience to recognise Stanhope's discomfort at Raleigh's presence; 'How did you - get here?' or avoiding speaking to Raleigh whenever possible. Raleigh and Stanhope are acquainted with each other since their schooldays, it would be expected that Stanhope would be more open and inviting towards Raleigh. Instead, Sherriff depicts a man emotionally withdrawn and guarded, using blunt remarks such as 'Oh. I see.' Hill's portrayal of the meeting between Hilliard and Barton parallels Sherriff's depiction of the meeting between Stanhope and Raleigh, however there are differences due to the different circumstances of the meetings; Stanhope meets someone from his past whereas Hilliard meets someone new. While Hilliard, despite fearing meeting Barton, discovers that he's surprisingly drawn to him, Stanhope is pleasant towards the 'new officer'; 'Oh, sorry...I didn't see you in this miserable light', until the realisation of who this officer is, causing his manner to change. Stanhope withdraws and becomes fairly guarded. The differing attitudes of Hilliard and Stanhope towards Barton and Raleigh can be justified by scrutinising the characters' respective situations. Having become isolated and hardened by the War, Hilliard may have been drawn to Barton's innocence and naivety; a boy not yet ruined by the brutality of war. It's also possible that Hilliard saw an element of himself as a younger soldier, in Barton, and so warmed to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The strength and closeness of Stanhope's relationship with Osborne is reflected in Stanhope's reaction, as he satirises the point of the raid manoeuvre, adopting an extremely sarcastic tone; 'How awfully nice- if the brigadier's pleased.' He does this due to the realisation that his best friend and father-figure has just lost his life for no justifiable reason. The audience also witness Stanhope's despair at the loss of Osborne through the resentful tone he adopts towards Raleigh, who recognises this, stating 'You resent my being here'. Stanhope's 'voice is still, expressionless and dead' when speaking to him. Conversely, in 'Strange Meeting' Hill describes every aspect of Barton's experience as it happens, pinpointing the moment when Barton realises the complete futility of his actions; 'He thought, I shall stay here, I shall wait and warm my face in the sun and if they fire, they will fire...For it seemed not to matter, nobody's life mattered...He was here to make a map.' Through Barton admitting the futility of his assigned task, Hill is expressing her own view that the War, in macrocosm, was futile. This can also be said of Sherriff, perhaps through Stanhope's sarcastic comments, 'Still it'll be awfully nice if the brigadier's pleased', Despite the contrasting genres of Sherriff's and Hill's texts, they both effectively convey the psychological effects of war, caused by the physical demands. Through stage directions and dialogue, Sherriff is able to depict the behaviour of soldiers and the formation of close relationships that bind them. Similarly, Hill vividly describes the psychological progress of her characters, utilising the first and third person perspectives, enabling the reader to empathise with her characters. 2948 words ?? ?? ?? ?? Bethany Weston - 1 - ...read more.

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