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Critical Evaluation of a Novel - Journey's End by R.C. Sherriff.

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Introduction

Critical Evaluation of a Novel Journey's End by R.C. Sherriff Journey's End by R.C.Sherriff is a dramatic 19th century play about the happenings in the British Trenches, during the First World War. The play of Journey's End is set in a dug-out in the British trenches before St.Quentin. The drama is set in 1918. Journey's End is a true and typical story about what life really would have been like in the British Trenches during the war. In all of the chapters R.C.Sherriff is able to successfully create the right atmosphere. He is also able to convey the feelings of the characters in a way that you as the reader are experiencing all the happenings that take place throughout the play. The characters in Journey's End are all chosen well and fit in well with the story. We have Captain Stanhope who is commander of the company. Osborne, Trotter, Hibbert and Raleigh who are officers of the company, Hardy who is an officer of another company and Mason the cook. Conflict between the characters in this play is a central to understanding. Perhaps the most striking relationship which we encounter in Journey's End is that between Company commander Stanhope and General Raleigh. The conflict between the two characters starts early on in the play just after Raleigh arrives in 'C' Company, Stanhope's regiment. ...read more.

Middle

Stanhope says: "You know he'll write and tell her I reek of whisky all day." Stanhopes is scared that Raleigh will write home to Madge and tell her about him. Stanhope thinks very low of himself, he thinks that he's a coward and so he has to be doped with whisky all the time to overcome the stress. Stanhope is not sure what to do, now but then he suddenly comes up with the idea of censorship. He says that he will censor all of Raleigh's letters and cross out all the things mentioned about him and then Madge would carry on liking him. A few days later, Raleigh enters the dug-out to hand in a letter to send to his family. Stanhope confronts him and tells him to leave the letter open because he has to censor all the letters. Raleigh politely replies: "Oh, I - I didn't realise that. I - I think - I'll just leave it then." Raleigh then unbuttons his tunic pocket to put the letter away, when Stanhope suddenly shouts: "Give me that letter." Raleigh seems to be a little taken back but continues to protest that he didn't know and that it was private. This makes Stanhope even angrier and so suddenly Stanhope grabs Raleigh's wrist and tears the letter from his hand. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the celebration Hibbert says to Stanhope that Raleigh said to him, he preferred being up with the men instead of down with them. After the celebration dinner, Stanhope asks Trotter about Raleigh and says to him: "Doesn't his repulsive little mind make you sick?" This is a bit unfair because after all Raleigh hasn't done much wrong and he just doesn't understand that everyone is having a celebration dinner just to forget about Osborne's death. Later on in the night Stanhope consults Raleigh face to face about what he told Hibbert and why he didn't come down for tea. Raleigh soon comes clean with Stanhope and asks him how they could eat when Osborne was dead. Stanhope gets very annoyed and angrily speaks with Raleigh and tells him it was to forget and he did care because Osborne was his best friend, and the only man he could trust. The resolution of this play is a very good one and it is also very effective. In the play, it is understood that Stanhope seems to act in an unkind way to Raleigh but this is not the true Stanhope. His real nature is revealed in the final part of the play where we see that the two companions share the old friendship they once had again. At the end of the play when Raleigh is struck in the back, it makes him and Stanhope share there friendship once again and shows us how close the two of them are when Stanhope calls Raleigh Jimmy. ...read more.

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