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Discuss The Changes In The Character Bamforth

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Discuss The Changes In The Character Bamforth In the Malayan jungle in 1942 a british patrol is cut off from its base camp by the advancing Japanese. This hard hitting play explores what happpens when men have to confront the reality of war: can they kill another human being? It offers no easy answers but reveals the complex reactions of a group of ordinary soldiers under pressure. The character of Bamforth in the play 'The Long, The Short and The tall, by Willis Hall is a complex one. It seems to undergo a series of changes as the story continues, especially when the patrol come across the Japanese prisoner. At the start of the play, Bamforth obviously dislikes the Japanese. When the patrol first captures the Japanese prisoner, Bamforth is the only one (apart from Mitchem and Johnstone) who is willing to kill the prisoner. Bamforth says BAMFORTH: "It's only the same as carving up a pig." He would be ready, standing up Bayonet in hand, feeling for the right spot to enter the bayonet into the prisoners body. This quote shows that when he first meets the Japanese prisoner, he does not view him as a human with feelings. As he knows nothing about the man, he finds it easy to believe the propaganda he has heard about the Japanese. He thinks they are evil and would do the same thing to them. The other members of the patrol seem quite patient with Bamforth at the start of the play. ...read more.


This part of the play shows significant change on Bamforth's part. At the start of the play, he disliked the Japanese and cared only for himself. If others were in trouble, that was there fault and did not concern him. He tried to look tough by not caring. Now, for the first time we see a more emotional side to Bamforth. He is angry and upset at what the others have done to 'Tojo boy' BAMFORTH: "You had to rip his pictures up. You couldn't even leave him them." This quote shows him angry at the fact that the prisoner's pictures have been ripped up. For once, Bamforth is sticking up for somebody else. Does he really like the prisoner, though, or is he just using him to have a go at people. When the others think that the prisoner was looting, and stole the cigarette case, Bamforth still defends the prisoner. He then uses this to attack Whitaker again:- BAMFORTH: "The terror of the Newcastle Church Army Hostel: Private Winnie Whitaker." This quote is part of Bamforth constantly bullying Whitaker, because of some stolen goods he owned. This starts to make us believe that Bamforth may be using the prisoner to attack and embarrass Whitaker, and that he may not like the prisoner as a person all that much. If Bamforth does actually like the prisoner, why does he like him above everybody else? Every other member of the patrol is human, and have girlfriends and a family, so why is the prisoner different. ...read more.


He is deeply cynical about the army and he challenges its authority at every opportunity. When he first meets the Japanese prisoner, he is the only private willing to kill the prisoner and he treats the prisoner like a circus animal. After he sees the prisoner's photos, he realizes that the prisoner is a human. After that, Bamforth is friendly towards the prisoner. Bamforth shares his cigarettes with him and offers him food and water. By the end of the play, Bamforth is the only member of the patrol willing to defend the prisoner's life. This shows dramatic change in Bamforth from the start of the play. He sticks up for somebody else, somebody who he does not know. His attitude to the Japanese has changed entirely. He has become a friend to one, and is being nice to him. However, Bamforth does not totally change. His attitude towards the prisoner changes, but his general character does not. Right at the very end of the play, he is still insulting Whitaker, rather then trying to help everyone escape from the Japanese. Instead of using reason and convincing speeches, which he may be capable of, to try and stop people killing the prisoner, he is rude and aggressive, just like he is at the start of the play. He still does not have any friends inside the group and he still challenges authority. This disrespect is clear near the end of Act Two, where Bamforth has a scuffle with Mitchem over the prisoner. Overall, Bamforth has changed in some ways, but in others, he remains exactly the same Bamforth as he was at the beginning. By Hasan Ehsan 10BL ...read more.

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