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How effectively does Sherriff convey life in the trenches?

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Introduction

How effectively does Sherriff convey life in the trenches? It is a lot harder to convey living conditions and aspects of life in plays than in films or novels. This is due to almost constant conversation rather than descriptive narrative. 'Journey's End' is a microcosm of what life was like for many soldiers in World War 1. All of the soldiers would be constantly battling with fear, coping with boredom and being forced to live in the dirty, unhygienic living conditions. A major hardship of living in the trenches was having to battle with the constant overshadowing fear. Different people would have had different solutions of dealing with it, and some people will have found it too hard to bear. Hibbert is one of these people, he faked having neuralgia in the eye so he could be sent back. After attempting to get past Stanhope on page 57, Hibbert explains how he feels, "Ever since I came out here I've hated and loathed it. Every sound up there makes me all-cold and sick." This is how many soldiers in World War 1 would have felt and many, like Hibbert would try to be sent home, or to hospital. Later on the same page Stanhope confesses to Hibbert that he feels the same way "We all feels like you do sometimes" ...read more.

Middle

The same thing happens after the raid when Stanhope tells the Colonel that Osbourne has been killed. The Colonel says sorry, but in such a way which suggests he doesn't really mean it. On page 4 is another example of how upper ranks didn't care about the front line soldiers. Hardy is handing over the position to Osbourne and is going through the list of equipment. Hardy explains to Osbourne how the trench has 34 gum boots, 25 right leg and 9 left leg. This shows the bad organisation of the equipment which is probably due to the higher ranks who get the equipment not caring for the welfare of the lower-ranked officers and soldiers. Strong relationships are often made in the trenches due to the close contact with people and crowded living conditions. The relationships between Osbourne and the rest of the company appear to be fairly strong. Osbourne is seen as a father figure to the men. We see this on page 31 when Osbourne has told Stanhope to go to sleep and as Stanhope is fairly drunk and disinhibited he says "Dear old Uncle. Tuck me up." From this line we can see how Stanhope especially depends on Osbourne to look after him when it was hard for him to stay sane. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stanhope is convinced this is the case so he decides to censor Raleigh's letters. It is only after Osbourne has decided read Raleigh's letter to Stanhope on page 47 that Stanhope realises he is overreacting and Raleigh respects him tremendously. Stanhope says that Raleigh hero-worships him but we see another major cause for Stanhope being unwelcoming to Raleigh when he's talking to Osbourne about him on page 27. "But it's rather damnable for that boy - of all the boys in the world - to have come to me. I might at least have been spared that." After having just said how there's not a man left that was there when Stanhope arrived, I think Stanhope is saying he doesn't want to see Raleigh die, like all the other men. This point really becomes apparent at the end of the play, just before Raleigh's death. "Well Jimmy, you got one quickly" this shows how Stanhope really does feel for Raleigh as he is taking care of him. Also, Stanhope uses Raleigh's first name, in it's familiar form, for the first time in the play which shows the emotion as Stanhope knows it is very likely that Raleigh will die. ?? ?? ?? ?? 11/04/2012 1 ...read more.

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