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How effectively does Sherriff portray the reality of war in 'Journey's end'?

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How effectively does Sherriff portray the reality of war in 'Journey's end'? The Play 'Journey's End' was first ever produced in 1929, ten years after the First World War. Its author, R.C Sherriff was born in 1896. On the outbreak of the First World War he joined the army, and served as a captain in the East Surrey regiment. It was due to this experience that Sheriff with held, that his play became an immediate success. In Journey's End, Sherriff depicts the true realities of war. He did not give the false image of war that it was made out to be, he told everyone the truth, and this is what earned his play the popularity it still holds today. After finding himself wounded Sheriff was sent home, and with nothing else to do and the war still fresh in his mind, he wrote a detailed journal of his familiarity with war. This is where he articulated every painful memory he had of the war. Then he put it away as he knew no one was ready to hear the truth of the war, they were too worried in trying to forget it ever happened. It was only ten years after the war, when Sherriff was asked to write a play for his local rowing club, that he started to unleash his memory, and with help of his journal, he wrote a detailed and truthful play of what happened in the trenches in the First World War. After, much persuasion, a London theatre agreed to show the play, and it was an instant success. It was obvious that now people wanted to hear the real details of what happened in the war. ...read more.


He's looking after the men coming in.' This at first gives us the impression that he has much authority as he is telling Osborne what to do. We think that he may be a mature gentleman who,' likes having a word with the company manager he's relieving.' However or impressions could dramatically change when Hardy asks, 'how is the dear young boy? Drinking as usual?' Sherriff now creates the impression that Stanhope is not as mature and is more of a 'young boy'. Sherriff is here using Stanhope as a stereotype of a type of man that would be in the war. He is shown as a man, who suffers under the strain that they are put under, but forces his way through it and still stands strong at the end of it. He portrays this image as heroic, compared to other characters attitudes to war. Throughout the play there are man other characters that Sherriff uses as stereo types, with whom we meet later on in the play. Due to these obvious drinking problems, it makes us think that there is something about Stanhope that we have not been shown, which would push him further to resort to drinking such excessive amounts. By doing this Sherriff has shown us another reality of war as each man is secretive and holds with them the secrets about themselves that the other officers would not know the secret about their home lives. This may have been because they did not want to talk about what or who they were missing back home and what or who they may never see again. ...read more.


Sherriff did not blame the German soldiers. He made it very clear at the beginning that they were just men in the same situation as the English soldiers. Sherriff uses Osborne as he describes one incident,' a big German officer stoop up in their trenches and called out: 'carry him!' - and our fellows stood up and carried the man back and the German officer fired some lights for them to see by.' Sherriff has shown that neither side at the war really loathed the other side as they were meant to, but they were both just facing the same horrible experiences of war. There are only few reasons in which it could be argued that the play does not portray the reality of war. One of the reasons is that Sherriff does not focus a lot on the fighting, when in fact it was a large part of the war. Also, as he was creating a play, he may have tried to make it entertaining to watch as he wanted it to be a success, and in doing this, created aspects of it that were not realistic. Also, as the play was based on his experience, it may not have been the same for every officer. In conclusion, I think that the play 'Journey's End' does portray the reality of life in the trenches extremely effectively as it was based on Sheriff's own experience of the true reality of war. I believe that each page hides many different realities of the war, both the unexpected and the expected, and overall the play is almost mimicking the action and harsh realities of life in the trenches of the First World War. ...read more.

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