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How is fear and stress created in Journey's End?

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Introduction

In what way does R.C Sherriff recreate for his audience the tremendous fear and stress suffered by men at the front? The play Journey's End is based upon the author R.C. Sherriff's experiences during the First World War, after being seriously injured in the battle of Passchendaele in 1917 Sherriff began to write the play reflecting the way he and his comrades lived through the trench warfare. The play was written in 1928; just ten years after Sherriff had experienced the war. He is known for many other plays, novels and film scripts although it is for Journey's End that he is most well known. The characters have to cope somehow with the remarkable amount of anxiety which is thrown at them from the war, so Sherriff provides the audience with how the characters in the play handle their stress. Captain Stanhope, the commanding officer of the company, is referred to by the other men as 'the best company commander [they've] got' then again, from the pressure of being involved in the World War Stanhope has put himself in such a situation that could make the audience's possible reaction ambiguous. Firstly, the audience could refer to Stanhope as being an unstable character because of how Osborne describes him as being a potential 'freak show exhibit', although this has been said before Stanhope has been introduced into the play. ...read more.

Middle

He requires his food to be as exquisite as possible so he can focus his attention on something other than the war. Perhaps this is another way of coping with fear and stress, although Trotter's method relies on someone else to prepare and make the food as well as possible. Also, the officer's care a little too much about the trivial things they wouldn't care less about during their lives as home. This represents how Sherriff has made the war make the characters seem on edge sot they are becoming frustrated over unimportant aspects to their day to day lives. The men usually only have to shout Mason for him to come immediately, this shows he is constantly at their beck and call as he has nothing more significant to be doing. Whenever, Mason is speaking in the play he usually says as less as possible, this shows how he never needs to explain his points because his opinion isn't valued higher than the other men's, although it could also mean that Mason isn't intelligent enough to give his opinion in a structured and mature manner suited to the situation. This creates an impact on the rest of the group of men if there is a major difference in class. ...read more.

Conclusion

Based on the fact that Stanhope is of high importance to the company, his way of coping is in proportion to how much stress he thinks he has to deal with. Osborne, who is an Officer, has a moderate amount of stress therefore he has chosen to handle it by reading a children's book. In comparison to Stanhope, this method is much less major than drinking constantly. On the other hand, mason has an insignificant amount of stress due to his low importance to the company, even though he may have some amount of stress given to him by the high standards of the officers, Mason is not recognised to having a way of dealing with his stress. Linked with hierarchy, Raleigh represents a large amount of heroism in the play. Stanhope is identified as Raleigh's hero, perhaps this is due to the fact that he has contact with a family member of Raleigh's. Based upon the many different methods that Sherriff had used whilst writing his play, it is clear, once considering each method, that R.C Sherriff wanted to expose how different life of the soldiers were back then. How they had so much pressure to be forced to be devoted to using violence as a way of being patriotic to their own country. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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