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'Jouney's End' by R.C Sherriff

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Introduction

'Jouney's End' by R.C Sherriff Robert Inman Journey's End is a 'fly-on-the-wall' insight into the lives of the officers in command of 'C' company in the First World War trenches. The conversations between the characters are mostly small talk which is contrary to the horrific situation which confronts them daily. The play shows what life in the trenches was like and in this essay I am going to write about how successful "Jouney's End" is in portraying the horrors and stresses of trench warfare. The Plot The play opens with Hardy and Osborne, two officers disscussing the events of the day and handing over the watch. The new officer 'Raleigh' arrives and he is introduced to Trotter, afellow officer and Stanhope who is the commaning officer an went to the same school as Raleigh. The officers learn of the German attack due on Thursday and Stanhope is summoned to the Colonel to plan a raid to capture a German soldier in order to confirm this knowledge. Raleigh and Osborne are chosen to carry out the raid much against Stanhope's better judgement. The raid is carried out and Osborne is killed. The following day the attack occurs, Raleigh is mortally injured and Stanhope comforts him as the battle goes on until he is hastily called up to the other trenches. ...read more.

Middle

Bring some pepper, Mason." The Set The Set is purely a British trench with a wooden bench against the wall. With beds and boxes to sit on, a table which occupies most of the room and candles for light. The whole atmosphere is cold, dark and dank. "A table occupies a good space of the dug-out floor. A wooden frame, covered with wire netting, stands against the left wall and serves the double purpose of a bed and a seat for the table. A wooden bench agaibnst the back wall makes another seat, and the two boxes serve for the other sides." As a result of this I believe the set is very realistic in showing the conditions the men had to live in and the sounds from outside the trenches were used to very good effect. As there are prolonged periods of inactivity the men have their own ways of passing the time. Stanhope spends his time drinking: HARDY ...."drank a whole bottle in one hour and fourteen minutes - we timed him" He also talks about his past: STANHOPE ...."You know what that means at school. I was the skipper of Rugger and all that sort of thing...." Trotter draws on paper to pass the time: TROTTER ...."I going to draw a hundred and forty-four little circles on a bit o' paper, and every hour I'm going to black one in, that'll make the time go alright." ...read more.

Conclusion

You bloody little swine! You think I don't care - you think you're the only soul that cares!" All the officers have different methods for coping with the stress of their duties: Stanhope copes purely by drinking to blot out the horrors of war and at more than one point the stress seems to be too much for him: STANHOPE ...."I know what you feel, Hibbert. I've known all along - " HIBBERT ...."How can you know?" STANHOPE ...."Because I feel the same - exactly the same! Every little noise up there makes me feel - just as you feel. Hibbert tries to fake an illness to avoid his responsibilities and ultimately get sent home. HIBBERT ...."I can't bear to go up into those awful trenches again - " Osborne always tries to change the subject if the topic is too difficult for him to handle. RALEIGH ...."How topping if we both get the M.C.!" OSBORNE ...."Yes.(Pause.)Your coffee sweet enough? The play offers an insight into several aspects of the First World War Terrible living conditions Relentless stress and fear Periods of boredom Huge pointless waste of life Ineptitude of the commanding officers I feel the play was very realistic in showing numerous small often insignificant details of life in the trenches which combine to make a full picture of what it was like in the First World War. ...read more.

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