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"Journey's End" By R.C Sherriff - Discuss and describe Sherriffs presentation of the following themes: Cowardice, Heroism, Comradeship and Friendship

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Introduction

"Journey's End" By R.C Sherriff Discuss and describe Sherriffs presentation of the following themes: * Cowardice * Heroism * Comradeship and Friendship Journey's End is a play about the full horror and futility of the trench welfare in the First World War. During the war, the playwright R.C Sherriff was an officer who was wounded in battle. He bases the play upon his real life experiences - mirroring the way he and his comrades fought and lived, re-living some of his past experiences. The play gives the audience a clear insight into the reality of life at war and explores the harsh conditions experienced by soldiers and officers at the front line. Sherriff showed a lot of different themes in his play, which made it very effective. R.C Sherriff presents many different ways in which men reacted to the pressures of the First World War. He uses Hibbert to show the way some of the soldiers reacted, and then presents the opposite view of Stanhope who, despite being typical perfect solider, still has is moments of fear and self-doubt.

Middle

When Osborne and Raleigh are sent down to the raid, a positive impression of Osborne's character is steadily built up, firstly by the removal of his wedding ring. "Yes. I'm-I'm leaving it here. I don't want the risk of losing it." Although Osborne doesn't directly mention he is leaving the ring for his wife, the audience will know different. We can see that Osborne is merely accepting his own death yet he avoids talking about it. I feel great sympathy towards Osborne at this point as he is now feeling the strains of war. He had been the one to sympathise with everyone else and disguise the horror of war by supporting the officers through the situation, however his true feelings are now being shown and we can clearly see he is missing his family and prays for a life away from war. This courage convincingly show the audience that Osborne is a character to admire and his death is greatly upsetting for both his fellow soldiers and the audience. After Osbornes death we would normally expect Stanhope to be in mourning and deeply distressed by the death however Stanhope continues to drink.

Conclusion

It finally allows us to see how Stanhope feels about Raleigh. He says to him: "I'm going to have you taken away... Down to the dressing station - then hospital - then home." Stanhope must have truly thought of Raleigh as his friend, otherwise he wouldn't have sat next to him when he was dying and tried to comfort him. Stanhope stays by Raleigh even minutes after his death. At the end of the play I finally realised the brutality of war, it was very moving as many soldiers died when the trench collapsed including Raleigh. However we are still unsure what happened to Stanhope, Hibbert or Trotter. The death of Raleigh symbolises the appalling waste of lives during the First World War. The audience probably warmed to Raleigh because of his eagerness and excitement, however he never realised the full extent of the war until the raid. I think that Sherriff's message was to show people the effects of war on soldier's minds. I also feel that Sherriff had a hidden message of wanting to convey the full scale horror of war, both physically and mentally. A small disagreement between two countries or two opposing sides can result in a massive loss of life. Bottom of Form Jennene Flavell

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