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JOURNEY'S END - The Changing Relationship Between Stanhope and Raleigh

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JOURNEY'S END - The Changing Relationship Between Stanhope and Raleigh Journey's End is a well received play written in 1928, by R.C Sherriff. The play is set in a trench system, which were used during most of the Great War. In the play we get an insight into a fascinating relationship between a Junior officer, Raleigh, and the commanding officer, Stanhope. The relationship shows us some effects of the war and it has many ups and down which are well portrayed. During this essay I will comment about the ever changing relationship between young Raleigh and Stanhope. Commanding officer Stanhope is the company commander and is therefore under constant pressure, as he had to make tactical decisions and is also responsible for the welfare for a number of officers. Stanhope is considered as one of the best infantry commanders, ' He's a long way the best company commander we've got', Osborne (Pg 4). Stanhope forms a strong bond the officers, he is seen as hard working and passionate, 'His commanded this company for a year - in and out of the front line. He's never had a rest. Other men come over here and go home again ill, young Stanhope goes on sticking it, mouth in, mouth out', Osborne (pg6). Stanhope particularly forms a strong bond with Officer Osborne, Stanhope has been involved in war activities since the war started and we see that during this time Stanhope has grown a close relationship with Osborne, and sees him as an 'Uncle-figure'. Numerous times we see that Stanhope refers to Osborne as, 'Uncle'. The character of Stanhope also shows the dread and stress of war, we learn of commander Stanhope drinking vice, often he is reduced to endless bottles of whisky to revert from the stress of war, it shows how badly men were affected. His problem with drinking is seen to a large extent, the reason why the relationship between himself and Raleigh is never stable and is continually changing. ...read more.


Stanhope answers back by shouting, ' don't "Dennis" me! Stanhope's my name! You're not at school! Go an inspect your rifles!'. This sudden outburst is what shows Stanhope's true frustration and stress, we feel sorry for Raleigh as he is innocent, it must be heart breaking for Raleigh for his friend to say that to him and so there relationship heavily changes. Eventually Osborne reads the letter out to Stanhope, and a strong sense of guilt kicks in. In Raleigh's letter he writes how amazing Stanhope is, how he is considered the best and works ' so frightfully hard'. Raleigh says of how the 'men love him' and how ' awfully proud I am to be his friend'. This is a real blow to Stanhope, he feels a great amount of guilt, he knows he was in the wrong as Raleigh is only young and that he should be setting an example. From that point onwards the relationship crumbles, the two do not readily converse. Raleigh wants to keep far away from Stanhope as he feels unwanted and he is confused. Instead he becomes more friendly with Osborne and the two converse and talk about home which makes them feel better and boosts their moral. In act 2 scene 2 we learn of a raid taking place and how Osborne would be chosen for duty. But we also learn of the sergeant-majors idea to pick Raleigh to give him experience, even though there is a possibility that he may lose his life. And Stanhope reacts to this, he feels guilty with what happened over the letter fiasco and tries to talk the major out of it, ' his awfully new to this. It's rotten to send a fellow who's only just arrived', this does show that Stanhope genuinely cares for young Raleigh, but ultimately Raleigh ad Osborne are chosen, along with ten men for the raid. ...read more.


Slowly and painfully Raleigh becomes whiter and fades away from Stanhope, ' Could we have a light? It's - it's so frightfully dark and cold'. Stanhope fetches a blanket and comes back to Raleigh, Raleigh is inactive and Stanhope takes his and there is a long silence...... Stanhope is called by a soldier, a bravely battles through all his emotions and goes back into action, even though he has just lost a young friend, this shows his commitment and there the story ends. The relationship between Raleigh and Stanhope is ever changing, at first we assumed the relationship would go well, considering that Raleigh and Stanhope had been long friends. But then the relationship takes a twist and breaks down, this is mainly due to Stanhope. Stanhope is seen as hard working and intelligent, as well as being under pressure. The war as we can see has evidently changed Stanhope and so he turns to drink, and from then on Stanhope is never the same and Raleigh cannot have the same bond, which they shared back in England. We see the relationship gets worse and worse as Stanhope feels under pressure to look after young Raleigh and fears Raleigh will tell his sister what he has become. We see many outbursts by Stanhope, mainly when Stanhope supposedly has to censor the letters and also when Osborne dies. The relationship is never as strong as its used to be, and the moment Stanhope sees Raleigh, we notice this change. But in the emotional end, the relationship does end on a high note, Raleigh's imminent death is extremely sad and makes Stanhope realise what a fool he has been. Stanhope feels guilty and we see how they call each other by their first names , ' Jimmy ' and ' Dennis'. And in the end they do restore some of what they used to had and so we can conclude that the relationship did improve at the end, it seems as if it where old times once again as they call each other by their first names. ...read more.

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