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Journeys End

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Introduction

Jonathan Carver 11Na Mrs Swift English Journeys End is set in the First World War. It is written by R C Sheriff who was a soldier in the war. He was wounded in the battle of Passchendale in 1917 so knows what it is like being in the army in the middle of a war. There are not many characters in this play but almost all have a large part in the play. The play 'Journeys End' was first performed on stage in 1928 with Laurence Olivier acting the role of the Commander, Stanhope. It was such a success that by 1929 there were fourteen companies performing the play. This was just in England! The play starts off with the C Company commanded by Stanhope getting ready to face an onslaught by the German army. There are five officers in the trench who are getting ready to face the biggest battle of their lives. They are Mason, Raleigh, Osborne, Trotter Hibbert and Hardy. This play tells us about many things that happen to people when they are at war. During this play you can see the differences in the characters start to grow especially Raleigh. However, this is only because he just came into the army. He is the youngest and the least experienced. The others had already been the army for a while before the story started. The play starts with Hardy sounding really cheery. He is singing a song, obviously trying to get his mind off the events happening and the constant threat of being killed, just like many of his friends and relatives who had died before him. Osborne comes in and talks to Hardy. Osborne seems to be a lot less cheerful than Hardy. This could be because Hardy is about to have a break from the front line so can rest. Osborne is just starting. During the point where Osborne and Hardy are talking to each other Hardy makes about three main points. ...read more.

Middle

Osborne and Stanhope seem very close. When Hardy starts to complain about Stanhope and calling him a drunkard, Osborne immediately jumps on the side of Stanhope and says that he is not a drunkard but just needs a few drinks to settle his nerves. The way he says this with a lot of anger, it shows that Osborne is trying to defend him even though he knows that Hardy is right. Osborne is always the one who tells the new soldiers everything they need to learn about what to do etc. For example when Raleigh arrives for the first time, Osborne is the first to speak to him. He has a long conversation with Raleigh about things such as the 'Very lights' and 'Lancer's alley'. The Very lights are the lights that both sides use to see if there are going to be any raids in the dark from the opposition. Lancers alley is a long, winding path which leads the British towards the trenches. He tells Raleigh not to take his uniform off so that when the Germans attack, they can get to the trench quicker and do not have to get changed first. They then have a conversation about what they do back home. Osborne purposely tries to get the conversation off the war for his sake and Raleigh's. He talks about things which Raleigh is obviously interested in, which is mainly sports including 'rugger' and cricket. He copes with the war like this unlike Stanhope who turns to his drinking. Osborne is also a fighter. When he has to fight he does not complain, in fact he never complains unless it is in a joked format such as when they have no pepper. Near the end of the play, Osborne gets killed by a stray hand grenade. He died bravely when he was waiting for Raleigh. However, the Sergeant Major does not seem particularly bothered about him dying. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is a carefree individual but always seems to look on the bright side of life. The only time where he seems to get down is where he says to the rest of the men "Always the same, am I. (He sighs) Little you know" This makes me think he is more sensitive than the others give him credit for. If it wasn't for Trotter I think that the whole of the C Company would be really miserable as he is the only one who really starts to help people enjoy themselves in the evening. In summary I think everyone has been affected but some have been able to cope better than others. Mason seems to just want to get on with the job, followed by Trotter who also ignores many of the awful conditions and problems in the trenches. The most affected is Hibbert who needs Stanhope to sort him out and Stanhope himself, who turns to drink to help him mask the reality and cope with the pressures and stress of the situation. He has the most strain on him as he is in charge of all the other officers in the play. He is the one who changes most obviously. When he walked into the dugout for the first time, he is very snappy and irritable. However, according to Osborne and especially Raleigh, he was not like this before. This book shows how much the war changes people. It is obviously a very scary time for everybody involved, especially with as much responsibility as Stanhope. Everyone copes in different ways and this is shown in the play. Some people are not affected much at all; however, most people absolutely hate the experience and are constantly scared of injury or more importantly, losing their lives. This is why Hibbert acted so dramatically when he tried to leave. He could not take any more of it. Raleigh is the only enthusiastic one. This was because he was new and excited to be an officer. 1 ...read more.

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