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Language used in "Journey's End"

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Introduction

Language used in "Journey's End" Journey's End was R.C. Sherriff's only major theatrical production and had had relatively little experience of playwriting before. However, the language in the play does not show any evidence of this. Being set in the trenches in the Great War, and being with a serious, ingrained message, the play needed to be presented to the audience powerfully and effectively. The language needed to show the characters and their language as they would have been had they had actually been in the trenches at the time and make sure that they were as realistic as possible. Sherriff has aimed to relate the characters' speech directly to their character but also to create a powerful picture in the minds of the audience. One of his main aims in the play was to present the public with a play to show the real attitudes during the war. ...read more.

Middle

Sherriff also focuses greatly on the actions and movements of each character. He does this to portray the character in the scene exactly as he wants them to be perceived by the audience. This is shown in Act One where Raleigh arrives in the trench for the first time and his uneasy disposition as a newcomer to the dugout is clearly apparent. Sherriff explains: "An officer comes groping down the steps and stands in the candle-light. He looks round, a bit bewildered. He is a well built, healthy looking boy of about eighteen, with the new uniform of a 2nd lieutenant." This is typical of Sherriff's descriptive technique. Whenever an action or character arrives for the first time in the play, we are always informed first of his appearance, then of his expression and manner. R.C. Sherriff has given each character a dialect that suits their personality. Trotter has a less educated or refined dialect that that of Osbourne or Raleigh. ...read more.

Conclusion

I want to strengthen the wire all along the front." This shows Stanhope to be confident in his tone and uninfluenced by any doubts, whereas when in a state of anxiety, he loses this ability, as shown in the same act, only a few lines later: "Osbourne: Lets talk about something else, croquet or the war. Stanhope: (laughing) Sorry! It's a habit that's grown on me lately- to look right through things, and on and on- till I get frightened and stop." Stanhope's language takes on another, completely different form when in anger. All composure and fluency is lost on these occasions and instead his language becomes aggressive and scathing and loses any rationality whatsoever. This is displayed most notably against Hibbert in Act Two and against Raleigh in Act Three. "Stanhope: So you know more about my men then I do? Raleigh: I'm sorry then- if I was wrong. Stanhope: Sit down. Raleigh: It's all right thanks. Stanhope: (shouting) Sit down! The features and personalities of all the characters are described, at least implicitly, and each character ha unique styles of language to complement their personalities. ...read more.

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