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The Long The Short & The Tall

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Introduction

The Long The Short & The Tall "The long the short and the tall" is a play set in a Malyen jungle, in 1942, during the Japanese advance on Singapore. A small patrol of soldiers, led by Sargent Mitchem and his deputy Johnston corporal are in a small hut resting on a routine patrol. The first impression I formed of Mitchem was that he was a professional soldier. As soon as the soldiers had entered the hut, he insisted that the men 'Better mount a guard. Two men on stag.' We immediately get the impression that he is efficient. He positions two soldiers by the window, so that if there was any danger outside they will be able to give a warning. This shows that he is a good leader. My first impression of Johnstone is completely different. Unlike Mitchem, his main priority is not the safety of his men but quarrelling. As soon as he enters the hut he starts antagonising Banforth. He tells him, 'Get on your feet, lad!' which gives the impression that his priorities are not right. He is more concerned about his quarrel with Banforth than making the hut safe. He is patronising. He called Banforth 'lad' instead of by his name. I formed the impression that he is vindictive. ...read more.

Middle

Six or seven-five or six- or even two or three poor helpless wet-nurse ginks......' Here Mitchem is realistic. He does not lie to the men because he tells them the positive and the negative view. He manages to remain calm and honest. He keeps the men calm and manages to crush their panic. Before long Banforth spots a Japanese soldier. The soldier comes over to the hut and enters it. As soon as he enters, Johnstone 'lunges forward' and grabs him, putting his arm around his throat and his free hand over the soldiers' mouth. He grabs him professionally, so that he couldn't do any harm to the others. This shows he cares for the other soldiers. As soon as he's got the soldier into the room he tells the men 'Come on then, one of you! Get him! Quick...Evans! Do for him.' Johnstone wants to kill the prisoner. When he grabbed the soldier he gave the impression that he is efficient and is able to immobilise the soldier. In a way Johnstone is not a professional soldier because he did not think of how useful the Japanese soldier could be to them. As Mitchem is in charge he stops them from killing the soldier. Unlike Johnstone he immediately recognises the prisoner could give them useful information. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the play he returns to the hut with a bullet wound in his side and blood seeping through his shirt. He leans upon the door of the hut to regain his breath, when he hears the set spluttering to life. He slowly crosses to reach the set and tells the radio operator at base camp ' Get knotted! All of you! You hear?' This is Johnstone last act in the play. He has had enough of the war and is telling the rest of the soldiers to get lost. We are left with the impression that he does not care for the safety of the rest of the army because he is wounded and he knows he is not going to survive. In my opinion if Mitchem had been in Johnstone's situation he would have behaved completely differently. He would have told the men at base to get ready, to watch out because the Japanese were on their way. In conclusion, Mitchem is an excellent Sargent. He makes one fatal mistake. Unlike Johnstone his loyalty to the army is his priority. Mitchem's anger is always justified. He only rebukes when necessary and he is gentle and patient. Johnstone on the other hand is sadistic and unpleasant. He is a good soldier but he can not control his temper. He uses threats to impose his will and undermines people's confidence. Johnstone is not as professionals as Mitchem as he puts his personal feelings before his duty. ...read more.

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