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What is R.C Sheriff's message and how does he convey it?

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Introduction

What is R.C Sheriff's message and how does he convey it? 'Journey's End' is a play written by R.C Sheriff. It is written based on the author's own experiences during WW1. The play is set in trench warfare in 1918, but was written in 1928 which was the 10 year anniversary of the Armistice (the agreement to end the war). Britain declared war on Germany in August of 1914 and the mood in Britain was one of heroic optimism. Millions of young men enlisted in the army with the firm belief that they'd be home for Christmas; but World War 1 lasted for four years. By Christmas 1914, millions of men were dug into trenches in France either side of no-mans land. Thousands of men died. 'Journey's End' is an anti-war play written by Sheriff to try and bring home the experience of war and show what a waste of valuable lives it was. ...read more.

Middle

This shows how desperate the soldiers were to escape the war and how terrible it was for them if they'd rather die than go out into the warfare. Another dramatically tense moment in the play is when Osborne and Raleigh have been chosen to go "over the top" to raid the German trench for a prisoner. Raleigh as usual is in high spirits and is very excited about the attack. Osborne however is more understanding to the situation and does not underestimate the task ahead. He leaves his ring behind "...in case anything should happen" so that Stanhope can pass it on to his wife. The audience would feel very uneasy now realising the true danger that the men face and the fact that they might not return. It also shows that the men are nervous by their idle conversation about very trivial things: "D'you like coffee better than tea" "I do for breakfast". ...read more.

Conclusion

The way that the audience get to know and understand the characters before they are killed is very effective. It portrays the realism that experienced men such as Stanhope, who had been fighting in the trenches for a long time, would often have watched their entire friends and comrades die. On page 27 Stanhope tells Osborne how "there is not a man left who was here when I came." This brings home the experiences of war to the people back at home. Sheriff along with other war poets such as Wilfred Owen, was responsible for the people back at home understanding what terrible things were happening in the trenches. Sheriff conveys his message in a very dramatic and effective way that really brings home the experience of the war. He made sure the people back at home understood that war was dangerous and that the soldiers were risking their lives just being in the trenches. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ruth Pates ...read more.

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