• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Write an analysis of R. C. Sherriffs presentation of soldiers under stress in the trenches and examine the ways in which class attitudes of British society during the Great War are reflected in the play.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1. Write an analysis of R. C. Sherriff's presentation of soldiers under stress in the trenches. 2. Examine the ways in which class attitudes of British society during the Great War are reflected in the play. Robert Cedric Sherriff was born on 6 June 1896 in Middlesex and was educated at Kingston Grammar School in Kingston upon Thames. Before and part way through World War One Sherriff worked as a clerk in an insurance office. From 1915 to 1918 he served as a captain in the 9th East Surrey Regiment, during which time he was awarded the Military Cross. He served at Vimy and Loos in France, and was severely wounded near Ypres in 1917. "Journey's End" is based on his experiences whilst serving in the war that he recorded in detail in his journal. The play juxtaposes the honour system of the middle and upper classes and the horrific reality of war that these soldiers had to live and fight through. Sherriff doesn't show the horrors of war in the play; he suggests it, which is a more effective portrayal for the audience. Sherriff wrote "Journey's End" in 1928 originally for Kingston Rowing Club to perform to raise money for a new boat, but it was too hard for them and was eventually performed on 9 December 1928 by the Incorporated Stage Society at the Apollo Theatre for one night. ...read more.

Middle

The request for this nepotistic action shows that Raleigh doesn't comprehend the magnitude and seriousness of the war. Most of the conversations held between the officers throughout the play are held in a jolly manner, to distract from the horrific situation they are in. Sherriff shows how understatements were used by officers to distance themselves - after a raid in which many people were killed one of the officers makes the comment "There's nothing worse than dirt in your tea." Sherriff shows how the officers created parallels with home to help cope by bringing a sense of familiarity to the trenches in their habits and actions. Even when planning an attack on the German frontline, the colonel invites Stanhope to dinner. The playwright shows how people moved on and the war effort continued even after tragic losses when the officers have a grand dinner to celebrate the raid in which seven men and an officer were killed. Luxuries such as champagne and chicken helped them distance themselves from the horror of what had occurred because they could not cope with such emotional trauma if they did not try to forget it. The distance in No Man's Land was described in "rugger fields" because it is something that they could relate to. Sherriff further reinforces the representation of Raleigh as the ignorant public after he is traumatised by a raid, and confronts Stanhope as to why he can celebrate when Osborne died. ...read more.

Conclusion

The classes have certain agreements within themselves, for example the upper class officers don't read each other's letters even though the rules dictate they should. The lower class soldiers don't mix with the officers, and Stanhope tells Raleigh off for doing so. He asks Raleigh, "Have you been feeding with the men?" implying that the men are sub-human and not worthy of being addressed in the same way as someone of a higher class. Sherriff shows how in some ways Trotter is an outcast in the group of middle class officers because of his working class origins and mannerisms. This is shown when Osborne does not want to discuss Hibbert behind his back with Trotter. The officers are seen by the men as leaders because they are of a higher rank and class, so for the raid the colonel has to pick one to lead the assault, rather than use a non-commissioned officer of a lower class such as a sergeant. Sherriff shows this clear class separation when Osborne asks Hardy where the men sleep, and Hardy replies that the sergeant sorts it out; i.e. he is too high class to bother with the men. As "Journey's End" is based around officers and their experience of the trenches, the low-ranking soldiers do not appear in the play much. Sherriff represents them and his views about them through the characters Mason and Trotter. These views may be slightly biased, but they are fairly accurate representations of what people of different classes were like. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE RC Sheriff section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE RC Sheriff essays

  1. Examine the presentation of Stanhope in R

    Seeing Raleigh reminds Stanhope of his old self image where he was strong and courageous but the dramatic effects of war have made him question his strength as an individual. There are many dramatically tense moments in the play that develop Stanhope's character.

  2. "Journey's End" By R.C Sherriff - Discuss and describe Sherriffs presentation of the following ...

    "Another little worm trying to wriggle home..." We can gather that Stanhope doesn't believe what Hibbert is saying and merely sees it as an excuse to hide his cowardliness. This shows that Stanhope believes in the honour of fighting. The hypocritical nature to Stanhope is introduced by Sherriff to make his character seem realistic.

  1. In R.C. Sherriff's

    He then no longer wishes to read the letter and puts his head between his hands. There is tension between Stanhope and Osborne at this point; their exchange from there on out are short monosyllabic replies. Stanhope's reaction to the letter is guilt; he hurt his friend for nothing, he feels very ashamed of himself.

  2. In what ways does R.C Sherriff recreate for his audience the tremendous stress and ...

    Stanhope complains about not sleeping "I wish you turn in and sleep" Osborne said, "sleep? - I can't sleep" Stanhope said, this one of the signs of stress and he drinks to solve his stress. Another main character Hibbert shows the most fear.

  1. In what ways does R.C.Sherriff re-create for his audience the tremendous stress and fear ...

    We can gather that deaths would only dampen the morale of soldiers so meaningless pieces of information are elaborated on. "Do much damage?" "A dug-out got blown up and came down in the men's tea" The main comparison between Hardy and Osborne is their attitude to their lifestyle within the bleak, somber and deprived dug-out.

  2. 20th Century Drama - Journey's End, R C Sheriff

    Although tanned by months in the open air, there is a pallor under his skin and dark shadows under his eyes". Sheriff is careful to show how warn down the boy is by the war. He is depicted to be a good officer with care to his role.

  1. Journeys End. Act 2 begins with a feeling of hope. Trotter has comical conversation ...

    Sheriff shows a regretful tone in Osborne's voice with the use of 'sort of'. The hesitation shows how Osborne relishes the moments of his past when he used to live in peace and serenity. The playwright emphasizes the tragedy of the war by showing how the characters are denied the happy lives that they used to enjoy.

  2. Explore the ways in which Sherriff makes this such a dramatic opening and introduces ...

    Raleigh represents the many hundreds of young men who signed up to fight for their country in World War One with the romantic view that they were ?doing their bit? to help their country win the war. Propaganda and censorship meant that these young boys entered the fighting without having

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work