The Long, the Short and the Tall
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The Long the Short and the Tall Willis Hall has claimed that he wrote the play "simply as entertainment." How far do you agree with the statement that The Long and the Short and the Tall is only meant to entertain an audience and not educate them? The Long and the Short and the Tall is a play set in the Malayan jungle in 1942 during the Second World War. The play focuses on a small British patrol group who were sent north into the jungle to check for signs of Japanese advance. The playwright is Willis Hall who was first a regular solider serving in Singapore. The play was written for amateur actors in Edinburgh as they had regional accents, which suited the roles for 1950's characters. The title "The Long the Short and the Tall" came from an anti-war song, which was popular during the Second World War. The Long and the Short and the Tall offers the reader a new perceptive of war, responsibility, and isolation while also entertaining. The author Willis Hall makes use of his first hand experience as a solider to give the impression that the realities of war were off-putting.
An example of this is shown when the Japanese prisoner is asked a question he puts his hands on his head and looks completely lost and misunderstood. This suggests that he doesn't understand and is funny however; it gradually makes you feel empathy towards the characters when they are in tense situations. All of these devices are used to educate an audience too, because Willis Hall uses realistic soldiers to show us the overview of War and what the soldiers went through. For example the soldiers all come from all over the United Kingdom, Bamforth: London, Macleish: Scotland, Whitaker: England, Evans: Cardiff, Smith: Newcastle. These men represent the typical United Kingdom army of the time. Willis Hall did this again to bring you closer to the play, so that you feel more and more involved as the play goes along not only to entertain an audience but also to educate them at the same time. Willis Hall had a political motive for naming the play after an anti-war song. This makes the title ironic because it's taken from a song, which was popular during the Second World War.
Although some humor was put in the play for example, when the soldiers were making fun of women's magazine and when the Japanese solider is asked questions he puts his hands on his head and looks completely lost. This suggests that the play is realistic, which is entertaining because humor plays an important role for the audience, as that is what brings the play to real life. However, the play is to educate an audience because the play introduces realistic characters, which represent the typical United Kingdom army of the time. Willis Hall emphasizes on the situation rather than the plot or people, which suggests that he wants to show the audience what the soldiers faced, the hard work, which was distressing and extremely painful to live through. The purpose of producing this play for an audience was to give them an idea of how things would have been if they were in the war surrounded by these characters and in these similar situations. So therefore, Willis Hall did have a motive and hidden agenda behind the play as it was done purely to entertain an audience as well as educating them at the same time. Sabrina Bagria
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