Sherriff wrote Journey(TM)s End to show the destruction of war. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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Ilhem Ramdan

English Literature

Sherriff wrote Journey’s End to show the destruction of war. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Journey’s End is a play by R.C Sherriff that focuses on the realities of World War I, it highlights the sort of lives that people led throughout this period and the destruction it caused. However to some extant it can be argued that Journey’s End doesn’t only show the destruction of war but it also shows in some aspects the positive impacts of the war. One of Sherriff’s main intentions in the play is to show the importance of the anti-war views he has and attempt to make the audience relate to this. This essay will discuss to what extent the play Journey’s End shows the destruction of war based on the characters’ morals and wellbeing.

In terms of agreeing with the statement that Journey’s End is written to show the destruction of the war, Sherriff does this by showing the audience the mental state of the characters. As the play progresses Sherriff shows the deterioration of the mental state of one the main characters, Stanhope who is a well respected and high status soldier. He entered the war young and full of hope but clearly not knowing the reality he will have to face, when we are first introduced to Stanhope he comes across as a corrupted drinker yet also as being praised for his bravery. The following quote suggests this; “When a boy like Stanhope gets a reputation out here for drinking, he turns into a kind of freak show exhibit. People pay with a bottle of whisky for the morbid curiosity of seeing him drink it.” This quote emphasises the emotional state of Stanhope, despite him being a strong minded man he suffers the brutal trauma the soldiers have to face on a daily basis. Stanhope seems to symbolise this for all the men at war and the fact that he is referred to as a ‘freak show’ implies just how bad the soldier’s mental states are.

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The fact that Hardy discusses Stanhope’s situation in such a casual tone and that his drinking is done so regularly that he’s got a reputation for it be seen as more disturbing to the reader. This one quote implies quite a lot in terms of the destruction that war has caused.

Another way in which Sherriff shows the trauma that war has caused on the soldiers is through the attitude that Hibbert has in Act 2 Scene 2. “Stanhope! I’ve tried like hell-I swear I have. Ever since I came out here I’ve hated and loathed it. Every ...

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