How does Sherriff explore the idea of dependency in the play, journey's end?

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How does Sherriff explore the idea of dependency in the play?

The play is set during the end of the First World War in 1918. It explores the feelings of the British military personnel involved and the capture of a German prisoner provides an opportunity to explore the fact that they were all just human beings. The play was written 10 years after the 1st WW which gave the writer the opportunity to understand the effect of the war on the men involved and their families. His first audience would probably have had first hand experience of the war, or knew someone affected by it. The writer presents the emotions of the soldiers: their fears, humour, loyalty, bravery, anticipation of the unknown, and the audience would probably have identified with those feelings. Lives in the trenches meant they were dependent on each other, and on their commanding officers to maintain discipline and had to follow orders at all times.

Sheriff uses the subject of dependency on alcohol to show how men needed something to help them over come their fears. In a conversation with his friend Osbourne, Stanhope admits that, “if I went up those steps without being doped with whisky I would go mad with fright”. His dependency is discussed openly by Hardy and Osbourne so the audience know what is to come. Hardy asks, “How is the dear boy, drinking like a fish as usual?” Osbourne, obviously sympathetic to his friends problem calls it “bear baiting or cock fighting” This shows how close Osbourne and Stanhope are, and how dependent Stanhope is on his friend, to listen to him and comfort him. After drinking heavily Osborne’s puts Stanhope to bed, and promises to “see you get called at two o’clock”. Stanhope rejects the friendship of Raleigh out of fear of discovery of his drinking problem showing that he was incapable of giving Raleigh support. Raleigh obviously admires Stanhope but his admiration is unwelcome. Stanhope says “hero worship be damned! ……… What’s that bloody prig of a boy matter?               The writer communicates Stanhope’s problems to the audience by mentioning the hardship he has suffered and the tremendous amount of responsibility he has had at such a young age. Osbourne says,” he came straight from school – he was 18 … he’s never had a rest … young Stanhope goes on sticking it month in month out”. Osborne explains Stanhope’s situation when he says, “because he’s stuck it till his nerves have got battered to bits, he’s called a drunkard.”

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Raleigh is a young new officer who just entered the war. He entered the war on the basis that he would get to follow in his hero’s footsteps. He talks a lot about knowing Stanhope before the war and their friendship, saying “we were terrific pals”. Raleigh isn’t to bothered about the war, as he just came out of school, like Stanhope, he is still young, excited and naive about the prospects of participating in the war and fighting for his country, not caring about the problems war can cause. He says things such as “how frightfully quiet it ...

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