How does Sherriff make Osborne seem like a likeable and engaging character in ‘Journey’s End’?
Osborne is a very experienced member of the company who enjoys making his comrades feel content. He is a very avuncular character as he is extremely kind to the less experienced, such as Raleigh. He is also like a confidant to Stanhope, which makes him generous. Sherriff makes him a likeable and charming character because he helps his comrades out by taking their mind off the war and he is slightly bizarre because he likes to read children’s books such as Alice in Wonderland. Osborne is also very affectionate, as he knows how his friends feel living in the war’s dreadful conditions, and wants to comfort them. As the play progresses we see that Osborne becomes ever kinder and more of the characters start to be fond of him, which makes Osborne an even more trustworthy character of the play.
Firstly, Osborne is made a very pleasant character by Sherriff due to his loyalty to the leader of the company, Stanhope. This faithfulness makes him very pleasing, as it shows his friends that he will not betray them. Osborne would even ‘go to hell with him’ because of how much he means to him. The noun ‘hell’ shows how devoted he is to Stanhope and he would even go to a place where he would be eternally tortured just for him. In addition, Sherriff uses a short sentence ‘go to hell’ to show Osborne’s fierce tone used when he announces this. Osborne also goes on a raid, where he could potentially die, just to prove his loyalty. He knows that ‘the raid is going to be tough’ but for his company he would do anything. This shows that he is very loyal and the word ‘tough’ displays how he is very strong to go through with it. Furthermore, Osborne is truehearted when he acts like a father figure to Stanhope. Osborne was even asked to ‘tuck him in’. This reveals how much Osborne means to Stanhope and it portrays his allegiance because if he did not help Stanhope out the company could fall. This, therefore, creates tension or the audience because if something happened to Osborne the company would fall, as he would not be able to take care of Stanhope. This therefore states that Stanhope needs Osborne to help him because he would fall into bits without him due to his problems.
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Secondly, Sherriff has made Osborne very engaging in view of the fact that he reads children books to take his mind off things. He is reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ when he was in a room with his comrades because he did not want to think about how violent and horrible the war truly was. He is trying to escape the world and Swindells uses a technique called escapism. The word ‘Wonderland’ shows that he believes that he is in a world that is fictitious, due to the war being so horrific. In addition, the subtext used when he reads a book to take his mind of things makes the audience consider his feelings and they would believe he is dejected and depressed. Furthermore, the character of Osborne is made friendly by Sherriff, as he is very kind and caring particularly to Stanhope. Being an adoring and considerate person, Osborne would be very pleasant owing to the fact that everyone likes a personable man. Osborne likes to make people ‘feel all right’ and ‘comfortable’ so that they would be kind back. The adjective ‘comfortable’ shows that he wants his comrades to feel even in the horrifying conditions of the war - which is extremely perplexing. This makes the audience feel sympathetic to Osborne as he is doing all this and no one is doing anything back to make him feel jovial. The verb ‘feel’ displays how they need to be made comfortable of the wars impact on their lives.
Furthermore, Osborne is very affable due to his modesty and does not like to brag about his achievements. This is very inspirational owing to the fact that it shows he does not like to make people feel upset just because he has done something and they have not. Osborne ‘played for the English team’ but ‘was awfully lucky’. Even though Osborne said this, he had to train really hard to get in the team but did not want to boast. The verb ‘played’ implies that he is old yet very experienced, which shows how much of a great help he is to his company. The adjective ‘lucky’ also shows that it is really hard to get in a team because of the amount of practise that must of gone in to it. Furthermore, it makes you feel pathos if he would brag about things and make his comrades feel distressed about themselves. Since Sherriff makes Osborne very genial, Osborne is sympathetic and tries to see the best in people. Such actions make him liked because it makes people feel good about themselves and they will be very kind back to him. He thinks that everyone in his company ‘has tried hard’ just for being in the war and surviving its horrible conditions. The verb ‘tried’ suggests that even if they did not make a huge difference; they still should be praised since every little helps. This makes the audience feel glad that Osborne is not sorrowful and downcast.
Osborne is a pleasant character considering he has a healthy connection with Raleigh. Osborne is always the one who helps Raleigh when he has a problem no matter what it is. Osborne thinks that Raleigh is a ‘great soldier’ since he is going to go on the raid and is not even thinking about the possible consequence. The word ‘great’ shows how he is an amazing soldier and that he is really brave. In addition, Osborne says that Stanhope will ‘really like’ him. This is very kind of Osborne to say and the term ‘really’ exhibits how confident and certain Osborne is. Sherriff makes Osborne seem like a nice person when he thinks Raleigh is doing the right thing by looking up to Stanhope. He thinks that it will help Raleigh ‘become a better soldier’ because he has some inspiration to look up to. The noun ‘soldier’ tells us what Raleigh’s job is and how serious it genuinely is. This makes the audience feel tense because at any time during the play Osborne or any other of the characters could get seriously injured or killed.
Osborne likes to make his comrades believe in each other. An example of this would be when Osborne believed in the strength of Raleigh’s hero worship. This makes Osborne very amiable because Raleigh liked him and Raleigh would go round telling his friends about how great Osborne is. He believes that Raleigh should ‘look up to’ Stanhope, the company commander. The adverb ‘up’ also emphasises Stanhope’s authority and if Raleigh got close to him he would be at a benefit. This portrays that Osborne wants what is best for Raleigh, which makes him a very kind character. Furthermore, Osborne uses many declaratives towards Raleigh telling him what to do that will help improve his status in the company. He tells people to start to ‘work’ because they should not be lazy and should help the company. This also insinuates Osborne’s tender-heartedness. This makes the audience feel relieved that at least someone is trying to help out his friends and trying to win instead of complaining. Osborne thinks positive to keep his friends positive throughout the play.
Being sympathetic, Osborne responds optimistically when Stanhope appears to be pessimistic. This demonstrates that Osborne is a very kind and appealing character because he does not want his friend to feel depressed. Stanhope feels like he is going to die but Osborne thinks that he will ‘be as fit as ever’ which reassures Stanhope making him feel very cheerful and grateful that Osborne is his friend and he says this because he wants Stanhope to feel good about himself. The word ‘fit’ emphasises how healthy Osborne believes Stanhope will be, which shows a great sign of friendship. Moreover, Osborne is made delightful when he copes by trying to make the war seem more positive. This makes him look engaging and make his comrades take their mind of the war, which is beneficial for everyone. Osborne thinks that ‘there’s something rather romantic about’ the war, which is quite peculiar because the war is not amorous and is totally horrific. The adjective ‘romantic’ portrays what the characters are thinking about the war in a different way in their minds about the war so they don’t recognise the real damage and want to forget about the war and what it has done to their lives.
Overall, Sherriff makes Osborne appear like a very likeable and engaging character, as he is very sympathetic, subtle, loyal, kind and caring. Osborne likes to take his comrades’ minds of the war to help them concentrate and cope with the warfare. He is also like a father figure to Stanhope, the company commander, and without him Stanhope could go mad which would result in the company failing and that would have an enormous impact on the conflict.