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Argue the case that "Journey's End" is still worthy of being staged today.

"Journey's End" by R.C Sherriff is a play which gives a realistic picture of life in a First World War trench. Performed in 1928 when the bitter memories of war were still fresh, it made a profound impact on those who saw it. It was uncompromising and showed the awful truth to those who had been given the diluted version. Until then, the harsh reality had been hidden and a brave front of victory and triumph put on, masking the truth about the suffering of the soldiers. They had also had a stretch of momentum, enjoying the victory of the War and a peaceful land, and by 1928 they were ready to know the truth. For those who see it today, however, it would not only teach them about war and how our country came to be through the strength and spirit of those who fought and gave their lives, but it also provides the audience with moments of high drama, light hearted humour and deep poignancy. These are often not found in the commonly staged plays of today such as "Grease" and "Joseph" whose only meanings are to teach the youngsters of today that they should dream about love and fame, things not relevant in such a difficult world. The youngsters of today too are becoming more and more desensitised by watching violent films and TV programmes and seeing emotive images of starving children and eventually they become deadened to such things and they have no effect. This leads to children of today becoming complacent and less sympathetic. By watching the perseverance and tragedy of the men in "Journey's End", it will show them the hardships of those who fought for us and they will become more compassionate. The perceptions of war that children today have, are about lots of fighting and the glory of winning against Germany. This is because they are the first generation which has no direct experience of the war, without any fathers and perhaps grandfathers having fought in it, and have had no tales of bravery or integrity told to them personally. It is hard for them to picture what went on and to really understand what it meant to fight in the Great War and so can learn only from films and TV. By watching "Journey's End" they will gain an authentic understanding about war without the glorified and often romantic images some people perceive. They will learn to have humanity to those who are less fortunate than themselves in the modern world today. The different personalities and attitudes of the soldiers also indicate what sort of an effect war had on you as a person. The characters all have their own ways of dealing with war and the effects being away had on them as people. Osborne, who still seems unaffected and compassionate, warns Raleigh not to expect too much from Stanhope: "You mustn't expect to find him-quite the sameIt- it tells on a man rather badly". The strain has taken its toll on Stanhope and inside he is being eaten up so he turns to drink for comfort as his nerves "have got battered to bits". Raleigh is young and his ideas are all of the glory of war, of going away and fighting for your country. He is very nave and starry eyed. Young men today will be able to relate to him as he is fresh out of school and has not had much experience of war, but is keen to do his duty for his country. Even those who show

no obvious signs of the stresses and pressures of war, such as Trotter, are still suffering within themselves. Stanhope enquires to Trotter about his constant optimism: "Nothing upsets you, does it? You're always the same"; but Trotter reveals the real distress and misery, saying: "How little you know". This tells us that inside, Trotter was the same as all the other men. He was still enduring the same torment as the other soldiers yet he put on an unchanging front. An audience today would admire the strength of Trotter and his ability to show the other men that it is possible to get through war, while all the time he was experiencing the same problems. Along with those men who obligingly got on with war, Hibbert is an example of one of those who thought that they had done their bit and schemed to go home. He craftily complains of so-called "Neuralgia" which cannot be proved, in a desperate attempt to be sent home- "It's this beastly neuralgiaThe beastly pain gets worse every day". The other soldiers, however, are aware of Hibbert's scheme, calling him "Another little worm trying to wriggle home". The audience's dislike of Hibbert would be intensified when we see him joking and showing picture postcards of girls to the other men. He acts like he is cool and manly when a real man would do his duty like the rest of them. He also remarks that he is "as fresh as a daisy" which too would heighten our disgust as he hasn't done anything to make him tired. The scenario with Hibbert then leads on to a very intense moment in the play. There are many of these which serve to keep the audience engaged in the play. Hibbert pleads with Stanhope to be allowed to go to the hospital, to which Stanhope bluntly refuses. Finally Stanhope says to Hibbert "If you went, I'd have you shot- for deserting". This was because those who tried to leave and abandon the war could be killed. The audience would be very apprehensive, and anxious to see if Hibbert does get shot. The scene then becomes more intense as Stanhope says that he could make it look accidental, to spare Hibbert the disgrace of forsaking his country and he even gives him "Half a minute to decide". The audience would feel more tense now as they see that Stanhope is serious, and they would be excited to see what would happen after the thirty seconds was up. Finally the silence is broken by Hibbert laughing: "Go on then shoot! You won't let me go to hospital. I swear I'll never go in those trenches again! Shoot!". This is a very good example of dramatic tension in the play, as the audience is left in suspense to see if Stanhope actually does shoot him. He counts down "105", the anticipation is building and finally reaches its peak, until Stanhope congratulates Hibbert "Good man, Hibbert. I liked the way that you stuck that". In this scene R.C Sherriff lets his audience see what he thought of deserters. It is very thrilling, yet at the same time, it is very emotive. The audience in 1928 would have recognised Hibbert as a deserter and their pity for him would be reduced, yet at the same time they would possibly have sympathy, as they would now realise what war has done to Hibbert, and he can't take any more waiting to see if he will die, and he is even prepared to be shot rather than go "over the top" and risk being killed by the Germans. Another dramatically tense moment in the play is when Osborne and Raleigh have been chosen to go "over the top" to raid the German trench for a prisoner. Raleigh as usual is in high spirits and is very excited about the attack. Osborne however is more understanding to the situation and does not underestimate the task ahead. He leaves his

ring behind "in case anything should happen" so that Stanhope can pass it on to his wife. The audience would feel very uneasy now realising the true danger that the men face and the fact that they might not return. It also shows that the men are nervous by their idle conversation about very trivial things: "D'you like coffee better than tea" "I do for breakfast". The audience has already learned that the operation is very dangerous as Stanhope told the Colonel "The Boche are sitting over there with a dozen machine guns trained on that hole- waiting for our fellows to come" so we fear for the safety of Osborne and Raleigh, and we wait in anticipation to see if they survive. When the party does arrive back, we are left in more suspense to see if both Raleigh and Osborne are safe. The Colonel asks lots of questions to the German boy to keep us interested until eventually we find out that Raleigh is back Safely but Osborne has been killed. Along with lots of drama, "Journey's End" also has moments of comedy, often before a serious point in the play to provide light relief, so that is not too heavy and sombre. The play opens in a light-hearted, chatty manner so that the reality of trench-life will have more of an impact. The soldiers joke about what is for tea: "I mean- after all- war's bad enough with pepper- but without pepper-its-its bloody awful", and later on about the tea tasting like onions: "but we aven't ad onions for days". It also shows that they are trying to grasp on to reality and life before the war. They also joke about the soup"What kind of soup is this Mason?" "It's yellow soup sir" Mason replied. It is also entertaining when Stanhope is drunk and he says to Osborne "Kiss me uncle" this is also quite sad as we see that this is how Stanhope feels inside, as there is no opportunity for love when you are at war. The soldiers make their own entertainment in the play which can also lead onto humorous moments. One of these ways is the earwig race which they hold. Hardy tells Osborne how to get the best out of an earwig- ". Dip it in whisky- makes 'em go like hell!" Along with the drama and the humour, there are also very poignant moments which make the play worth watching. Along with being dramatic, the scene with Osborne and Raleigh before they go "over the top" is also a moment where the audience would feel real sympathy and pity for the men. We feel really sad for them as Raleigh is really nave as to what is happening and is excited, talking about what they will do when they go over, but Osborne is wise to the danger they are in and tries to change the subject of the conversation so that they can talk about something else -" now lets forget about it all for. 6 minutes". So they recall life before they went, talking about England and the New Forest. We feel really sorry for the men as we realise that they may die soon and are trying to forget about it. We would also feel greatly sad when Osborne leaves his ring behind, telling Raleigh-"I don't want the risk of losing it", to which Raleigh replies

quietly "Oh". Here we realise that Raleigh has finally realised the true extent of the danger which they face and the fact that they might not come back, this makes us feel compassionate for the men. Another moment in the play which is very emotive is when Stanhope tells Hibbert that he too suffers from nervousness -" Because I feel the same -exactly the same!" This shows the audience that even the most brave of men who appear to be untouched by the war, are suffering inside. In this scene we also go on to feel pity for Hibbert who was prepared to die, rather then carry on, not knowing when he would die. It helps us to understand the real pressure the men were under, waiting, not knowing whether they would live or die. Overall the play as a whole makes us realise the true courage showed by the men, in risking their lives fighting for their country, helping us to become more understanding, and opening our minds. Although at times the language used may seem outdated, using phrases such as "simply topping" and "jolly bucked", the audiences attention is held throughout. This is done by techniques including high drama, humour and poignancy in the play to ensure that audiences today will find the play interesting to watch, whilst teaching them about how their country came to be at the same time.