Friday, January 24, 2020

The Pressures of War in Journeys End :: R.C. Sherriff Journeys End War Essays

The Pressures of War in Journey's End The First World War provoked many different reactions in the people affected by it, particularly the soldiers, which Sherriff seeks to explore in "Journey's End". He uses Hibbert to show the way in which some soldiers reacted, but which was frowned upon by all others, and then presents the opposite view of Stanhope, who, despite being the stereotypical 'perfect' soldier, still has his moments of fear and self-doubt. Clearly, both the officers and the men involved in World War I lived in conditions of extraordinary hardship. The men refer to the poor food, the rough sleeping conditions and the rats, of which there are "about two million", according to Hardy. There is also a torturous routine of inspections, patrols, raids and duty in early hours of the morning. The men also have to cope with the ever-present shadow of death. In the background, there is a constant rumble of guns and heavy artillery, although it is the silence which affects the men more, as they do not know what is happening - it is more of a threat than the guns. Most of the men, although Hibbert is the significant exception, are brave and dutiful, but their methods of coping with the challenge of warfare vary according to their temperaments. The play opens with a conversation between Hardy and Osborne, in which they seek to block out the atrocities occurring all around them by concentrating on seemingly mundane, irrelevant things, such as earwig racing. The extraordinary type of morbid humour which situations such as the First World War seem to provoke shows through whilst they are discussing the relatively serious matter of the bombing which they are under. OSBORNE: Do much damage? HARDY: Awful. A dug-out got blown up and came down in the men's tea. They were frightfully annoyed. OSBORNE: I know. There's nothing worse than dirt in your tea. Clearly, there are many things worse than 'dirt in your tea', and one would expect an adjective that was rather stronger than 'annoyed' to describe the men's reaction to the fact that they were being bombed. Osborne tries to put things in perspective and see the beauty in situations to cope with the pressure he is under. He tells Raleigh to "always think of it like that, if you can. Think of it all as - as romantic. It helps." Osborne epitomises a certain type of cultivated middle-class reticence and self-possession. Like Stanhope and Raleigh, he attended private school, which taught him the traditional and typical English values, which can be summed up in the phrase "stiff-upper-lip". He maintains an apparent steady clam in the face of

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