‘Journey’s end’ by R C Sheriff
‘Journey’s end’ by R C Sheriff

‘Journey’s end’ by R C Sheriff

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  • Pages: 5 (2409 words)
  • Published: October 20, 2017
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Focusing on the exchange between Stanhope and Hibbert in act two, consider how R.

C Sheriff presents the comradeship felt by the men fighting in the 1st World War. On the 4th August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. Germany had dishonoured the Belgian treaty of neutrality. Millions of British men and younger boys volunteered for war, it later became compulsory for British citizens.

The play I am studying is ‘journey’s end’, written by the English novelist R. C Sheriff. He was born in 1896 and served as an officer in the East Surrey regiment.Journey’s end is based upon some of Sheriff’s real-life experiences, highlighting the comradeship between the soldiers in the trenches.

Of all Sheriff’s plays and films, Journey’s end seems to have become the most remembered. In 1928, the anniversary of the armistice, a huge flood of memoirs and recollections of peoples experiences at war. This included stories, plays and a huge number of poems written by men from the trenches. Novels speaking of all the horrors of war and the treacherous conditions became coming about when in 1928 people started to become disillusioned about the peace.This came about after in 1919, everyone was speaking of having won the ‘war to end all wars’. One the most famous war films of all time was also released in this period – Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘All quiet on the western front’ written in 1929.

Famous wartime novelist Stigfried Sassoon also wrote a superb retake of being an officer at war name ‘Memoirs of an infantry officer’. Journey&


#8217;s end was also written in this period, around 1928-9. In the trenches, the soldiers had to spend all the hours of the day living in treacherous conditions, life threatening filth and grime.The only way these men escaped insanity through their daily lives, was comradeship.

Comradeship is the tight, family-like bond between fellow soldiers experiencing the same conditions. It is a relentless compassion between the mates the calm the suffering. Many men, who did not have a strong bond with comrades, slowly drifted away into insanity. Journey’s end strongly highlights the bond between the comrades in the trench, Stanhope, Hibbert, Trotter, Raleigh, Osbourne, Hardy and Mason. Journey’s end is based around men sent to fight at the war between Britain and Germany in France/Belgium.It follows the daily routine of the seven men through pain, loss and great anticipation.

The two characters, which the play mainly focuses on, is Stanhope and Raleigh, two men who knew each other from before the war. Stanhope’s girlfriend was Raleigh’s sister, so that is how they knew each other. Many incidents occur during the play, which shows the realistic emotion endured by the men, for example the main focus of this piece, Hibberts confrontation with Stanhope. It is towards the middle of the play (Act two, scene two) that the incident between Stanhope and Hibbert occurs.

It happens A little while after the time when Stanhope made Raleigh leave his letter unsealed. At this time Stanhope is under a lot of stress and pressure due to the forthcoming raid. The other big factor on his shoulders seems to be th

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arrival of Raleigh. You can sense that they do not get on by Stanhopes reaction to Raleigh’s greeting, ‘Hullo Stanhope! ‘ ‘How did you- get here? ‘ (Act one, page 9) As you can see, Stanhope reacts sharply, as though Raleigh has upset or annoyed him in the past.

When Stanhope gets Raleigh’s letter, he immediately gives it to Osbourne to read to him.The letter contained only admiration about Stanhope, Raleigh did not realise the pressure that he was under. A factor, which is sitting at the back of Stanhopes mind, is the thought of the forthcoming raid. This together with the arrival of Raleigh, is building up stress in the back of Stanhopes mind, being an officer means he has great responsibility thus putting more pressure on him.

R. C Sheriff has used a clever order of events in the play. The reason he has put the Stanhope and Hibbert confrontation in the middle of the play is to create a sense of beginning, middle and end.The beginning sets the scene of the play, Stanhope under great stress. The middle is building up to the end, the climax of the play, the raid. The confrontation has been put right in front of the climax, the raid, to create a sense of tension, and to show how that confrontations at war are always forgiven and forgotten.

This is proved by what Stanhope says after he threatened Hibbert with, ‘If you went, I’d have you shot- for desertion’ (Act two, page 56), Stanhope then offers Hibbert an ultimatum to which he says, ‘Good man Hibbert.I like the way you stuck that’ (Act two, page 56). This displays how men in the same situation as one and another, stick together and put past confrontations behind them. The author R. C Sheriff relies on his clever use of staging and language to shape his impression of the two characters.

In a novel or play, there is no visual effect to produce an image of a character, so therefore, the best written works are the books which have a great sense of imagination, a very realistic feel. This is produced by clever and imaginative use of staging and especially language.In the scene with the Hibbert and Stanhope confrontation, it is the staging, which works best in shaping the two characters. When Hibbert arrives out of bed to talk to Stanhope, he begins by saying, ‘This neuralgia of mine. I’m awfully sorry. I’m afraid I can’t stick it any longer-.

‘ (Act two, page 54) His apologetic sounding tone in this sentence highlights that he is quite a timid character, and that what he is going to say Stanhope may not like. When Stanhope refuses him to leave, he becomes aggressive, sounding like a scared man, ‘What the hell-! (Act two, page 54) It highlights his character as a selfish and narrow-minded individual. Or maybe it just shows what length people go to, so that they can escape the treachery of war. When Hibbert realises that Stanhope will not back down, he begins to plead with him, ‘I tell you, I can’t- the pain’s nearly

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