Journey’s End


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An introduction to Sherriff's play for GCSE candidates - updated

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Journey’s End

  1. 1. Journey’s End<br />R.C. Sherriff<br />
  2. 2. Robert Cedric Sherriff<br /><ul><li>Born 1896 – Surrey
  3. 3. Wounded in 1917 during WW1 in France
  4. 4. He wrote 6 earlier plays that were not successful
  5. 5. ‘Journey’s End’ was his 7th play and was first performed in 1928
  6. 6. Sherriff died in 1975 – this play is considered his greatest achievement</li></li></ul><li>Analysing a Play<br />Form & Structure<br />Themes<br />Plot<br />Play<br />characters<br />Lighting & sound<br />Stage directions<br />Language<br />Context<br />
  7. 7. Play title<br /><ul><li>The play was originally going to be called ‘Suspense’ or ‘Waiting’
  8. 8. Why do you think Sherriff settled on ‘Journey’s End’ ?</li></li></ul><li>Social & Historical Context<br /><ul><li>Written in the late 1920’s
  9. 9. Most audience members at this time went to the theatre to escape their lives
  10. 10. After the war the class system was undergoing massive change – commercially successful plays had to appeal to the masses
  11. 11. An all-male play about war was an unexpected success
  12. 12. Winston Churchill was a fan of the play and invited Sherriff to Downing Street to discuss it</li></li></ul><li>Social & Historical Context<br /><ul><li>It would be a good idea to take a look at some of the following to strengthen your understanding of WW1 and the experiences of those who experienced trench warfare:
  13. 13. The war poetry of Owen & Sassoon
  14. 14.</li></li></ul><li>Setting of the play<br /><ul><li>Set in St Quentin, France 1918
  15. 15. Starts Monday 18th March
  16. 16. 3 days later Germany launched ‘Operation Michael’
  17. 17. Historically accurate rather than ‘anti war’
  18. 18. Life in the trenches
  19. 19. The audience of the day would remember the experience first hand</li></li></ul><li>Staging of the play<br /><ul><li>The setting is naturally suited to the stage
  20. 20. Warren-like nature of dugouts
  21. 21. Cramped close conditions
  22. 22. Hardships – exposed to elements
  23. 23. Camaraderie of shared experience
  24. 24. Single staging with ‘off stage’ locations inferred</li></li></ul><li>Characters<br /><ul><li>The play explores the psychological effect of war on different kinds of personalities
  25. 25. It also investigates the class system and how it impacts the life of the men in the trenches
  26. 26. The life expectancy of a junior officer in 1916-17 was 6 weeks!</li></li></ul><li>James Raleigh<br />Mason<br />Young German Soldier<br />Madge<br />
  27. 27. Unseen<br />Highest ranking officer<br />Commanding Officer of different Company<br />Commanding Officer of C Company<br />James Raleigh<br />2nd Lieutenant<br />2.I.C.<br />2nd Lieutenant<br />Officer<br />Cook & Servant<br />Mason<br />Unseen – Raleigh’s sister & Stanhope’s sweetheart<br />Young German Soldier<br />Madge<br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29. Studying characters<br />
  30. 30. Colonel<br /><ul><li>His view of war is as a game
  31. 31. He is removed from the horror
  32. 32. He seems insensitive
  33. 33. He is only following orders himself
  34. 34. Contrasts with the respected Stanhope </li></li></ul><li>Hardy<br /><ul><li>Secondary character
  35. 35. He offers the first insight into Stanhope
  36. 36. Messy & disorganised
  37. 37. Red faced and cheerful
  38. 38. Offers a contrast to Stanhope</li></li></ul><li>Stanhope<br /><ul><li>Son of a vicar
  39. 39. 21 years old (but seems older)
  40. 40. Holder of the Military Cross
  41. 41. High personal standards
  42. 42. Heavy drinker as a coping mechanism
  43. 43. A natural leader
  44. 44. No leave in 3 years
  45. 45. Survived the battle of Vimy Ridge
  46. 46. Hardened but with a tender heart</li></li></ul><li>Osborne<br /><ul><li>The oldest member of c company (45)
  47. 47. Married with 2 children
  48. 48. Former school master
  49. 49. Wise & approachable
  50. 50. Loyal and a calming influence
  51. 51. A mentor to Stanhope
  52. 52. Well liked & trusted
  53. 53. Humble – National rugby player</li></li></ul><li>Trotter<br /><ul><li>The only officer who has not attended public school
  54. 54. Middle aged & ‘homely looking’
  55. 55. He comfort eats and is portly!
  56. 56. Friendly & jovial
  57. 57. Unemotional & uses humour as armour
  58. 58. Loyal – becomes 2 I.C.
  59. 59. There is more to him than at first appears</li></li></ul><li>Hibbert<br /><ul><li>In his early 20s
  60. 60. Weak & ineffectual
  61. 61. Psychologically ill or cowardly?
  62. 62. Exploitative of women
  63. 63. A contrast to Raleigh
  64. 64. Not part of the ‘brotherhood’ of C company</li></li></ul><li>Raleigh<br /><ul><li>Boyish youth
  65. 65. Naive & vulnerable
  66. 66. An old school friend of Stanhope
  67. 67. Courageous
  68. 68. Eager to please
  69. 69. Hero worships the older men
  70. 70. A typical innocent victim of war</li></li></ul><li>Mason<br /><ul><li>Lower class character
  71. 71. Soldier & cook
  72. 72. Hard working & keen to serve
  73. 73. Offers moments of light relief
  74. 74. He brings normality to the madness of war</li></li></ul><li>The Plot<br />
  75. 75. Plot 1<br /><ul><li>Stanhope’s second in command, Osborne enters the dugout to take over from Hardy, the captain of the leaving company. Hardy talks about Stanhope as a drunkard and Osborne defends him.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 2<br /><ul><li>A new officer, Raleigh arrives and we find out about his links with Stanhope.
  76. 76. Stanhope arrives, calls for whiskey and reacts strangely to Raleigh. Hibbert, another officer, complains of neuralgia.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 3<br /><ul><li>Stanhope tells Osborne about his contempt for Hibbert and concern over Raleigh’s presence. He decides to censor Raleigh’s letters.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 4<br /><ul><li>The men talk about life away from war. We find out that Osborne played rugby for England. Osborne and Stanhope discuss the forthcoming attack. It is expected on Thursday – in 2 days time.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 5<br /><ul><li>Raleigh enters and Stanhope insists on reading his letter home. The letter is read out and we see that it is full of praise for Stanhope.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 6<br /><ul><li>The colonel arrives with news of a raid on the German line that needs to take place the following day. He suggests Osborne and Raleigh should take part in the raid.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 7<br /><ul><li>Hibbert tries to leave but Stanhope threatens to shoot him and then sympathises with him. Hibbert is persuaded to stay and help the others.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 8<br /><ul><li>The officers are told about the raid. Osborne is resigned to his fate, Raleigh is elated and Trotter thinks it is stupid timing.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 9<br /><ul><li>The colonel gives an encouraging talk to the men, promising that Osborne and Raleigh will be awarded a Military Cross for bravery. The raid takes place and Osborne and 6 others die, but a German soldier is taken prisoner.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 10<br /><ul><li>The German prisoner is interrogated and the colonel seems happy but Raleigh is stunned by his experience and Stanhope is bitter.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 11<br /><ul><li>All the officers eat a celebratory dinner, but Raleigh does not join in. Stanhope sends Hibbert to bed. Trotter is made second in command. When Raleigh appears, he and Stanhope argue.</li></li></ul><li>Plot 12<br /><ul><li>The final German attack comes. Raleigh dies as Stanhope looks after him. Just after Stanhope leaves the stage, the dugout collapses into darkness.</li></li></ul><li>Structure<br /><ul><li>Three acts
  77. 77. Confined time span
  78. 78. Claustrophobic setting
  79. 79. Does not follow the rules of a ‘well made play’- instead a series of complications are presented leading to mini climaxes
  80. 80. Texture of mood & tone</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>Examiners award candidates who are able to comment on how any specific scene or moment is linked to the rest of the play
  81. 81. Think about drama as being holographic – each section comments on the WHOLE text</li></li></ul><li>
  82. 82. Comic Relief<br /><ul><li>The obsession with food and public schoolboy conversation is at odds with the horrors of the trenches and can therefore be amusing.
  83. 83. It also makes a point that mental diversions were a survival strategy for the men in war.</li></li></ul><li>Themes<br />
  84. 84. Symbols<br /><ul><li>Osborne’s watch
  85. 85. Raleigh’s letter
  86. 86. Alcohol
  87. 87. Osborne’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’
  88. 88. Red rags on the barbed wire
  89. 89. Osborne’s wedding ring
  90. 90. Military Cross
  91. 91. The ‘last meal’
  92. 92. The sun</li></li></ul><li>Language & style<br /><ul><li>Realism in theatre as a movement
  93. 93. While the language is now dated, it was modern in the 20s
  94. 94. The language of Public Schools
  95. 95. Mason – cockney accent & dialect
  96. 96. Trotter – simple colloquialisms & idioms
  97. 97. Osborne – Controlled & reserved
  98. 98. Stanhope – restraint & outbursts
  99. 99. Raleigh – childlike innocence</li>