Journey's End by RC Sheriff

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Journey’s End

R.C Sheriff wrote Journey’s end in 1928. The play was written 10 years

after the war had finished to let people’s emotions feelings and

emotions about the war settle down.

The play is set near the end of the war, in 1918, along the western

front in France. Sheriff set the whole play in one setting so it is

easier to stage, it personalizes it, and it creates a sense of

entrapment.

The whole play is set in the trenches, which are very confined, damp

and cold. They were most likely inhabited by rats and the dugouts most

likely smelled.

The final scene is set in the dugout, at dawn just before a German

attack is expected. At he beginning of the scene

“There is no sound except the distant mutter of the guns.” But later

on in the scene

“There comes the faint whistle and thud of falling shells.” Towards

the end pf the scene the noise from the shells being dropped

intensifies and continues like this until the end of the play.

R.C Sheriff uses comedy in the play to lighten the mood and to add

relief from the depression of war. The party scene was a scene where

everyone forgot about the war and started to lighten up.

At the beginning of this scene the audience most likely expects the

mood to be unsettled and things to be tense between the characters,

this is because of the arguments that happened between the characters

the night before.

“Towards dawn, the candles are no longer burning.”

Mason is framed in the doorway against the very lights.

“There comes the rasp of a striking match-a tiny flame- and a candle

gleams.”

Mason the wakes Stanhope up. This depicting the way he is breaking the

tension from the previous night’s argument and how he is lightening

the mood, be it with a hot cup of tea or with his tactful handling of

Hibbert later on.

In “Journey’s End” the lighting is very important because it outlines

what kind of mood different parts of the scene are. For example, at

the start of Act 3 Scene 3, it is half past five on the morning the

attack is expected. The lighting would be very dark, creating a

depressing atmosphere. Near the end of the scene, as Raleigh is dying,

“The faint rosy glow of the dawn is deepening to an angry red.”

At this point the lights would slowly turn red, representing death,

blood and pain.

The audience think Hibbert is a coward, mainly because he tried to o

home, complaining of neuralgia, when he was fine at the party, and he

takes his time over everything he does.
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