Shoe Horn Sonata Character Analysis

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Bridie
The central character Bridie never loses her core identity although the power of the truth alters the dynamic of the relationship she has with Sheila. Initially, she is introduced to the responder demonstrating the ‘kowtow’. The use of stage directions emphasises that her experience during the war has impacted her and continues to impact her physically and emotionally. Her recollections of the painful events of war are expressed in an emotion- free way which defines her as a strong persona. The use of tone ‘calmly’ whilst she describes her experiences: “The lightest I got was exactly five stone” exemplifies this notion. Throughout the play Bridie has a defined perception of the world. She appears perceptive about British inadequacies during the Japanese invasion as highlighted when she states “I’ll forgive the Japs for what they did to us in camp” and further states her views on sleeping with a Japanese “To go with a Jap to give him pleasure- how could you ever live with yourself”. Ultimately, it is when Sheila tells her about the self- sacrifice she made for her that Bridie’s role and perception is dramatically altered. Ultimately, she evolves into an understanding individual, which is evident when she is talking about Sheila’s actions “They don’t give medals for things like that, but they should”. Hence, the truth serves as a catalyst for the shift in dynamic of their relationship. Throughout the play she remains having a motherly role towards Shiela, as evident when Shiela states “We fought all the time. You were worse than my mother” and when Bridie calls Shiela “My dear girl”. Therefore, the character of Bridie shifts in her role and perception throughout the play the Shoe Horn Sonata as a result of the truth being conveyed.
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