Explore the ways in which the effects of war on the individual are presented in ‘Journey’s End’. Then compare the ways in which Sherriff presents the effects of war on the individual with the ways in which Hill shows the impact of war on characters in ‘Strange Meeting’.
The character most obviously affected by the war in ‘Journey’s End’ is Stanhope. We learn early on in the play that Stanhope drinks very heavily when Osborne and Hardy have a conversation about him. “I never did see a youngster put away the whisky he does.” This is the first we see of the effects that the war has had on an individual and although there are other characters that are also affected, Stanhope appears to be the most prominent. It becomes apparent that Stanhope made a conscious decision to drink as a coping mechanism to deal with the war. “It was after I came back here- in that awful affair on Vimy Ridge. I knew I’d go mad if I didn’t break the strain. I couldn’t bear being fully conscious all the time…” Here we learn that it wasn’t until a particular attack within the war that Stanhope began to feel the strain and the pressure, and alcohol becomes an escape for him. He says “There are only two ways of breaking the strain. One was pretending I was ill- and going home; the other was this. [He holds up his glass]”. Sherriff could have shown us a minor character so deeply affected by alcohol that he had given up, whereas Stanhope appears quite the opposite, whereas in ‘Strange Meeting’ Hill gives us a minor character affected by alcohol. It is also worth noting Raleigh’s reaction to his alcoholism is completely different to how Stanhope fears he will react, and in a way, our reaction too. Rather than look to Stanhope as a weak man who has taken the easy route by drinking excessive amounts, we seem to view him as courageous and strong willed. We later learn when he is talking to Hibbert, that Stanhope isn’t as strong and resistant as we were originally led to believe. “Sometimes...
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