Impact of War Upon Men's Relationships in Journey's End and Strange Meeting

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Compare and contrast the ways in which Hill and Sherriff present the impact of war upon men’s relationships in Strange Meeting and Journey’s End and say how far you agree with the view that the relationships in Strange Meeting are more crucial for survival than those in Journey’s End.

Strange Meeting and Journey’s End share many similarities; both the novel and the play are set during the First World War following the lives, and deaths, of the men in the officer ranks, and showing the immense strain and struggle which they felt. However, the two texts also differ in many respects. In Strange Meeting, Hill shows the positive impact of war upon the men’s relationships through the friendship of the two central characters, John Hilliard and David Barton, a pair who would never have found cause to meet and become friends under normal circumstances. Throughout the novel the men form a powerful relationship which becomes absolutely crucial for survival. In contrast with this, Sherriff presents the negative impact of war upon men’s relationships in Journey’s End through Stanhope and Raleigh, showing that the stress, anger and desperation, which Stanhope in particular feels, ends up destroying their relationships and leaves them to find other ways to survive.

When the war was declared and men across the country were called up to fight, many romances were accelerated, people began to marry and consummate their love under circumstances which would’ve previously been considered improper, and a unanimous mood swept Britain; that couples must make every day together count. Hill reflects a similar mood through Hilliard and Barton’s relationship in Strange Meeting, although it is not of a sexual nature. Hilliard is cautious upon meeting Barton, treating him with suspicion as ‘there was an openness about him which made Hilliard uneasy.’ Although Barton has a comforting effect upon the men, ‘some kind of central poise and calm’, Hilliard initially finds his presence...
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