Shoe Horn Sonata Distinctively Visual Themes

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Distinctively Visual Image Page 52

“On the other side of our barbed wire fence were twenty or thirty Aussie men – as skinny as us – and wearing slouch hats. Unlike the Japs, they had hairy legs. And they were standing in rows – serenading us.”

John Misto created a written visual image that comes through in Act 1 Scene 7 (Page 52). This is brought up in the play when Bridie and Sheila are being interviewed by Rick (Host), they were originally talking about the conditions that they were in, how they were starved and the lack of nutrition, this then moves on to how they sang through the hunger at Christmas. The Japanese then allowed the Australian men to visit the nurses, while the nurses sang a Christmas carol them. “The Japs let us do it”.

Misto created this image for the viewer to understand the separation between the men and the women in war; it was the image that was created that was used to show the division of the Australians by the Japanese. The Japanese wanted to be able to control the Australians whilst they were in the POW camps. In this quote the audience uses their imagination to picture this division of the Australians. The separation of the sexes is to take away the feelings away from the prisoners; to not allow them to communicate or be together is to block the emotions they would normally feel. The Japanese are simply stopping them to feel emotion, to stop this would be to dehumanise the Australians in order to make them do the work, like a robot, just a number to count by the Japanese. Simply given orders by the Japanese, and not to have anything said back, comments or rebellion would lead to death.

The visual language used emphasises the effect on how the audience understands what is being said, “– as skinny as us –“ is giving a side note to the audience. This simply gives the audience the information needed to understand the condition of the Australian men, as the audience knows the condition of the nurses already; the relation lets...
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