Shoehorn Sonata Essay

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The Shoehorn Sonata by John Misto is a play that gives insight into the stories of the forgotten women prisoners of World War II. It explores the gruesome reality of war and the betrayal of government towards the women prisoners. Misto engages the audience through a multitude of techniques through the play, bringing the experiences and people to life. The reality of war is brutal and unjust. Through the experiences of prisoners of war, Bridie and Sheila, the audience is presented with a grim picture of the nature of war. In Act One, Scene Five, a photograph of skin-and-bone children who are dressed in rags is projected. The graphic image shocks the audience as it shows the harsh conditions that these children were put in. This creates a sense of empathy for the children. The mistreatment id then emphasised through Sheila presenting a chop bone. The chop bone represents the harsh and desperate times of war; where even the simplest of things are considered a treasure. The fact that Bridie and Sheila 'shared a bone' enforces the lack of human respect and powerlessness that they had. Later in the scene, Sheila makes an understatement “we were all a bit gloomy. It became quite a problem.” The use of second person makes the situation even more real and highlights how they were brutally treated. Through this, a greater sense of sympathy is created and the mass effect that war has on its prisoners is made more profound. These images provide evidence as to what happened during that time. Not only does it effectively assist the audience to visualise such events, but to also view the solidity of the atrocities of war. Desperate times, calls for desperate measures. Often the measures made during that time can burden us from moving on in life. In Act One, Scene Eight, Sheila reveals to Bridie that she gave up her virginity to save Bridie's life. In response, Bridie admits that she did not appreciate the gesture. In frustration, Sheila throws the shoehorn onto the bed;...
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