The Shoe-Horn Sonata

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  • Topic: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Flag of Japan
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The Shoe-Horn Sonata
In the play ‘The Shoe-Horn Sonata’ by John Misto I have chosen to study Act 1 Scene 3. In this scene Bridie and Sheila meet for the first time.

Bridie and Sheila reunite after not having seen each other since the end of the war, and they feel like they hadn’t been separated for 50 years. Bridie acts as if she has been the stronger one through both the war and after it, constantly undermining Sheila by calling her ‘girl’ and telling Rick (the interviewer) that she is deaf. Sheila reminds Bridie of how English women weren’t scared of a few Orientals. Even with all this banter they still remain close friends after what they had been through together. The main theme from this scene is Friendship.

“We were patriotic. We didn’t want to leave. I remember mother saying, ‘Sheila, you and I are English women. We do not run away from a few Orientals…” Sheila tells Rick how her mother wasn’t scared and wanted to stay in Singapore. The English were too patriotic and did not think the Japanese were capable of a surprise attack. This quote is followed by “But you did in the end” Rick saying that Sheila’s mother was wrong. Sheila solemnly answers with “we had no choice”. This shows the audience that they were driven out of Singapore, literally. The slides projected onto the screen are pictures of children with toys boarding ships with women, soon to be victims of possibly the history’s worst, and least known massacre.

The Japanese didn’t abide by the Geneva Convention, they were ruthless. “We lay flat on the deck and covered our eyes. But our sailors were yelling – ‘Get up! Stand up! Let the Japanese see you’re just women and children.” Sheila explains to Rick that a spotlight was focused on her ship. They all stood up and they heard the sound of crackers, the Japanese were firing at the ship of women and children. “Then sailors were yelling ‘Jump for it! Jump for it!” “And then there was this deafening noise. The whole ship rose from the water and...
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