Explore the ways in which Sherriff’s Journey’s End present the horrors of war. Compare and contrast your finding with Sebastian Faulks’ treatment of the same theme in Birdsong, ensuring that your response is informed by interpretations of other readers.
Both Sherriff and Faulks depict the horrors of war through the various dramatic and linguistic techniques used. Some of these horrors can be perceived as the separation from loved ones, the responsibilities and expectations men faced in the trenches and the deaths of innocent men despite class, status and beliefs. Faulks however, portrays the horrors of war in a different way, focusing on the graphic imagery, experiences of the characters and landscapes to convey the horrors.
Early on in the first Act of Journey’s End, the horrors of war are revealed to the audience through the stage directions, “yellow candle-flames light the other corner”. The meaning could be ambiguous as it holds both a literal and metaphorical connotations; Sherriff symbolises how the unnatural conditions the characters exist in-the trench lit by artificial light-represents how the world men survived in, is one that is unnatural and one mankind should not be compelled to live in. Towards the end of the play, Sherriff uses vivid depictions in the stage directions to recreate, in a detailed way, the setting in which the soldiers are in. This makes the audience feel like they are there as the “Flying fragments of shell whistle and hiss and moan overhead”. The alliteration and personification in the first two words create a harsh and graphic representation of the horrors as the sibilance builds up a vivid nightmarish atmosphere. This represents to the audience a realistic depiction of the true horrors. Similarly, Faulks uses linguistics to create a vivid portrayal of the landscape, deaths and injury; “The trench you started from is just a mass of bodies.” This suggests that the degree of lost individuality and lives was astronomic, as...
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