Themes - Journey's End

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  • Themes
    • Courage and Cowardice
      • Stanhope depends on drinking alcohol for courage
      • Hibbert shows us what focusing on death can do to the nerves and health, it is never made clear if Hibbert is just a coward or has a real mental illnes
      • Osborne gives advice to Raleigh "You must always think of it… as romantic. It helps"
      • Sherriff helps us to see how humans can gain courage from others-  diverting  thoughts "displacement strategies":
        • Humour
        • Complaining about food Private Mason "Smells like liver, sir, but it 'asn’t got that smooth, wet look that liver’s got"
        • reading Alice in Wonderland a childhood book
    • Heroism
      • Stanhope’s real fear is  his status back home as a 'hero' will be blown - the desperate way he "clutches Raleigh’s wrist and tears the letter from his hand" - a letter which could reveal his drinking
      • Raleigh’s boyish patriotic myth of the 'hero' as some kind of knight in shining armour, and the way he hero-worships Stanhope
    • Trench Life
      • matter of waiting
      • prolonged waiting was an untold horror of war - helps the play create a subtle anti-war message.
    • Social Class
      • Sherriff wanted to show how war brought everyone together.
    • Community and comradeship
      • Stanhope’s encouragement of Hibbert  suggest to the audience - importance of "getting on together".
      • Even the idea of "enemy" is brought into question as we are reminded by Raleigh that Germans are just ordinary people.
      • hen Raleigh is dying, he calls Stanhope "Dennis" who replies, to the audience’s surprise with "Jimmy".

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