“Drinking like a fish, as usual?”
“… drank a whole bottle in one hour fourteen minutes”
The constant measurement of how much Stanhope drinks is significant as the audience learn about his character. He is so traumatised and stricken by the tragedies of the war that he has become an alcoholic. Without alcohol, Stanhope is unable to function as a soldier and the quotations emphasise his dependence and this inability to face the world.
“He sticks out a mile”
“Why, that earwig (…) must have done a mile”
The men measure everything in feet and inches and miles. It is their way of passing time – counting everything reassures the soldiers that thing are actually moving forward and they are not stuck in time even though they may feel as though they are. They also measure everything such as the amount of boots they have or what they did at certain times (e.g. Hardy). Even though they may have been asked to do so for records, it is also a way to pass the time that they have whilst waiting around in the dugout.
“You’re twice his age”
The soldiers know where they stand in reference to their ages. Osborne is respected and has authority as he is old. Hardy is also an elder in the company and criticises those younger than him. Stanhope looks up to Osborne even though he is the leader and Raleigh looks up to Stanhope. Raleigh is the symbol of youth and innocence in Journey’s End.
“Do I look every inch a soldier?”
Hardy is a soldier that was previously a schoolmaster. He is meant to be the knowledgeable one as he is the teacher and others are his students. Although his occupation is brought to light when he speaks, the question he asks is significant. He must ask if he looks suitable enough to go out and fight suggesting that the men were just thrown into this world of warfare and that they did…