RC Sherriff: Thoughts and Analysis

Article Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/rc-sherriff-writer-couldnt-escape-horror-trenches/

This article details about the difficulties that RC Sherriff had encountered, not only in his WWI years, but during the production process of Journey’s End. At the time of its conception, the entertainment climate was mostly bright, energetic, and optimistic. Journey’s End contrasted this with its grim, realistic portrayal of war. This article does mention however that the play was received with warm regards in the naturalistic acting aspect. The main argument here is that most critic reviews miss the big picture that Sherriff is trying to display; instead of calling for a pacifist society, Sherriff is highlighting both the heroism of soldiers as well as the harsh environment that no human being should experience, further pushing the idea of heroism.

I would have to agree with both the columnist and Sherriff on this one, as the play itself holds non-exaggerated, realistic character archetypes. Despite their understandable fear and anxiety, the soldiers within Journey’s End are able to enter the battlefield again and again, knowing that their lives would eventually be taken in the battlefield. These are portrayal of acts of heroism, rather than the lives of heroes. I find this to be especially important as in reality, everybody has their own flaws. Alcoholism, cowardice, all these things are a part of some of us, but that does not take away from the certain moments that define our greatest moments.

As I re-read and analyse the play after this article about RC Sherriff, I’m sure to focus emotional flaws that create the realistic portrayals of the characters. From Stanhope’s alcoholism, to the naivety of Raleigh, I’m sure that Sherriff twists such characters in a way that their sacrifices are great regardless. Just as the article details, “war is loathsome and yet it leads to perhaps the most inspiring feats of heroism”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *