Images elicit certain emotions within individuals though it is skewered through their interpretation of distinctively visuals. This is a notion greatly emphasised within the play “The Shoe Horn Sonata” composed by John Misto in order to bring forth concepts of truth and the atrocities of war. Misto does this through his manipulation of techniques to put focus on the experiences suffered by women during the periods of war to give us a better understanding of the event. Comparably the composer Kenneth Slessor shares similar themes within Beach Burial although Slessor voices his themes in a visual manner.
The concept of truth has a great importance in the play as it helps cleanses a traumatic experience Bridie and Sheila both share. Within Scene eight, Sheila reveals why she suddenly left Bridie accompanied by Misto’s incorporation of sound, the cricket sounds which follow gradually gets louder building up to Sheila’s reveal, this emphasises the tension between the two. For Sheila to hold onto the Shoe-Horn was symbolic despite the traumatic experiences it reminded her of, it symbolises the friendship they possessed was powerful that’d she would sacrifice her morals to help Bridie. Furthermore Bridie reveals her secret to Sheila in chapter twelve where her fears of the Japanese remained, bringing them closer by displaying her trust in Sheila. “Just hearing the language was enough do it”, the dialogue only was enough to evoke fear within Bridie.
In addition it revealed Bridie’s everlasting trauma, as Bridie was situated within David Jones “A load of Japanese tourists arrived. Well in no time at all they had practically surrounded me”, Misto’s use of diction “tourists” convey the Japanese as harmless and bring forth positive connotations associated with being a tourists. This indicates Bridie’s negatively skewered perceptions of the Japanese showcases her vulnerability to the audience. The audience is then left in a sympathetic state as they can acknowledge the horrors of the Japanese bringing light to the treatment of women during World War Two. Comparably Slessor engages the audience with his utilisation of vivid imagery, engaging the audience with the atrocities of war, “softly and humbly to the Gulf Of Arab”.
Slessor implements these Powerful images detailing the bodies that drift lifelessly to insinuate the horror that are deeply rooted in war. Further adding to the stillness of death present, Slessor’s use of soft sounds “Softy and humbly” adds a grieving tone to poem. Moreover the diction incorporated displays the brutality of war, “the convoy of dead sailors come”, Slessor utilises the definition of “convoy” as it conveys armed men reinforced by a fleet of ships, thus illustrating how even those who are armed and trained are at the mercy of war. War has adopted a Hierarchy structure evident within prisoner of war camps, the Japanese ruthlessly displaying their power on prisoners. In the first Scene, Bridie demonstrates an action which was performed day after day in respect to the Emperor.
“She bows stiffly for the waist”, tries to straighten up but her back is sore”, these stage directions suggest Bridie has done these gestures many times that it has injured body as she struggles to perform,. The visuals being projected emphasises this notion, as it depicts “row upon row” suggesting the Japanese had a vast amount of influence over prisoners. More so Misto mocks the concept of power within Britain, as he ironically incorporates the song “Rule Britannia” as it details their victory of the Japanese whilst in reality the Japanese enslaving women says otherwise, exposing the nature of how the British perceives the Japanese as lesser leading to their downfall.
Similarly Slessor approaches the concept of power in war by close referencing the actions of individuals, “between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire”, personifying the sounds to suggest the deaths via gunfire are not directly cause of the weapon but the soldier who fire them. In addition to this statement Slessor creates a face pace environment through his repetition of the “b” in order to imitate the conditions the dead are being buried in.
Courtney from Study Moose
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