What is a hero – list, explain and describe the kind of qualities a hero is expected to have – concentrate on those which you would expect Stanhope to have e.g. to be a good leader to his men, to be an inspiration, to be fearless and others.
Now write about the context of the play Journey’s End and when it was written and what about and what it seems to say about heroism.
Paragraph 2 to end
Take each of the characteristics you wrote about above and say whether you think this one applies to Stanhope or not or maybe both! Plus you must use quotations and then comment on them.
So your essay might look something like this to begin with:
Is Stanhope a hero?
In general when we talk of a hero we think of someone who is brave and fearless, who can be an inspiration to others… We also usually expect our heroes to be perfect but equally are aware that often they are not e.g. many find Tiger Woods to be a hero and an inspiration to them but after his recent behaviour they may have had cause to doubt that. The question we are going to answer is whether the character of Stanhope is a true hero or not.
In the play Journey’s End set in the trenches during WW1 we are introduced to the character Stanhope. At first we don’t meet him but listen to two men talking about him. This sets up certain expectations because one of them Hardy criticises his leadership ‘It must be pretty rotten for you, being his second in command…‘
while the other Osborne defends him ‘He’s a long way the best company commander we’ve got.‘ Next we meet a character called Raleigh who we learn is a new recruit but who knew Dennis Stanhope before the war and has a serious case of hero-worship ‘It’s a frightful bit of luck.‘
(There is more you could write here about what Osborne warns Raleigh about Stanhope and why…)
We quickly learn that Stanhope drinks, a lot. This may not be a heroic trait particularly if he gets drunk and behaves badly or oddly as Hardy tells us he saw him ‘drink a whole bottle in one hour fourteen minutes – we timed him‘
yet when we learn that he drinks because of ‘that awful affair on Vimy ridge… I couldn’t bear being fully conscious all the time‘
we suddenly see why he drinks and are sympathetic to him…
On the other hand we immediately dislike his treatment of Raleigh whom he suspects of only being here to spy on him and tell his sister, to whom Stanhope is sort of engaged, the truth about him ‘he’ll write and tell her I reek of whisky all day.‘ He dismisses Osborne’s belief that Raleigh
‘will go on liking you and looking up to you – through everything.‘ He then decides to censor Raleigh’s letters and ‘cross out all he says about me.‘
Quotations to fill spaces
‘It’s a frightful bit of luck.’
‘that awful affair on Vimy ridge… I couldn’t bear being fully conscious all the time’
‘It must be pretty rotten for you, being his second in command…’
‘ he’ll write and tell her I reek of whisky all day.’
‘He’s a long way the best company commander we’ve got.’
‘cross out all he says about me.’
‘drink a whole bottle in one hour fourteen minutes – we timed him’
‘will go on liking you and looking up to you – through everything.’