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Comparison of The long and the short and the tall and Journeys end

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In this essay I’m going to compare the two plays The Long and the Short and the Tall. The Long and the Short and the Tall takes place in Malaya during the Second World War. The patrol in The Long and the Short and the Tall had been sent from a base in Singapore to discover the strengths of the Japanese army as it swept through the jungle towards Singapore. Its set in a disused mine hut. Journeys End is set in a dugout in the British trenches before St Quentin. It takes place around an attack on the front line.

Journeys End was written much closer in time to the event it is about than The long and the short and the tall. This may mean that it is more factually correct. In Journeys End we get to see the whole spread of ranks in the army. We can see that in The long and the short and the tall although there is less of a spread the soldiers pull together more and don’t worry that much about rank. In The long and the short and the tall the war is seen as more of a joint effort. In Journeys End it starts off with less detail and lets it slowly unfold each of the characters.

It deals with more class issues whereas The long and the short and the tall deals more with the men’ reaction towards the Japanese prisoner. The staging might have been different and in Journeys End they would have probably used an end stage with a proscenium arch rather than a thrust stage in The long and the short and the tall. This would have created a gap between the actors and the audience. The long and the short and the tall has actors coming through the audience. This makes it seem as if the audience are more of a part of the action.

Journeys End does have symbolic elements such as gloomy tunnels representing depression this makes it easier to believe. In Journeys End it may be more believable than The long and the short and the tall because it is set in the war zone and we get to hear bombs, and see casualties where the public have heard more about- the trenches. The public wasn’t as aware of the jungle fighting and it may have seemed a little unrealistic that there would be soldiers fighting in the jungle.

Journeys End was also set closer to home than The long and the short and the tall and therefore would have seemed something to do with them more than somewhere in Malaysia. Journeys End is set over a period of days and we can see the psychological changes of the soldiers. We can see their psychological reaction to having to be part of a big attack. We can also see changes as they act towards one another. Trotter who comes from a lower class background but has been promoted up the ranks, very quickly learns to set the gap between himself and the ordinary soldiers.

The reaction to a prisoner is different in both as in The long and the short and the tall they are frightened of the prisoner, but in Journeys End they treat him as dirt. In Journeys End we can see the differences between Stanhope and the Colonel in that Stanhope has lost 6 of his friends and the Colonel has lost 6 soldiers. Their different reaction brings out how much more intimate Stanhope has got with the men than the Colonel. In both plays they find some way of getting war out of their minds, in The long and the short and the tall they read magazines and talk about girlfriends they had.

In The long and the short and the tall they talk about things thy have in common for example Osbourne and Raleigh have an interest in sport. In Journeys End they have lots of time for unnecessary detail. So we can see lots of differences and similarities between the two plays. I think that The long and the short and the tall is better because it is set over one day and doesn’t spread the time. Journeys End is too rushed and I don’t think it has as much structure as The long and the short and the tall. I also like it better because it is more intimate with the audience.

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