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Shoe Horn Sonata

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 515
  • Category: Stress

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Discuss how the author utilizes dramatic techniques to explore the themes of post- traumatic stress, survival and friendship.

Things that go against who you are shape you into who you become and are a constant reminder of what you endured. Hope is grief’s best music.

John Misto the composer of Shoe-Horn Sonata demonstrates the effects of post-traumatic stress, survival and friendship throughout the play with the use of film and dramatic techniques. Misto illustrates the viciousness of the Japanese to highlight the strength and resilience of the women. These women had been captured by the Japanese during WW11 and were taken into hostage, they remained in camps, where they had been brutalised.

In Shoe Horn Sonata, John Misto highlights the horrific ordeals sheila had to experience in order for her to keep Bridie alive. Survival is a sustained theme throughout this scene which is demonstrated when Sheila states “ Every night when I fall asleep lipstick Larry is waiting. He calls to me and I go to him and no one can change that not even you”. Misto utilises truncated sentences and stage directions to emphasise the traumatic experience sheila went through to save her friends life. Subsequently this demonstrates how the dramatic technique enhances the readers understanding of the theme survival.

The theme friendship is exemplified through out the play and is evident through the stage connection between sheila and Bridie. This is quoted when sheila states ”Guidance? You mean a barrage orders sheila- did you eat your grass? Why haven’t you drunk your charcoal water? God how I hate that stuff”. Through the use of rhetorical question the composer illustrates the level of friendship they had for each other and the bond they shared because of their traumatic experience during WW||. Consequently this quote exemplifies the struggles the two women underwent during the time they were held captive and how their friendship grew and become unbreakable due to that.

Throughout Act one, Scene two Misto highlights the importance of post-traumatic stress through out this scene. This is conveyed through the stage directions when sheila is “ exploring the bar area” reveals her liking of alcohol “ . It exhibits that the war still has an effect on her life , this is signified through her constant liking of alcohol. The utilisation of stage direction emphasises post-traumatic stress as even till now sheila drinks alcohol to help her forget the horrible experiences she faced in the past. Additionally this enables the audience to visualise and to have a greater understanding of the horrible things they experienced through the desperate measures they have succumbed, in order to attempt to forget the horrible things they went through.

In conclusion it can clearly be seen how the author John Misto utilizes dramatic techniques to create a better understanding of the post traumatic stress experienced by the female POW and the struggle for survival at the camp, whilst conveying the unbreakable friendships that had developed at the camp. Dramatic techniques that had been used were rhetorical question and truncated sentences.

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