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A Kiss From France Essay

1440 words - 6 pages

CRITICAL ESSAY The theme of Brian Keaney's play, A Kiss From France", is that war changes the lives of ordinary people. The action of the play takes place between 1914 and 1917 in East London. The main Characters are Tommy, Sidney, Dorothy and Rose. Before Tommy joined up and became a soldier he was an apprentice at Ted Coleman's Workshop. Sidney was Tommy's friend and joined up with him, before that he and his wife, Dorothy owned a shop together. Rose was Dorothy's friend who Sidney did not like very much. Rose never had very much money as she had no money and she was a single mother with a little baby. During the War some people's lives were being changed for the worse, as people they knew were being killed. But other lives were being changed for the better as women were given men's jobs as they were away fighting for their "King and Country".The play begins with a prologue, which shows a tableau of Tommy and Sidney in their army uniforms. Tommy is dead and Sidney is standing over him. Faure's Requiem is playing and this increases the serious mood of the scene. As the play progresses, the tableau of Tommy and Sidney at the front is repeated to remind us of the tragedy that is to happen.Most of the play is told in flashback and scene one begins with Tommy and Sidney leaving to go and fight in France. Since Tommy has become a soldier he has had to leave his apprenticeship at Ted Coleman's Workshop and Sidney had to leave behind his newly married wife and their family business. Both Sidney and Tommy think that the war will be over within a few months and every will be fine, as nothing will happen to them. The both expect to win the war hands down. "We'll look after each other, and give the bloody Huns something to think about into the bargain". They also believe that it is their duty to "˜The King and Country' to go and fight for their country. Women are also used in the propaganda, to try and force men to go and join the war, by using poster and slogans. Other people like Vera believe that it is their sense of duty that sent them packing, as Vera points out to Albert Warren, "Well, Mr. Warren, it's a pity that everyone doesn't feel the same sense of duty".As the play develops, Tommy and Sidney's illusions about the war are shattered. The play reaches a climax when Sidney speaks a monologue in which he tells us about the horror of the battlefield and the way Tommy dies. "The bombardment started at dawn, and it was sheer hell". When they where given the order to go over the top into no mans land, Sidney had never been as scared in his life before. As he ran over the bloody ground he could see the dead bodies, of both his side and the German side. He could see parts of their limbs being blow up and just lying there in the sticky mud. He could see men being cut up right in front of him. Sidney and Tommy just ran for their lives, every man for themselves. When they both got to the enemies trenches they ran along it....

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