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Discuss The Various Techniques John Misto's Uses To Present The Central Themes Within His Play 'the Shoe Horn Sonata'

1053 words - 4 pages

John Misto's play 'The Shoe Horn Sonata' is attributed to those Australian women who were incinerated in Japanese prisoner of war camps during the war. In his play, Misto conveys a sense of survival during the hardships of the war, their tenacity of their willingness to survive through secrecy and truth and the bands of their friendship that have endured. It uses a number of dramatic techniques to convey these ideas to his audience.Throughout the play, many themes and motifs are conveyed through various dramatic techniques. A recurring theme that is demonstrated within the play is the women's desire to survive the war. This theme intertwines with the two significant characters, Bridie and Sheila's friendship. Scene three is where the audience begins sense the women's struggle to survive. They describe a story where they were both out at sea and to keep Sheila from drowning, Bridie would tap her on the head with her show horn repeatedly to keep her awake. This demonstrated their determination to survive. Scene four is where Bridie finds out the truth that Sheila saved her and not the other way round. Bridie comments, "I got you through the war. Your Empire didn't give a damn. They left you to the Japs." Sheila had in fact given herself to a Japanese man in order for Bridie to get the medication she desperately needed to survive. While Bridie saved Sheila out at sea, the reversal roles were shown in the camp. This reiterates the theme of survival in the novel as it's so pivotal and brought them together as friends. During the play many dramatic effects needed to be conveyed. For the story to be emotional, the characters had to be convincing in their historical stories while the Japanese dialogue in the background also demonstrates a convincing story. The theme of survival is a significant scene as it is very influential to the audience as they sense so much determination and willpower to survive.Another theme that is conveyed in the play is the women's friendship. The audience is presented with two different perspectives on their friendship and how it changed form during the war until the time of the play fifty years after. Within the studio, the audience notices how inseparable the two friends were during the war and the way they each helped each other to stay alive. Although in the motel room the audience sees them fighting and arguing and an obvious rift is in their reformed friendship. During the war, they each had experiences where they both aided each other in different forms. Bridie seemed to be the one they kept up spirit and hope of surviving but initiating humour into their sad conditions while also keeping Sheila alive by tapping her head with the recurring symbol of the shoe horn. Alternatively, Sheila was the more physical and mature helper. She offered herself to the Japanese man in return for medicine for Bridie. She was also the one that knew what was happening and assumed the motherly role over Bridie. The fact that Sheila did...

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