Task: In “The Long And The Short And The Tall”

1962 words - 8 pages

Task: In "The Long and The Short and The Tall" Willis Hall uses irony and stereotyping to confound our expectations and make us change our opinion. Show how the playwright has used these techniques in the play to put across his message."The Long and The Short and The Tall" written by Willis Hall is about a group of conscripts from Britain during the Second World War. They are in the Malayan jungle on the lookout for Japanese activity because they are expecting an invasion. They stop to rest in a hut on a rubber plantation. While they are there a Japanese soldier stumbles upon the hut. He enters and they capture him. Johnstone, the patrol's Corporal, grabs the Japanese soldier and then tells the men to kill him. All the men refuse except Bamforth who is the only soldier willing to kill the Japanese soldier. Mitchem, the patrol's Sergeant comes back from outside and tells Bamforth to stop because he has the idea that they can take him back to base and interrogate him for information. Then Whitaker hears the Japanese operator on the radio and they realise they are surrounded and that getting back will be dangerous. Mitchem then sees the prisoner as too much of a liability and wants to kill him. All the men then want to kill the prisoner to save themselves. By this time Bamforth has realised that the Japanese soldier is not sub-human, but is actually just like him. The prisoner is scared and needs a cigarette just like the British soldiers. One of the men, Whitaker panics and kills the Japanese prisoner with his gun. The gunshots alert the Japanese soldiers who make an advance on the hut and kill all the British soldiers except one, Johnstone who surrenders to the Japanese.The title "The Long and The Short and The Tall" comes from the chorus of a song that was very popular during the Second World War, which praised the ordinary soldiers in the Army. The author, Willis Hall, makes the character's stereotypes by giving them key features. Smith is a stereotype because he has the most common name in England and is a middle-aged man from the Midlands. He is working class and lives in a council house, as he says: "Bit of a one. Council. Up on the new estate." That was when Evans was asking where he lived to find out more about him. Smith also does a bit of gardening. : "Few veg round the back- cabbages and that, Brussels, couple of rows of peas, one or two blooms. Not a lot. You know - the usual." He was also telling Evans about his hobbies, which include fishing, and gardening, which is stereotypical of a family man, with a wife and two children. When the prisoner is captured I expect Smith to have scruples about killing. He refuses to kill the prisoner.The character Evans is a stereotype because he has the most common Welsh name. He is young and is still being cared for by his mother who sends him women's magazines to read: "My mother sends it to me every week. I'm following the serial…" He is working-class and also naïve. Bamforth...

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