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The Long And The Short And The Tall By Willas Hall

2021 words - 8 pages

"The Long and the Short and the Tall" by Willas Hall

The play is set in the Malayan Jungle during the Japanese advance on
Singapore in 1942. Seven British soldiers have different power due to
the ranking hierarchy and they have different attitudes to one
another. Sergeant Mitchem is the leader of the soldiers. He is a
responsible and good leader which is evident due to him stopping many
quarrels among his men and making decisions. For example, when
Corporal Johnston and Private Bamforth are having an argument, Mitchem
stops the argument by saying ‘Right. Pack it in. Both of you’. Next we
have Corporal Johnstone, who is second in power to Sergeant Mitchem.
It is obvious that Johnstone does not have the respect that Mitchem
has. This is because Bamforth has many arguments with him and does not
follow his orders efficiently. One example of a quarrel between the
two is when Johnstone tells Bamforth to ‘Get your pack on!’ Bamforth
then responds saying ‘you going to inspect us, corp.?’ The next
highest in the hierarchy is L/Corporal Macleish. He is a Scotsman and
has regular arguments with Bamforth. In one argument Bamforth called
Macleish a ‘Scotch Haggis’. Macleish responds telling Bamforth to
‘Watch your mouth’. However this only encourages Bamforth to continue
by saying ‘Aw, come off it, son. Where I come from it’s just a name’.
Then we have the four Privates. Private Whitaker operates the radio
and is very shy. However, at the near end of the play Whitaker shoots
the Japanese soldier because he advanced on him. Private Evans is a
Welshman and is just as pathetic as Whitaker. When Corporal Johnstone
tells him to kill the prisoner as soon as he is captured using the
bayonet of the gun, Evans steps back and says ‘I…..I can’t do it,
Corp’. Private Bamforth is the rebel of the group of soldiers. He is
cowardly about war and racist about the enemy. For example, he calls
the enemy ‘the invading army of the rising sun’. He is disrespectful
and rude to some of the other soldiers in the play, even soldiers of a
higher rank than him. He calls Corporal Johnstone a ‘nit’ and a ‘Welsh
Burk’, he calls Macleish a ‘Scotch Haggis’ and he calls Evans a
‘Taff’. Bamforth’s attitudes to war are cowardly, he tells the patrol
that if a war started near them he would be 'off like a whippet' and
he tells them that he would ‘get in a wog rowing boat’. Bamforth tries
to demoralize the troops and an example of this is when he tells Evans
that his girlfriend is probably up in the mountains with a big yank.
He sings near the start of the play with lyrics that sum up his
rebellious attitude and his sense of humour. Finally we have Private
Smith, a minor part in the play but also an important one whose lines
give us a summary of what is happening in the play. He attempts to
break up arguments with Bamforth and other soldiers but they ignore
him due to his low rank. Bamforth enjoys bullying people who can not
stick up for themselves...

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