Essay Shoe Horn Sonata Quotes On Love

Shoe Horn Sonata

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The Shoe- Horn Sonata
***
"The Shoe- Horn Sonata" is a play by John Misto that gives an insight into two lives of two female POWs in WW II and is a vector of Misto’s thoughts. It explores the little known and often terrible events associated with female prisoners of war. The play follows a friendship of two women through the war to a point of tension that’s beyond what any normal friendship would have to deal with. Misto engages his audience by using a multitude of mediums to portray his story creating a truly multimedia performance. The playwright challenges the audience to look beyond this to the underlying ideas of survival, loyalty and truth.
***
The play opens with a scene almost as dramatic as the characters, introducing Bridie. She stands on a spotlight demonstrating the "Kow Tow" bow for respect in the centre of the stage then "claps her hands sternly", immediately revealing the strong assertive nature of her character. The audiences become intrigued, and listen as she straightens difficulty from the Kow Tow, showing she is forceful and feisty but not young. As the "On Air" sign becomes visible the audiences realize she is being interviewed as she informs her audience she had enlisted in WW II following her dad’s footsteps. She tells her audience that her father gave her a Shoe-horn and two pieces of advice,
“Don’t sit on a toilet seat until you have lined it with toilet paper” and
“Never kiss a Pommie on the lips”.
A marching song “Fall in Brother” was heard as images became visible on the screen of “Women Disembarking Singapore”. Misto created a dramatic atmosphere that captured the audience’s attention right through the introduction.

The second scene appeared to be in the motel room where Bridie’s Friend Sheila is introduced. This scene was in the Motel Room, which was used several times in the play being a place where private revelation and growing tension between Bridie and Sheila took place. Tension between the two took place immediately in scene two as,
“Bridie and Sheila stop in the doorway. There is slight but obvious tension between them”,
Silence and body language were used by the two characters to create such tension towards the audiences as it is a emotion which no words can cater for or adequately express.

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MLA Citation:
"Shoe Horn Sonata." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=169013>.

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This aroused a high sense of drama as the surprising intensity between them is evident as there is silence as they then count in Japanese together; “Ya-Ta” was called out by them as they grabbed the suitcase onto the bed which sounded like a war cry as a Blackout followed.

The play shows a dramatic irony as the audience’s seem to grab clues about the women leading them towards a direction knowing more the actual interviewer as the audiences seem to wonder why Bridie and Sheila lost contact for such a long time as suspense builds up on the audience’s answers. As the recollections of their past takes place the ladies strengths and resilience are revealed. Sheila’s tone seemed to be ‘tense’ as she spoke with,
“Short, Sharp Accents”,
Revealing her character, that has something unfinished in the past. This is evident when Rick, the interviewer takes the interview to a deeper level asking,
“Did the Japs. Ever try to take advantage of you?”
Sheila becomes nervous, not wanting Bridie to realize.
***
Rick’s role plays an important part as he is unseen and acts as a vehicle for direction of public recollection. Rick’s purpose was to prompt the interview and give the women a purpose to retell their story. He pushes the conversation to places both Bridie and Sheila don’t want to talk about. However it is necessary if their past is to be revealed and adequately resolved. Rick’s questions have them arguing about the women who did sleep with the Japanese men as Sheila supported them saying,
“They had no choice”,
As some had starving children as Bridie strongly opposes,
“To sleep with a Jap? How could you ever live with yourself?”
Misto used such a rhehoritical question to show these opposing views that built the girls tension and gave the audience a hint that there is something very significant which may have happened in the past.

Loyalty is such an underlying theme as each character’s loyalty to their own country is demonstrated in scene four as Bridie defends the Australian Government and shows contempt for the attacks and actions of The British Empire and The British Women in the same time Sheila’s patriotism is shown through,
“One never stops being British, Nor does one want to”,
She is critical of Australia and defends actions of the Empire and British Women who collaborated with the Japanese men,
“They had children to feed!”
Each Character’s strong loyalty of their country acts as a catalyst for arguments and development of tense between the characters. Scene four is such an interesting scene for conflict between the characters as it is in the motel room where they discuss the interview and their cultural differences. The argument between the reaches a crisis point but Bridie backs down as she doesn’t want to fight.

Memoric’s of the camp and shared experiences with the Japanese officer Lipstick Larry brings Bridie and Sheila close again. The playwright employs particular effective techniques to touch the audience and shape reaction to Lipstick Larry’s cruelty. On the screen Sheila was no longer a 65 year old women, she was a frightened but courage’s 15 year old crying out in horror as Lipstick Larry assaults her friend,
“Bridie, Bridie”,
Lipstick Larry’s attack on Bridie, after finding the pin she had planted in his loincloth, Sheila’s attempt to intervene to help Bridie are Precursors to the more shocking events which happen later. Bridie’s sense of humors and courage are evident in this scene as is Sheila’s admiration for and devotion to her friend at the time. The audiences are made aware of the brutality of the women’s experiences as the soundtrack continues to carry the sound of Lipstick Larry beating Bridie. Although powerless to prevent the beatings the women are still strong and resilient.
***
Misto finally reveals Sheila’s secret in a very dramatic and emotional way. The use of a combination of “lightning, songs and voice overs” telling the audience what Sheila did. She had slept with a Japanese man in return for quinine for Bridie who had a severe cause of malaria during the war. The audiences learn this as they hear,
“Crickets in the Background with young Sheila and men speaking in the background.”
This scene closes with young Sheila singing,
“It’s a lovely day tomorrow”.
The use of numerous techniques combined had moved the audience towards a direction as Misto created a truly multi-media performance.

Misto had to juxtapose the deep scenes with lighter ones to keep the audiences engaged.
Bridie- “As I drifted off to sleep, I wondered about the soldier and If Id ever see him again”,
Rick- “And did you?”
Bridie- “Yes, as a matter of fact I did, after the war I married him”.
Ricks purpose was to spark the conversation, not only to have the power to pull the women’s interview in any way but also to symbolize all the other men and women who had complete control over their destiny. The military officials and generals had complete control over their fate but remained unseen. Rick symbolizes this and the great courage the women had to survive under such conditions.
***
Images of two women POWs projected onto the screen in scene six were described as,
“Stick and Bone dressed in rags”,
Bridie was one of these women and this is the time she had seen the soldier she got married to. The technique effectively conveys the women’s survival as the audience is made to confront the suffering the women endured. Survival was conveyed through the use of voice overs, as at the end of the scene young Sheila and Japanese Guards were heard,
The Guard- “You sing now Sheila, Speedo! Speedo!”
This technique effectively highlights the physical and psychological abuse women had endured throughout their imprisonment.

Misto revealed the Climax of the play as Bridie found out about Sheila’s secret with great drama. The women were quarrelling about why they never stayed in touch for over 50 years, Bridie realize what may have happened,
“Don’t look away, would you have gone to the Japs. For me?”
The contrast between Bridie’s loud angry tone and silence of Sheila proved that. This was very effective in resolving the tension in the play, as the silence aroused a great sense of drama, allowing the audience to absorb what was confirmed. Use of techniques is what creates a dramatic atmosphere to recount of these women.

Although the climax is resolved, it took Bridie a lot to accept what happened,
“You should have let me die.”
But as time goes on they both end up appreciating what has happened to them and acknowledging that it only made them stronger,
“I’d go to the Japs. Again if I had to and I wouldn’t think twice- cause Bridie’s my friend and that’s all there is to it”
Misto used the women’s situation to portray his ideas and the fact you can move on with your life until your past is resolved. This is a dramatic theme that relates to everyone just as Misto’s one does.

John Misto concluded the play by using the “Shoe-Horn” as a symbol of the girl’s story. It symbolizes the strong loyalty of the characters relationships as it reappears, Misto used sound effects of “The distant sound of crickets” highlighting Sheila was hiding something. She traded herself instead of The Shoe-Horn creating sympathy towards Sheila and loyalty between all the other women by the audiences. The Shoe-Horn is a life saving instrument in the South China Sea as Bridie used it to tap Sheila in the water,
“She hit me”,
To a tool to dig graves with, when their hands were bleeding and a metronome in the choir,
“Is that a Shoe-Horn; now we have a Metronome?”
This had lifted their spirits and strengthened their bonds. Above all, the Shoe-Horn was a symbol of what Sheila gave the Japs. when she should have given them that shoehorn. This symbolism is what completed the plays dramatic nature as the Shoe-Horn itself symbolizes what the women went through.



John Misto's The Shoe-Horn Sonata

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John Misto's The Shoe-Horn Sonata

“On the other side of our barbed wire fence were twenty or thirty Aussie men – as skinny as us – and wearing slouch hats. Unlike the Japs, they had hairy legs. And they were standing in rows – serenading us.”

John Misto created a written visual image that comes through in Act 1 Scene 7 (Page 52). This is brought up in the play when Bridie and Sheila are being interviewed by Rick (Host), they were originally talking about the conditions that they were in, how they were starved and the lack of nutrition, this then moves on to how they sang through the hunger at Christmas. The Japanese then allowed the Australian men to visit the nurses, while the nurses sang a Christmas carol them. “The Japs let us do it”.

Misto created this image for the viewer to understand the separation between the men and the women in war; it was the image that was created that was used to show the division of the Australians by the Japanese. The Japanese wanted to be able to control the Australians whilst they were in the POW camps. In this quote the audience uses their imagination to picture this division of the Australians. The separation of the sexes is to take away the feelings away from the prisoners; to not allow them to communicate or be together is to block the emotions they would normally feel. The Japanese are simply stopping them to feel emotion, to stop this would be to dehumanise the Australians in order to make them do the work, like a robot, just a number to count by the Japanese. Simply given orders by the Japanese, and not to have anything said back, comments or rebellion would lead to death.

The visual language used emphasises the effect on how the audience understands what is being said, “– as skinny as us –“ is giving a side note to the audience. This simply gives the audience the information needed to understand the condition of the Australian men, as the audience knows the condition of the nurses already; the relation lets the audience know the state of men. The hyphen gives a space for the reader or the viewer to pause and think about what is being said, this aids the viewer to understand what is being said because of the emphasise placed on the quote.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"John Misto's The Shoe-Horn Sonata." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=162271>.

LengthColor Rating 
Reflections Of Society In Literature Essay - Structure and characterisation The structure of the play The Shoe-Horn Sonata is divided into two acts: the longer Act One, with eight scenes, and a shorter Act Two, with six scenes. It follows theatrical custom by providing a major climax before the final curtain of Act One, which resolves some of the suspense and mystery, but leaves the audience to wonder what direction the play will take after the interval. The action cuts between two settings: a television studio and a Melbourne motel room. The opening scene, with Bridie demonstrating the deep, subservient bow, the kow-tow, demanded of the prisoners by their Japanese guards during tenko, takes the audience straight into the action....   [tags: Shoe-Horn Sonata Analysis John Misto]962 words
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The small side note can be contrasted against the originally long sentences that were in that same speech, to have a long sentence followed by a short sentence created a sense of importance to the side note. For the audience to listen/read to the speech Bridie is making, and then suddenly pause and say “as skinny as us” aids the audience to understand the situation they are in. This can also be related to the “serenading us” which refers to the men singing to the women in the play, it has the same effect as mentioned before. As well as this showing it to be important, it is also significant to the story, having a serenade is to be gently sing affectionately to the women, this is the point where Misto is allowing the men and women to be able to connect emotionally to each other, where as the Japanese have strictly not allowed any communication, but the Japanese do recognize the traditions of the Australians and accept their culture, whether they respect it or not.

Bridie has stated the number of men that were visiting, it is to give a figure and to set the context for the audience, “twenty or thirty Aussie men”, this is an indication that Bridie may not have paid attention to the men too much, as Bridie mentioned before she had to battle through the hunger and sing through the starvation, she might have been so focused on the singing that she didn’t take a proper look at the men visiting, this gives the audience an indication that she must have tried hard, being dedicated and devoted to singing to make that Christmas better for everyone, Bridie was clearly trying to make it better for the other prisoners, by making an effort to benefit the other prisoners. Visually, this is how Misto wanted them to appear outside the POW camp, a group of men coming to visit is powerful and is important to the story. The women were able to keep their faith of getting out of the POW camp, keeping strong by seeing ‘people of your kind’ is important for them to see that their people are still alive and they are as well. This is very important for the story because it is what keeps them strong and keeps them moving forward without giving up, it’s the image of them being able to grasp them emotionally and give them motivation to continue on til the end of the war, the visual of this can assist the audience and allow the viewer to be empathic to the POWs.

The constant contrasting between the Japanese and the Australians means it is a permanent competition between who is the superior race. The reference to the how hairy the legs were of the men meant that they were trying to put down the Japanese.
“Unlike the Japs, they had hairy legs” is referring to the Australian men having hairy legs; this can allude to the Australians being more ‘manly’. This contrasting is an allusion from the Japanese to the Australians, making it appear as if the Japanese are not ‘manly’, this could further allude to attitude that the Australians hold of the Japanese, they are inferior to the white society. Bridie could be implying that the Australians are superior of the Japanese, being more of a man for having more hair than them could be a symbol for cultural supremacy. This gives the audience a distinctively visual image of the play because it is the key to the cultural separation, appearance as well as culture is key reason why people are so divided and the audience can see this through the attitudes that they women held. This visual is strong and is the theme of the play, the differences humans hold as an excuse to fight in war, both politically and culturally.

The cultural difference means that one race will be superior over the other, in this instance; it is the Japanese, having control over another race of people.
“And they were standing in rows” is part of the quote that shows the obedience the Australian men have acquired since being prisoners of war, having to comply to the Japanese way of life. Having to be a prisoner means to be a ‘number’, not being treated like a person, but as a machine with a job to do. The women see the men lined up in rows, having to be looked down on by the Japanese. The women soon realise that the men are being treated the same as the women, being starved and abused is such a strong image, undermining the Australians to the point of desperation is the image that Misto is trying to convey to the audience.

The “barbed wire fence” is distinctively visual, the visual that the audience can imagine from this is the separation of the men and women (as mentioned before), the significance of this the women and men have not been able to communicate or make any form of contact, and even though the Japanese have brought them together, they are still being divided by the Japanese, even though they are together the Japanese are still there in the middle of them to somehow intervene between the two parties. We can visualize this intervention that the Japanese feel is necessary, they are in no state to be able to fight or rebel against the Japanese, simply because of their physical condition that they have been drawn into. The Japanese still feel that they must get involved in the connection between the POWs as a note to them that they must not get too comfortable and that it will not be often this happens, also because of the fact that it is done at Christmas time implies that it is a seasonal occasion.

This quote is very effective in trying to communicate distinctively visual themes because the quote was made whilst describing the situation that the POWs experienced in the war. This is important when relating it to the play because the audience can paint a bigger picture of the circumstances that they were in whilst the war was in place. This quote was to show the visuals of the separation and division of the Australians by the Japanese by secluding them from the different sexes along with the superior attitude of the Japanese and the attitude of the Australians have of the Japanese soldiers.



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