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To what dramatic purpose does Willis Hall use Act 1 of the play "The Long and the Short and the Tall"? Free essay! Download now

Home > GCSE > English language > To what dramatic purpose does Willis Hall use Act 1 of the play "The Long and the Short and the Tall"?

To what dramatic purpose does Willis Hall use Act 1 of the play "The Long and the Short and the Tall"?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1450 | Submitted: 18-Mar-2009
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Coursework on the first half of the play "The Long and the Short and the Tall" by Willis Hall


The play, “The Long and the Short and the Tall” is about a group of seven soldiers, some of whom are not very trained to be in the army. It is set in the Malayan Jungle, in January 1942. This was the time of the Japanese advance on Singapore. The group of seven soldiers take temporary refuge in an old abandoned tin mine hut just before heading back heading back to their base which was 15 miles south from them.

Willis Hall uses the first Act to introduce the characters. Bamforth is key to this process. This is because Willis Hall uses the conflicts between Bamforth and the other soldiers to bring out the other characters’ personalities. Bamforth himself is first. We see he is lazy and has contempt for army rules. This is shown by the way he throws his pack on the floor and wants to go to sleep, leading to him being told off by Johnstone, who tells him to ‘get on your feet.’ When he is getting up he does this slowly. This shows the disrespect he has for his superior officer, calling him a ‘Nit’ under his breath when getting up. When he is getting told off, he acts like a schoolboy giving a childish excuse. When Johnstone asks what he said, Bamforth says he “only coughed”. We realise Bamforth feels strongly when he explodes with hatred at Johnstone after he leaves the hut, by calling Johnstone a ‘Flipping toe-rag!’ and declaring that he needs ‘sorting out’. This shows the violent side of Bamforth, which he picked up in London, where he is from.

After establishing Bamforth, Willis Hall uses him to bring in the other soldiers. Between pages 1-8 he comes into conflicts with all the other men apart from Mitchem, one after another. He does eventually come into conflict with Mitchem midway through Act 1. The fact that they’re all in conflict with Bamforth of some stage means that they reveal themselves very quickly to us; it shows what they are passionate about and what means most to them.

The first soldier who comes into Bamforth’s way is Johnstone, who we have seen is a violent ruthless man, who involves himself in private vendettas:
‘I’ll have you in the nick so fast your feet wont touch the ground.’


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