Journey's End

Journey's End Quotes and Analysis

"I hope you get better luck than I did with my last officer. He got lumbago the first night and went home. Now he's got a job lecturing young officers on 'Life in the Front Line'."

Captain Hardy, Act I, p. 10

Speaking with Osborne, Hardy mocks the common schemes that officers employ to leave the war. In this passage, he speaks of an officer of his who left because of a back problem and later claimed to be a combat expert, when in reality he was barely able to face life in the trenches.

"Well, if you want to get the best pace out of a cockroach, dip it in whiskey—makes 'em go like hell!"

Captain Hardy, Act I, p. 15

In this quote, Hardy gives Osborne advice on the soldiers' pastime of betting and racing cockroaches, a statement that stands in contrast to the discussion they have had about Stanhope's PTSD-related alcoholism and the looming threat of a rumored German attack. The passage is significant because it represents one of many instances of officers using dark humor to deal with the bleak circumstances in which they live.

"You see, he's been out here a long time. It—it tells on a man—rather badly."

Osborne, Act I, p. 19

In this passage, Osborne tries to warn Raleigh that his heroic image of Stanhope may not match Stanhope's present, battle-addled condition. The difficulty Osborne has in articulating the statement is significant, as it speaks to how Osborne would not like to undermine Stanhope's authority by spreading doubt about his mental condition, while he nonetheless wants the bright-eyed Raleigh not to grow disillusioned.

Osborne: Small boys at school generally have their heroes.

Stanhope: Yes. Small boys at school do.

Osborne: Often it goes on as long as —

Stanhope: — as long as the hero's a hero.

Osborne: It often goes on all through life.

Osborne and Stanhope, Act I, p. 30

In this private conversation on the subject of Raleigh's idolization of Stanhope, Osborne and Stanhope touch on the theme of heroism. Having looked up to Stanhope at school, Raleigh and Raleigh's sister turned him into a hero. However, Stanhope reveals in this dialogue his concern that Raleigh will see Stanhope for who he is truly is, having been damaged by the effects of war. Osborne sees things differently, and has faith that Raleigh will continue to see him as a hero, despite Stanhope's drinking and temper.

"She doesn't know that if I went up those steps into the front line—without being doped up with whiskey—I'd go mad with fright."

Stanhope, Act I, p. 31

In this passage, Stanhope confides to Osborne that he drinks constantly in order to overcome his fear. He is concerned that Raleigh will report in a letter to his sister, to whom Stanhope is engaged, that he drinks constantly. He worries that she will not understand the brutal conditions he endures, and how he relies on drinking in order to calm his addled nerves.

"I believe Raleigh'll go on liking you—and looking up to you—through everything. There's something very deep, and rather fine, about hero-worship."

Osborne, Act I, p. 33

In this passage, Osborne repeats his earlier suggestion that Raleigh's admiration for Stanhope will persist, despite the war-damaged person Stanhope has become. This quote is significant because it reveals Osborne's wisdom; as Stanhope will see when he hears Raleigh's letter, Osborne's prediction bears true.

"Tell me, mother, what is that

That looks like strawberry jam?

Hush, hush, my dear; 'tis only Pa

Run over by a tram—"

Trotter, Act II, Scene 2, p. 62

In this passage, Trotter blithely recites a grim rhyme about a mother reassuring her daughter at the sight of her husband being run over by a tram. This passage is significant because it speaks to the play's thematic concern with repression, revealing how soldiers use gallows humor to remain in high spirits when faced with the grim reality of war.

"To forget, you little fool—to forget! D'you understand? To Forget! You think there's no limit to what a man can bear?"

Stanhope, Act III, Scene 2, p. 85

Raleigh does not feel like partaking in the higher quality food and champagne that celebrates the successful raid because he is stricken by sadness that Osborne did not make it back alive with him. Stanhope rebukes him, clarifying that he isn't the only one who cares that Osborne died, and that he drinks not to celebrate but to cope. This passage is significant because he finally admits to this weakness to Raleigh, risking that Raleigh will pass the revelation on to his sister, to whom Stanhope is engaged.

Raleigh: Hullo— Dennis—

Stanhope: Well, Jimmy—(he smiles)—you got one quickly.

Stanhope and Raleigh, Act III, Scene 3, p.93

After Stanhope learns that Raleigh has had his spine broken by a piece of shrapnel, he orders the sergeant-major to bring Raleigh back to him in the dugout. Lying in Osborne's former bed, Raleigh momentarily regains consciousness. In this passage, the two men greet each other with their first names. Although Raleigh has used Stanhope's first name a number of times, this is the first time that Stanhope calls Raleigh by his. This passage is significant because it reveals a tenderness between the characters, reminding the audience of the human lives that soldiers live outside of war.

"A tiny sound comes from where RALEIGH is lying—something between a sob and a moan."

Stage direction, Act III, Scene 3, p. 94

After Stanhope leaves Raleigh's bedside to fetch a candle, Raleigh emits a small, ambiguous sound. The sound turns out to be the last sound Raleigh makes before he dies—his final breath.