John Misto, play writer of “The Shoe Horn Sonata” has assuredly represented this thematic perception of war and how individuals can live out their experiences. This concept has been ultimately achieved through the many themes and symbols throughout the play.
The Shoe Horn is a huge symbol in the play. The shoe horn is the predominant recurring symbol, linking past and present. It symbolizes fear, pain and degradation, friendship, truth and loyalty. It may be just a small prudent object but it comes to represent larger ideas. It was given to Bridie when she set off overseas as an army nurse from her father as a gift. The shoe horn first appeared when they are adrift in the sea representing will to live by ‘tapping’ Sheila to keep her awake. Bridie also carries the belief that Sheila retrieved the quinine by exchanging the shoehorn but creates much conflict internally in Sheila and has much strain on their friendship. In the end though, it comes to represent the enduring nature of Bridie’s and Sheila’s friendship and love.
A major theme in “The Shoe Horn Sonata” is war. War is a time of devastation and destruction; a time where people are forced to suffer from traumatic and horrendous experiences. These experiences of war can last a life time and can affect victims through post-traumatic stress developed due to the experience. “The Shoe Horn Sonata” highlights the horrors of war particularly for the women and civilians. The awful way the Japanese treated the POW is absolutely dreadful. These traumatic events have affected both women’s lives and after. These memories are tinged with guilt and shame. But there were some positive effects of the war for these women. The women of the camp built a stronger relationship in which they supported each other demonstrate a friendship. Demonstration of the women’s’ courage, loyalty and determination to be able to recount the incidents during the wartime.
The theatre and curtains represents the ‘Power of Art’. The power of...