My Boy Jack - Act 2


My Boy Jack Act 2

Scene one

  • A 'small silver tray' in the beginning stage directions has several purposes; not only does it show a complete class / luxury contrast to the previous scene in war, it also elevates the importance of what is to come. Despite this high importance, the telegram is ironically sat waiting, heightening the sense of tension of its contents. 
  • Though Rudyard is focused on the problems and solutions with his poem, Carrie is focused on the telegram: '(frightned) Rud?'. This evasion of the telegram heightens tensions, but also shows the continued perspectives. While Rudyard is completely focused on patriotism, his poem, and thus the bigger picture, Carrie is concerned personally for her son
  • When alone, Rudyard appears horrified by the contents of the letter, his repetition indicating an inarticulacy - 'no, no, no'. In public, however, he consoles the family and is more nonchalant - 'strolls'. He suggests that, had he not gone, he 'would have suffered a living death here'. He also draws upon religious references to demonstrate this: 'sacrifice everything to deliver mankind from evil'. 
  • Carrie is utterly devastated by the letter: 'screams', 'my child, my little child'. This poses a stark contrast to the glorified perception that war created men from boys - in reality, they were still largely children. The possessive 'my' also shows a final ownership in something she can truly call hers - the maternal instinct. her second instinct is to blame Rudyard with an accusatory tone. 
  • Elsie has a very interesting perspective. She initially pays little attention to the telegram, going on as 'normal'. However, there is a sudden and instant switch in tone to blame. There is a sense of dramatic irony as she reveals some past conversations with john detailing that his only desire to go to war was to escape from the house: 'the suffocation, the love, the expectation'. Arguably, Elsie's speech is reflective of everyone else's questions and thoughts. 
        • As a whole. the reactions to the telegram are very disjointed, constantly switching between a fast and a slow pace. This indicates the confusion and dissaray caused by loss. 

Scene two

  • Involves a memory of Rudyard with Elsie and John as children - he tells them a story.
  • Arguably, this scene serves to show Rudard's dictation of his children's roles and futures. Aside from Rudyard discounting John's suggestion of being an astronaut, the children also have a structural lack of speech, indicating thier insignificance. 
  • In the story of Grand Trunk Road, John is injured. but okay. It may be that this scene is shown after the news of his disappearance in order to exlain Kipling's reasons for believing him to be okay. It may be some fantasy or idealised belief that everything will work out.  
    • These 'stories' are fulfilled in scene 4; Elsie is married and John had gone into battle, both having completed their duty and expectation.  

Scene three

  • There is a great sense of


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