Shoe Horn Sonata – Distinctive Visual Essay
The composer John Misto of ‘Shoe-Horn Sonata’ creates a wide image of distinctive visual techniques through imagery. John Misto uses this visual technique to raise awareness of the damaged chaos that occurred to the women who have been captured by the Japanese. By using distinctively visual techniques Misto allows the viewers to empathise with the crucial actors/segregation that the Japanese people were showing towards the women. “I wanted to cry.
But I reminded myself I was a woman of the Empire. And it just wasn’t done to show fear to the natives. I could almost hear my mother saying: ‘Chin up, gel! And where are your gloves? ’ ” John Misto created a written visual image that comes through in Act 1 Scene 3 (page 36). This is brought up in the play when Bridie and Sheila are being interviewed by Rich (Host), they were originally talking about the conditions that they were in, how they were starved and the lack of nutrition.
First person is expressed through this quote using the word “I” to initiate the effect the audience will have towards the characters. Reminiscing of what her mother had told her in her childhood, also takes back the audience with her, living her life and knowing what kind of woman she really was. The strength she had was emphasised through her being the woman of the empire, not fearing natives being the Japanese men. The visual language used to emphasises the effect on how the audience understands what is being said, “I wanted to cry” is giving a side note to the audience.
This simply gives the audience the information needed to understand the condition of the women, the link of this lets the audience how the state of the men would affect them. The emotive word ‘cry’ is used to allow the readers to empathise with the women, but also give them confidence with the powerful language of “a woman of the empire”. The constant rivalry between the Japanese Soldiers and the prisoners means it was a permanent competition between who was to be the more superior.
The reference of Sheila saying that she was a woman of the Empire meant that she was trying to put the Japs down to say they are lower than the prisoners. “I reminded myself that I was a woman of the Empire” is referring to the women as being higher than the Japs; this can allude to the women as being of greater and higher class families, this could further allude to attitude that the Japanese were inferior to the white society. This gives the audience a distinctively visual image of the play because it is the key reason why people are so divided and the audience can see this through the attitudes that the 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. “And it just wasn’t done to show fear to the natives” is part of the quote which shows that the women knew there place even as prisoners of war, but they also knew they too wont give in and had to comply with the Japanese way of life or else they would suffer mere torturous conditions they were put in.
Having to be a prisoner means to be a ‘number’, not being treated like a person, but being treated like a machine who is give certain tasks to do. The women were being starved and abused, this is a strong image, undermining the prisoners to the point of deprecation is the image that Misto is trying to convey to the audience. This will allow the audience to feel sympathetic towards the Australian women , but also feel as though even if they went through all these problems, they still managed to pull through, a fine characteristic of an Aussie woman.
Misto created this image for the audience to understand the loneliness and fright they were in even before being kidnapped; it was the image that was created that was used to show the unbearable selfishness by the Japanese. The Japanese wanted to be able to control the women whilst they were in the POW camps. In this quote the audience uses their imagination to picture this division of the women. The separation of the sexes is to take the feeling away from the prisoners; to not allow them to communicate or be together and 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 prisoners in order to make them do the work. Simply gives orders by the Japanese, and not to have anything said back, comments or rebellion would lead to death. “Those first few weeks were a nightmare. Women sobbing for their husbands. Babies crying – always hungry. And the Japs’d come round and beat us for the fun of it. ‘useless mouths’ they used to call us. ” In this quote in Act 1 scene 5 (page43), Misto is giving the image of the women getting treated forcefully and very harsh.
As the reader we visualise this and awful experience by the prisoners and how helpless all the other women were to the one getting assaulted. The intensity and pressure the women were feeling was something that a women would barely ever come across which would make it worse for what they are going through. Misto also creates distinctively visual techniques through the actions of the women once they see the natives. Sheila has stated that a ship had come out of nowhere just after dawn, but after screaming out to them “Yoo-hoo, chaps. I say, yoo-hoo! ” Bridie realised this was a ship of the Japs.
Bridie and Sheila both felt the surge of the helpless sadness rush through them as they started to sing as a way of hope. While in the camps after being captured the women were still able to keep their faith of getting out of the POW camp, keeping strong by seeing ‘people of their kind’ and knowing that many Australians were still alive, and that gave them hope and strength. This allows the audience to grasp the emotional image of the women being horrified from the conditions they were in, but the strength of Australian women was also exposed through the motivation they expressed themselves through distinctive looks.
The cultural difference means that one race will be superior over the other. “And it just wasn’t done to show fear to the natives” is part of the quote which shows that the women knew there place even as prisoners of war, but they also knew they could be too stubborn and had to comply to the Japanese way of life or else they would get killed. Having to be a prisoner means to be a ‘number’, not being treated like a person, but being treated like a machine with a job to do.
The women were being starved and abused, this is a strong image, undermining the prisoners to the point of deprecation is the image that Misto is trying to convey to the audience. This quote is very effective in trying to communicate distinctly visual themes because the quote was made whilst describing the situation that the POWs experienced in the war. This is important when relating to the play because the audience can create a bigger picture of the conditions that women were put through unfortunate circumstances during war. This quote was to show the visuals of the separation and harassment the prisoners felt.