Distinctly Visual Essay: Shoe Horn Sonata

The distinctly visual leads us to think about significant issues in our world.
Do you agree? In your response make detailed reference to distinctly visual qualities of The Shoe-Horn Sonata and ONE other text of your choosing.

Many composers use various techniques in which they communicate the distinctly visual. John Misto’s ‘The Shoe-Horn Sonata’ and Alexander Kimel’s ‘The Action in the Ghetto of Rohatyn, March 1942’ represent significant issues in our world by using various literary and dramatic techniques. Through using these techniques it is evident that the composers of these texts allow the audience to ‘see’ with our eyes as well as with our minds. The many literary and dramatic techniques have the ability to create a visual that links significant and impacting issues within our world.

Throughout ‘The Shoe-Horn Sonata’, Misto uses the shoe-horn as the dominant motif and visual. The shoe-horn is enforced in the name of the play and what it symbolises gives it its importance; however throughout the play its symbolic meaning seems to evolve. Bridie first mentions the shoe-horn in Act 1, Scene 1, where she speaks fondly of it as a gift from her father. “There are three things every young soldier should know. Always use a shoe-horn – it’ll make your boots last longer…” The shoe-horn, for Bridie, represents the joys of home and family, a reminiscence of happiness – a life before the horrors of war. As the play progresses the symbolism of the shoe-horn changes.
Later on during the play, the shoe-horn is used as a survival mechanism when Bridie “taps” Sheila, who cannot swim, to stay awake and to prevent her from drowning in the ocean. Sheila refers to it as a “whack” using a much more dramatic sense of onomatopoeia. Throughout the play, the shoe-horn is of immense help to both Bridie and Sheila and is used as a constant motif. Misto uses symbolism and motifs as a tool to allow the audience to visualise the images that link to significant issues within our...