The Shoe-Horn Sonata


John Misto

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A military captain at the prison camp where Sheila and Bridie are held captive during World War II. When the Australian Prime Minister sends word to the prisoners and tells them to “keep smiling,” Captain Siki relays the message, prompting the women to laugh so much that he eventually tells them “never to smile again.”

Captain Siki Quotes in The Shoe-Horn Sonata

The The Shoe-Horn Sonata quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Siki or refer to Captain Siki. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival, Resilience, and Catharsis Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Currency Press edition of The Shoe-Horn Sonata published in 1996.
Act Two, Scene Nine Quotes

SHEILA: […] Just after Bridie got back on her feet, Captain Siki called a line up. He said: ‘I have good news for Australian womens. Your Emperor, Mr Curtin, sends his greetings. And orders you all to keep smiling.’ At first there was... absolute silence. And then the nurses—[Slightly puzzled]—well I thought they must be crying—because they started to wipe their eyes. But it was from laughter. They were laughing.

M. VOICE: Why? What was so funny?

SHEILA: They were skin and bone and covered in boils—and they’d just been told to ‘keep smiling’! Well they smiled all right. Then they laughed so much they couldn’t control it.

Related Characters: Sheila (speaker), Rick (“M. Voice”) (speaker), Bridie, Captain Siki
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

Siki slapped a few faces and they managed to stop. But all that day you could hear these giggles as the joke went right round the camp. There was even laughter after bed time—instead of the usual sobbing and quarrels. The guards would bark and shine their torches—and all would be quiet till some wit muttered ‘Keep smiling, girls!’—and we’d all crack up. We paid dearly for our fun though. The next day Siki lined us up. He made us stand in the sun for hours—and ordered us never to smile again...

Related Characters: Sheila (speaker), Bridie, Captain Siki, Rick (“M. Voice”)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Captain Siki Character Timeline in The Shoe-Horn Sonata

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Siki appears in The Shoe-Horn Sonata. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act Two, Scene Nine
Survival, Resilience, and Catharsis Theme Icon
...internment. “Not the English,” she says, though the Australian prisoners heard from theirs. One day, Captain Siki announced that the Australian Prime Minister had instructed the prisoners to “keep smiling.” “At first... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Thirteen
Survival, Resilience, and Catharsis Theme Icon
...Sheila, promising that when the war ended, they would go dancing. When the music finished, Captain Siki said, “The Geneva Convention says: All prisoners must have culture. You womens have just had... (full context)