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An exploration of the ways in which the men in Journeys End and Regeneration are affected by the War

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Introduction

An exploration of the ways in which the men in Journey's End and Regeneration are affected by the War Both R.C Sheriff and Pat Barker use their characterisations as means of conveying the effects of the traumas of war on the soldiers in Journey's End and Regeneration. These two texts not only explore the stress and emotional problems the men endured in response to the horrors of war, but also the ways in which they coped with or tried to escape them. Journey's End and Regeneration approach these concepts in sometimes similar ways which can be directly linked, yet at other times in contrasting ways. While Journey's End illustrates the effects of war on the men on the front line in the trenches, Regeneration focuses on the suffering of the aftermath of war of the soldiers their time at Craiglockhart Hospital. In Journey's End it is apparent that Stanhope is affected by his experiences of war and turns to alcohol in attempt to cope with his suffering. Other comrades are aware that his habit has escalated - Hardy comments that he "never did see a youngster put away the whiskey he does" - and they realise how his behaviour contradicts his old principles. Sheriff demonstrates Stanhope's preceding ascetic lifestyle through Raleigh's admiration, "once at school he caught some chaps in study with a bottle of whiskey...The roof nearly blew off". ...read more.

Middle

The men display enthusiasm in playing such child-like games: "if you want to get the best pace out of an earwig, dip it in whiskey - makes 'em go like hell!", suggesting that they are suffering from a loss of youth due to entering the war at such a young age, causing them to revert back to their childhood ways. Similarly, this concept emerges in Regeneration. When Burns invites Rivers to his home, he looks "like a child trying to remember what it was that grown-ups said to newly arrived guests." Here Barker demonstrates how young men could often remain innocent and na�ve through the carnage of war. Furthermore, Barker highlights the fact that Burns has been aged by the war and looks "like a scarecrow". This depiction evokes images of a scrawny, hunchbacked man with weathered skin and a vacant and expressionless face. "The Sam Browne belt, bunching the loose fabric round his waist... tied him together" could be interpreted as a metaphor - the belt being the one thing that is holding himself together emotionally. As a result of being pressurised to mature so hastily in becoming a captain, Burns is shown to be suffering from a loss of youth, both physically and mentally. A prominent distinction displayed between the two texts is the degree of realism established through language and the characters' differing attitudes of war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both authors demonstrate how soldiers can become psychosomatic in response to war. In Journey's End, Sherrif uses Hibbert to offer direct insight in to the psychological damage inflicted on the men. Hibbert claims he "can't stick it any longer" due to suffering from "neuralgia". Despite Stanhope's disregard to this and his view of him being a "worm" and a "shirker", Hibbert maintains that he wants to "go sick". When confronted by Stanhope, Hibbert is shown with his "eyes tightly screwed up" as he "stands quivering", evidently providing an image of someone who's mental state is seriously effected by the war. A similar notion is conveyed by Barker through Willard, who claims that he is paralysed despite Doctors telling him "There was no injury to the spine". Rivers concludes that "paralysis occurs because a man wants to save his life" from taking part in "some hopeless battle". Similarly to Hibbert, Willard is reluctant "to concede anything that might suggest his illness was not purely physical". It is evident that he comes to realise that "I can't walk because I don't want to go back". It can be concluded that, although both texts demonstrate the effects of war, the authors adopt similar and dissimilar methods of illustrating how the horrors of war can scar men psychologically and physically. The results of war on the men in both texts can often be directly linked, despite Sherriff and Barker's alternate styles of approach. Word Count: 1,431 ?? ?? ?? ?? Yasmin Layouni ...read more.

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