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How does Barker present the notions of masculinity in Regeneration?

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  • Essay length: 1294 words
  • Submitted: 17/01/2010
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How does Barker present the notions of masculinity in Regeneration?

Masculinity and its boundaries are two key themes presented throughout 'Regeneration'. Barker explores the notions of these motifs through different characters and their personal lives - whether they be memories from the front line or experiences from their time spent at Craiglockhart Hospital. Recurring images of emasculation range from actual physical emasculation, to images of psychological wounds which have stripped the patients of their sense of manhood. Barker also emphasises that masculinity is not a static concept; the loss of it can be triggered in numerous ways.

The hospital patients are constantly haunted by their fears of emasculation through both mental illness and physical injury. Anderson fearfully recalls dreams about being tied up in female corsets: "They fastened them round my arms and tied the laces." The agony Anderson suffers demonstrates a common fear, shared by the patients, of losing any form of masculinity they may have. Anderson continues by questioning Rivers, "I suppose it is possible someone might find being locked up in a loony bin a fairly emasculating experience?" Evidently, Anderson feels that being 'imprisoned' in a mental hospital is degrading to his gender

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