• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Barker present the notions of masculinity in Regeneration?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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 role. Sassoon also exemplifies how the struggle of the patients maintaining their manliness affects them mentally. ...read more.

Middle

from military service". While Rivers concurs with Sassoon, he warns that although "there's nothing more despicable than using a man's private than using a man's private life to discredit his views", it is unfortunately "frequently done". Sassoon is advised to be careful of what he says, and therefore is pressurised to conform to the behavioural 'norms' of society. The novel communicates the common idea of the period, that "Men who broke down, or cried, or admitted to feeling fear, were sissies, weaklings, failures. Not men." It is perceptible that the men are continuously fighting a battle to sustain their masculinity and to veil any signs of emotion during their time at Craiglockhart: "They'd been trained to identify emotional repression as the essence of manliness." In other words, the fundamental nature of being a man is to hold back all emotion and failing to do so may be seen as being twice emasculated. Yet such efforts to preserve masculinity prove to be complicated, since Rivers's job is to force his patients to do the exact opposite. Rivers often contemplates the characteristics - labelled as effeminate by society - needed for his caring profession. He believes that "tears were an acceptable and helpful part of grieving" and that "horror and fear were inevitable responses to the traumas of the war and were better acknowledged than repressed." ...read more.

Conclusion

Rivers realizes that Prior's aggression is the "closest Prior could come to asking for physical contact." Prior's response shows that he is struggling to hold onto his manliness, because he is not able to hug Rivers or allow himself to be held. Consequently, he feels that the only way to physically comfort himself, whilst withholding his masculinity, is to hurt Rivers. His treatment with hypnosis forces Prior to put aside the masculine gender role, in this case, being unemotional. This form of complete submission to emotions exhibits how men must alter their masculine gender role in order to heal in this novel. In conclusion, concerns over effeminate behaviour are presented throughout 'Regeneration' and are commonly coupled with the idea of the masculine heroism of warfare and the repression of one's emotions during the war. It is ostensible that the patients suffer something universal - they are caught in an intense dilemma between the need to recuperate from the traumas of war and the need to protect their sense of belonging and identity as members of British society. The boundaries between the two traditional genders appear to become increasingly indistinguishable as the patients lose the qualities, which are for them, are essential in their identity as men. Ultimately, Barker's exploration of emasculation in her novel challenges the traditional notions of manliness. ?? ?? ?? ?? Yasmin Layouni ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Who does Bennett present as a better teacher: Hector or Irwin?

    After she finds out about Hector's early retirement, brought about subsequently by his paedophilic habits with the boys, she refers to the headmaster as a "twat" and then a "condescending cunt". She then goes on to explain how Hector could be compared to a myth at a previous post: "Droves

  2. An exploration of the ways in which the men in Journeys End and Regeneration ...

    These black circles evoke images of bullet holes, showing that the concept of war is always on the soldiers' minds and they struggle to escape such thoughts. Trotter is also used to create a sense of bathos throughout the play, through his constant longing for food.

  1. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit can be interpreted as a coming of age ...

    In traditional fairytales, the woman/princess would be dependent on man and would accept his hand in marriage, however in Jeanette's tale, it is the complete opposite. One would also expect the prince to be handsome, charming and brave, however in the fairytale is only referred to as "quite pretty".

  2. Analyse Barkers presentation of the love between men in the novel Regeneration.

    his sexuality from the outside world. Barker uses the prolific amount of Doctor/Patient interviews throughout the novel to present different views to homosexuality. These interviews create a safe environment for Sassoon to present his views, although in a somewhat guarded fashion and Graves and Rivers seem to embrace Sassoon's sexuality

  1. English Literature Assessment Lucy Honeychurch and Stevens are two characters who represent the ...

    them from being together in Italy as much as possible, I think deep down, Miss Bartlett wished for George and Lucy to end up together, and her love for Lucy is more powerful than her sense of respectability. But the social order has kept her prisoner to her own desires.

  2. In what ways does Barker present ideas about madness and sanity in Regeneration? How ...

    However, Barker questions our assumptions by showing us that Burns is capable of lucid, complex thought. When talking to Rivers he says that "'somebody had to imagine that death'" , referring to crucifixion, showing that he is able to recognise man's inhumanity to man and presumably relate it to his own experiences.

  1. How does Faulks present death throughout the novel?

    whole and people eventually forget about them and the sacrifice they made for our country. Faulks uses Weir to create an emotional attachment with the reader to show how his death can be so cruel: âWeirâs terror under The guns has been a conductor for his own fearâ.

  2. Explore the theme of emasculation in Pat Barkers Regeneration.

    than psychological, therefore Prior being in Craiglockhart is an embarrassing and emasculating experience for him. When Prior is mute and examines his throat, he writes on a notepad, "THERE'S NOTHING PHYSICALY WRONG." By using capital letters and at the same time admitting that he has nothing physically wrong with him

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work