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Regeneration - How the War is Explored.

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Regeneration - Pat Barker How the War is Explored: The war in 'Regeneration' is explored 'back home'. Rather than portraying the war in terms of fighting on the frontline in the battlefields of France, Barker demonstrates the effects on the soldiers 'back home', both physically and mentally. The soldiers are those who have been injured, shell-shocked, or had a breakdown and are being treated with the intention of sending those who are able, back to France or at least resuming some kind of war duties. The war is explored, essentially in terms of the psychological effects of those who fought it. The physical traumas and horrific injuries suffered are widely known. However the mental traumas are probably less known and not fully understand. It is from this perspective Barker writes. The book poses as an alternative to the novels written from the perspective and experiences of the soldier who is fighting on the frontline. I Regeneration we learn of these experiences from those who were there but learn them in such a way that we are allowed to understand the real and devastating effects they can have on individuals. Barker manages to provoke the vivid and agonising pain of the First World War through her characters and portrayals of how their lives and they themselves have come to change as people as a result of their involvement in the war. ...read more.


His decision to go back is born out of the guilt complex he develops and his ''solution' was to tell himself that he was going back only to look after some men'. The reason for Sassoon being at Craiglockhart in first place was because of his open 'protests' to the war. He was essentially dangerous for the government and could cause a revolt among the fighters. He is diagnosed for having war-neurosis and this is apparently what he is being treated for, even though Rivers admits there is nothing wrong with his state of mind - it simply did not comply with the government's opinions of the war. Sassoon remains strong in his judgement throughout the novel and his attitude does not change. The biggest and most obvious effect the war has on him is his poetry. However in the end, Rivers is sure, his decision to go back to fight was not all it seems, especially as it was clear Sassoon's opinions had not changed. Sassoon was going back with the intention of being killed and that this was what he wanted and if he survived then a real breakdown would be imminent. This is the ultimate effect the war held over Sassoon. Dr. Rivers - Rivers is too old to fight and is a war doctor/psychiatrist that Sassoon has being especially sent to. ...read more.


In this way the sense of a class system did not always apply but was usually most apparent throughout the war. Burns - The effects the war had on Burns is portrayed firstly through his physical condition. Burns had been thrown into the air, after a shell had exploded. He landed head first in the decomposing body of a German soldier. Since then he has never been able to eat without being sick after. He was once a young, fit and healthy soldier but had now become a rickety sack of skin and bones. There is an episode in Regeneration of his suicide attempt and we learn more about Burns trough his actions rather than his words and emotions. Burns was almost certainly never going to be able to overcome his condition and suffered badly from terrifying nightmares. Burns portrays then men who came back but already had lost their lives. Burns would never be able to return even slightly to the man he once was because his ordeal was too overwhelming and incredibly hard for him to forget and overcome. He is compelled with his thoughts and reminded of his experience in every nightmare and every time he eats. He would rather die and this is what Barker tries to communicate with us - that there were some whose experiences were so devastating that they will never get over them and therefore have already lost their lives. ...read more.

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