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Regeneration. The authorial purpose of Pat Barker and Wilfred Owen is to present the harsh reality, of World War 1 and to shock and move us through their portrayals of the horrors at the front and their consequences. Discuss.

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Introduction

Regeneration Regeneration The authorial purpose of Pat Barker and Wilfred Owen is to present the harsh reality, of World War 1 and to shock and move us through their portrayals of the horrors at the front and their consequences. Discuss. Regeneration is deliberately set in a psychiatric hospital, Craiglockhart, and this location highlights some of the major issues of war. Pat Barkers intention in terms of location is obviously because this emphasises some of the key elements of WW1 she wishes to explore, such as the mental trauma that the trenches caused, the often suicidal battle plans of those in charge of the conflict, plus other issues of hierarchical command. From the very beginning the experiences of the patients provide a disturbing insight into the effects of war on the soldiers. Within this hospital, which should be the soldiers sanctuary, their haven we are shocked and moved by Barkers portrayal of events as we realise that the men are seen as unmanly and degenerate for being in hospital. Barker uses the central character of senior psychiatrist Rivers through his therapy with the patients to highlight their war experiences and the horrific effects of those on them. She employs a mix of fictional and historical characters, for example Rivers and the Poets Sassoon and Owen who, suffering from shell shock were at Craiglockhart in 1916. Barker in her research for the novel has clearly immersed herself in the writings of the World War 1 poets, the greatest of whom is undoubtedly Owen. His poems shock and move us even nearly a century later, through their graphic imagery, realism and appeals to the senses that almost bombard us. ...read more.

Middle

Owen in this poem portrays war as something that leaves deep mental scars as well as physical ones. War is described as a recurrent nightmare. Those soldiers who fought in the war will be haunted by the images of war for the rest of their lives: they can?t switch off. This moves us when Owen says, talking of the gassed soldier who dies, ?In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me? the images Owen has of war are omnipresent and he conveys this effectively to us with his use of imagery and similes. In one section of the poem Owen tells of when the soldiers are being gassed - without their helmets they would simply drown. Most of the men managed to fit on the ?clumsy helmets just in time?, one soldier however didn?t manage in the ?ecstasy of fumbling? to get his helmet on in time to save himself. He began ?yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime?. The effect of this simile shocks us, and makes us feel sick, as we can almost taste the lime; his detailed descriptions have helped us imagine so well what it would be like. Owen makes us realise the pain of war when he writes how ?many had lost their boots, but limped on blood shod?. The effect of this metaphor ?blood-shod? makes us think of blood shed and the harshness and pain of war, animals, and the shoeing of horses, how it is painful for them even to put their feet down. ?Blood shod? is a harsh sounding word, and its link to horses symbolises how men in war were forced to act like and were treated like mere animals, those ?who die as cattle? ...read more.

Conclusion

We then heart-breakingly realise that this ?dirt? ?the damned spot was blood, his own?, this touches us almost to the core as we see within hierarchies it isn?t good enough that these soldiers have to fight and witness ?the monstrous anger of guns?, but they have to almost be punished for not being infallible as well, and are severely punished for having bled in the battles. This is hugely pathetic as we see the soldiers are in a no-win situation. As the ?sergeant snapped? at the soldier to hold his mouth we realise that no one wants to hear, no one wants to listen to these soldiers and no one in the higher ranks wants to admit that they are wasting and loosing lives cover up. In Regeneration and throughout Owen?s poems we see a hierarchy of people who want to cover up all the mutilation and act as if someone is winning the awfully. This not wanting to know or hear links in with the deaths that people wanted to war. One particular incident that everyone wanted to cover up was that of Burns. ?What had happened to him was so vile, so disgusting, that Rivers could find no redeeming feature?. Burns was thrown into the air by the explosion of a shell, he landed, head first, onto a German corpse, whose ?gas-filled belly had ruptured on impact?. Burns, before he lost consciousness, had time to realise that decaying human flesh was filling his nose and mouth. Afterwards whenever Burns tried to eat, the smell of rotting flesh came back to haunt him. There is an awful scene in Regeneration where the conditions Burns suffered take him back to the trenches in his imagination as he has been mentally broken by the effects of war. Bottom of Form ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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