Discuss How Barker Presents the Theme of Imprisonment and Feelings of ‘Being Trapped’ Through the Characters of Burns and Prior in ‘Regeneration’

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Discuss how Barker presents the theme of imprisonment and feelings of ‘being trapped’ through the characters of Burns and Prior in ‘Regeneration’

Within the novel ‘Regeneration’ Pat Barker explores the theme of imprisonment and the feeling of ‘being trapped’ through the use of setting and the characters mentality. ‘Regeneration’ was written in 1991; however, Barker sets the novel in 1917, during the First World War. The setting for this novel is at Craiglockhart War hospital in Scotland and is mainly rooted to this one location. It is at Craiglockhart that Barker explores the theme of imprisonment. It’s not the characters which Barker uses to show imprisonment and feeling ‘trapped’. Barker uses the setting of Craiglockhart to expand the reader’s visual image of how the characters are trapped or imprisoned. Sassoon, in chapter five, makes a comparison between Craiglockhart and ‘dottyville’ by saying; ‘It makes dottyville almost bearable.’ Barker mostly uses the interior landscape of Craiglockhart to show that the characters are still trapped in the war. For example, the corridors are described with a powerful simile; ‘like a trench without a sky’. By using this description, it links the hospital and the front line together and this could perhaps make some patients worse under those conditions. The description could suggest that the corridors are worse than warfare trenches because there is no natural light above them but instead a dark and dingy room. The setting of Craiglockhart is still darkened even at the very beginning of the novel; ‘Nobody arriving at Craiglockhart for the first time could fail to be daunted by the sheer gloomy, cavernous bulk of the place.’ This allows the reader to get a first impression of Craiglockhart. Being in a place like Craiglockhart shows how soldier’s conditions deteriorated through society constrictions.

Throughout ‘Regeneration’, Barker uses a theme of Imprisonment in the presentation of her characters. This is to show...
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