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Analyse the ways in which Barker presents crises of belief occasioned by WWI, in ‘Regeneration’.

Barker uses a variety of ways to loss of faith. The most common loss of faith was in God. Barker explores this with the characters Rivers, when he is rescuing Burns from the knocked down tower. Rivers thinks to himself “Nothing justifies this. Nothing nothing nothing.” This points out to himself that even God cannot exist and let this happen. This quote is also in italics to emphasise the passion in which he says it. It gives the sentence the emotion of anger, and this makes the words sound harsh and punchy. The repetition of the word ‘nothing’ is more memorable for the reader because of the same assonant in the statement. This makes it a very effective form of conveying crises of belief. But seeing as we do not have records of everybody’s thoughts, this kind of thinking might not be typical in the WWI.

This is a thought that leads on from Rivers’ inner monologue inside a church earlier on in the novel. He says that war has broken the society in which they live. The ‘inheritors’ are being killed off in France while the rest gather together and sing hymns. “The congregation, having renounced reason,” - The character Rivers seems to convey that believing in God is a ridiculous thing to do. He thinks that the other church attenders have gone mad.

Barker also uses anecdotes to convey a crises of belief in God. Sassoon’s friend Potter, used crucifixes as shooting practice. “‘Shells falling all around but the figure of our Lord was spared’? ... There weren’t many miraculous crucifixes in Potter’s section of the front.” This story shows how widespread the loss of faith was. It gives insight to the rest of the soldiers fighting in the war.

It is ironic how religion has brought civilians together, but to anyone involved in the war, it’s something they are being separated from. These two ideas contrast and highlight how out of touch the war was from the rest of...
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