Pat Barker's Regeneration, Wilfred Owen's Poetry and Joseph Heller's Catch-22

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Explore the psychological and moral impact of war on soldiers and civilians in Pat Barker's Regeneration and Wilfred Owen's poetry. In the course of your writing show how your ideas have been illuminated by your response to Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and other readings of both core texts.

Pat Barker's Regeneration, Wilfred Owen's poetry and Joseph Heller's Catch-22 can all be categorised as subjective war texts as the main structural principle is not dominated by character's actions, but rather, this is subordinated by the moral and psychological processes upon those individuals. Here the authors have used war to present a larger theme or moral implication, by centring the literary texts on war's impact, whether that be a physical or a psychological manifestation of war's disturbing effects. 

Barker wanted primarily to focus her novel on the lasting effects of war, specifically WWI in which this novel is set. In order to do this she has used horror sparingly, allowing her to still show the suffering of the characters without detracting from the point of the novel. One of the few exceptions to this rule is Barkers use of vivid flashbacks to make the soldier's torment apparent. For example, Burns a patient at Craiglockhart War Hospital is left psychologically damaged, after being thrown 'head-first, on a corpse, whose gas-filled belly had ruptured on impact'. Barker intended that her novel be focused on the psychological and moral processes of war, in order to educate the public as to the extent of wars reach, in an attempt to prevent the continuation of war. The chronological ordering and interlinking protagonists results in a sense of fluidity, where the ease of reading and direct writing style allow Barker to more effective present her argument, although the novel allows us to draw our own conclusions.

Heller's novel set in WWII focuses on the damage inflicted by the war on the soldier's minds, both in driving them to madness and in blurring the line of...
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