Prior's Fear of Emasculation in Regeneration

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In Pat Barker's Regeneration, emasculation is a major concern for the characters at the Craiglockhart Hospital. The patients' fear of emasculation is reflected in their dreams, nightmares, and relationships with other characters. Anderson has a dream where he is being tied down with corsets, Rivers and Sasoon discus the "intermediate sex" and the meaning of being "neuter," but most importantly, Prior's fear of emasculation effects his treatment and his life at the hospital. Billy Prior is a very complicated character who has had a difficult life both during his childhood at home and during the war. The reader gets a glimpse of Prior's past when his parents come to visit Craiglockhart. His parents have completely opposite goals for Prior, which might explain Prior's conflicted nature. His mother protected him so much as a child that he became very sensitive but his father, in contrast, wanted Billy to grow up the hard way and solve his own problems. His parents' perspectives have affected Billy's beliefs about war and his treatment. Prior wants to prove to himself that he is a good soldier and is masculine. On the other hand, his mother's tender upbringing causes him to fear death in the war. His desire to be masculine and the way his mother raised him are opposing forces. These contrasting forces are shown in his views on his treatment. The Craiglockhart hospital's treatment philosophy is to cure patients by having them talk about their memories, familiers, hears, and anything that is bothering them. Even though this can be considered an emasculating process, and Rivers even realizes this, Rivers continues treating his patients in such a fashion. However, Prior does not want to be cured in the traditional way Rivers uses at Craiglockhart. He suggests hypnosis instead. Prior's refusual of Rivers's method can be directly connected to how his parents raised him—his father trained his to be as masculine as possible and his to resist his mother's technique of...
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