Regeneration: World War I

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‘Regeneration' by Pat Barker is a novel focusing on Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland in 1917. The novel shows the physical and mental traumas inflicted by the war on the soldiers. Apart from the main war, the novel also addresses the internal 'wars' in Britain, based on class, gender, father and son relationships, the 'sane' and the 'insane', the soldiers and the civilians. While men aspired to gain glory from war and become heroes, Regeneration effectively conveys that not all of war was glorious .The horrible mental and physical sicknesses, which plagued a number of soldiers, caused many men to withdraw from the battlefield. Feelings of guilt and shame haunted many of these soldiers as they found themselves removed from the heat of war. Barker discusses many issues plaguing the soldiers at the front, which gives insight into the reasons why many soldiers were getting disillusioned and turning against the war. The war is brought to life by the flashbacks the soldiers experience in their nightmares as well as in their interaction with Dr. Rivers. Barker offers realistic details of many horrible war scenes, dwelling upon the destruction that war wreaks upon men's minds. Throughout the novel, there is an insistence on physical suffering as well as on mental suffering. Barker also delves into the class distinctions at the front, within the ranks of the British military. This issue is brought to light through a conversation between Billy Prior and Dr. Rivers. The characters' discussion explores the injustice of these class distinctions and the harm they produce on the war front. Prior's discussion with Rivers highlights specific examples of "snobbery" and degree of class bias and prejudices at the war front. According to Prior "It's perfectly made clear when you arrive that some people are more welcome than others. It helps if you've been to the right school. It helps if you hunt, it helps if your shirts are the right color " . Despite Prior's...
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