Share via Email The author Pat Barker. Murdo Macleod Why put real people in a novel? Pat Barker's Regeneration features among its leading characters two famous historical figures:
Share via Email The author Pat Barker. Murdo Macleod Why put real people in a novel? In the novel they meet, as they did in life, at Craiglockhart Hospital near Edinburgh.
The writer Robert Gravesa friend of Sassoon, and other doctors who dealt with shell shock during the first world war also appear. The most painful episode in the whole novel is not set in the trenches but in the "electrical room" of a London hospital, where Rivers watches Dr Lewis Yealland administering frequent and agonising electrical shocks to a patient who has been made mute by his experiences at the front.
The terrified soldier must utter words to get Regeneration critical essays torture to stop. The patients in the novel are, we might say, half-invented.
Their names are certainly fictitious, but Barker appears to have based their histories on cases recorded by Rivers in a posthumously published book. Not only is Rivers the central character, he has provided the information on which Barker has based several of her other characters. Forgotten victims, they return from the past.
For a novelist, the use of such personages is restrictive as much as it is fruitful. Barker, who lists her main historical sources at the end of her book, has been narratively scrupulous in her reinvention of these people.
They can do nothing that is not historically verifiable. Barker makes out of this an intense dialogue between the two men in which Sassoon — the more confident of the two — pushes Owen to find the "better" words. Our understanding of the first world war has been shaped by these two men and their poetry.
By bringing them to life in her novel, it feels as if Barker is taking on a necessary challenge. It is not only in dialogue that the novelist makes fiction out of carefully researched fact.
In her narrative, she takes her readers into the minds of these characters. The fictionalisation of William Rivers and the inhabiting of his thoughts is the key to the novel. This is not just because of his insight, but also because of his distance from the horrifying experiences of his own patients.
He recovers the experience of warfare from the soldiers he treats, but knows nothing of it at first hand. He is teaching his men to remember, but he approaches their memories as a foreigner, guiltily wishing that he had been able to fight.
Disconcertingly, though he treats his patients with something close to tenderness, he is not some anti-war hero with whom the contemporary reader can easily identify. He believes that "the war must be fought to a finish, for the sake of the succeeding generations".
The psychiatrist has been a favoured character for novels before this one, leading the reader into the hidden stories of those whom he or she treats. Some of the arguments that pass through his head sound convincing, while others seem suspect.
Believing that "prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness" were more likely to cause men to "break down" than "the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors" that his patients themselves used to explain their condition, for instance, he muses that this must also explain the prevalence of "hysterical disorders" in women in peacetime.
Not all the characters are real people. Billy Prior is the most important invented character in Regeneration and in the two subsequent volumes of the trilogy and is given attributes that galvanise the fiction. He is socially and sexually ambiguous.Marvelousessays reviews my graduation day short essay about life zadie smith changing my mind occasional essays on friendship essay on endangered animals conclusion diplomarbeiten dissertationen datenbanken carl rogers core conditions essay writer, nsf grfp proposed research essay paper kazakh traditions essays european values and identity essay papers reference quotes in essay the jewelry .
Billy Prior is the most important invented character in Regeneration (and in the two subsequent volumes of the trilogy) and is given attributes that galvanise the fiction. He is socially and. Nov 26, · Pat Barker's three books [Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road] are fiction with some historical characters, including the neurologist W.
H. . The unusual thing about British novelist Pat Barker’s new book is that it manages to convey the horror of trench warfare during World War I without ever taking the reader to the battlefields in.
Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker brings together an international roster of scholars who pay detailed attention to the work and career of this prizewinning British writer, providing critical insight into each of her nine novels, from Union Street () through the Regeneration trilogy () to .
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