Saturday, February 18, 2006

Y13: A very good LA5c essay for you to have a look at.
Discuss how Pat Barker and Siegfried Sassoon use different literary techniques to achieve their different purposes.


Pat Barker’s novel, Regeneration, set in Craiglockhart, a psychiatric hospital for soldiers suffering from neurasthenia or ‘shell-shock’ in 1917, explores the lives of fictionalized historical characters, as well as fictional characters created entirely by Barker, and their developing relationships. The characters include a fictionalized version of Siegfried Sassoon, a soldier supposedly recovering from war neurosis whilst at Craiglockhart. Sassoon’s poetry deals in the imagery of war, and the death and destruction so unnecessarily caused by it. Sassoon wrote as a means of self-expression and as part of his political agenda to alert ‘complacent’ civilians to the terror of the war. In Regeneration Sassoon was able to express his feelings with greater ease than the other patients, which further suggests that he wasn’t suffering from war neurosis. Writing the poems was a method of healing strongly encouraged by army psychiatrist W.H.R. Rivers, who also features heavily in Barker’s work. (pg 26 Regeneration) “Writing the poems had obviously been therapeutic…”

Barker uses a range of literary techniques to give the reader an in depth understanding of her characters; it is widely accepted that one of Barker’s aims in writing Regeneration was to demonstrate that she could create convincing male characters. To achieve her purpose Barker makes her characters accessible to the reader psychologically, which coupled with the specific historical setting makes them convincing and believable. In order to do this she uses literary techniques such as free indirect style, dreams and flashbacks.

Unlike Barker’s, Sassoon’s work was contemporary with the war and written with great passion as he was very much involved with the trench experience. Sassoon also used varied literary techniques; each poem adopts a different style to suit its purpose. For example, in The Death Bed Sassoon captures the last moments of a dying soldier, supervising and commenting on his thoughts as the life drifts out of him, using gentle romantic imagery to capture the sense of days gone by. There is a contrast here between this and the understated but savage irony of the last line. It was Sassoon’s aim to awaken an ignorant public to the horrors of a war that he felt was unjust and causing his fellow men unnecessary suffering, this can be seen in virtually every one of his war poems.

Dialogue is a method recurrently used by Sassoon in his poetry, usually for one of two purposes: either to mimic and lampoon the linguistic clichés associated with the war, (The Hero) “We mothers are so proud//Of our dead soldiers.” or to create an atmosphere similar to that of the trenches, (A Working Party) “Keep to your right – make way!” Sassoon chooses to use voices of the ‘callous’ and ‘complacent’ civilians he so directly criticizes in his Declaration, as he is trying to show that they really have little notion of the reality of war, and their dialogue is in no way representative of any truth. It seems to Sassoon that they lie even to themselves by way of comfort. However, he uses phrases associated with the frontline, as he wants the people at home; reading his poetry to experience in some way what it is to be there. It could be suggested, that Sassoon was conscious in writing his poetry that the public’s view of what was happening in France was distorted by the media and by ‘War Office propaganda’, which he wanted to redress.
The colloquialisms often found in Sassoon’s poetry- the ‘O Christ!’ of Counter-Attack and other such realistic language- shows Sassoon’s commitment to an explicit representation of the realities of war, untouched by generalisations and poetic grand gestures of propaganda poetry.

Dialogue is also heavily used in Regeneration, as you would expect in prose texts of this kind. However, as a novel where the purpose is both socio-historical and psychological realism, Barker uses italics to denote emphasis, silence and stuttering within her dialogue to give a realistic portrayal of fictional situations. Discussion is also a predominant theme of Regeneration, as Rivers is constantly emphasizing the importance of expressing suppressed feeling a therapy for war neurosis. Key character Prior begins the novel as a mute. This further displays the ineffability of the war experience. Prior finds his relationship with Rivers bizarre, and compares Rivers to ‘empathetic wallpaper’, as it is Prior who is made to do all the talking. (pg 64) “So that I…I’m sorry. So that the patient can fantasize freely…” Prior’s hostility and frustration towards Rivers only displays the difficulties the soldiers presumably would have experienced with expressing their feelings.

Another technique adopted by both writers, but more so by Barker, is experimenting with narrative voice, especially free indirect style. Timothy Marshall comments that “The technical resources of narrative in prose (the varieties of indirect discourse in particular) do have an inherent capacity to represent languages other than the author’s.” This is especially important for Barker, as because she is a female writer it is important that her voice isn’t prominent when writing male characters. However, she isn’t completely absent from the text, as it is clear her empathy lies with characters such as Prior who like Barker is from a working class background. Free indirect style is a narrative technique which is artistically favourable for Barker, as it gives her multiple narrative foci, which she could not have if she chose to write in the first person. Writing in this way also allows the reader an insight into the characters’ minds, a psychological transparency usually only possible in first person narration, but with free indirect style all the characters Barker chooses to focus her narrative on can be made equally psychologically available to the reader. It is used especially with Rivers and Sassoon, as their relationship develops throughout the novel and their discussions become more sophisticated, especially regarding the war and duty. “… how much easier his life would have been if they’d sent Siegfried somewhere else. It wasn’t simply the discomfort of having to express views he was no longer sure he held…” Without free indirect style, it would be difficult for Barker to illustrate Rivers’ real feelings, without changing the nature of his character. However, Barker is also able to suggest the way a character may be feeling by describing their body language. “Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.” This was the first of many suggestions by Barker that Rivers himself may be showing symptoms of war neurosis from hearing so many horrific war stories from his patients.

Sassoon also writes in free indirect style in his poetry by way of gaining empathy for the fictional soldier characters he often creates. This is prominent in Counter-Attack, where in the first stanza Sassoon uses free indirect style before the soldier is killed in the later stanzas. “Things seemed alright at first. We held their line//With bombers posted…” Here Sassoon adopts an informal tone, as it is just as important for Sassoon to sound authentic as it is for Barker. It is essential because of his reputation being slaughtered by the government after his Declaration was published, and the need for his poetry to be taken seriously. This can be reiterated by the explicit, unflinchingly detailed description used, almost placing the trenches in the living rooms of those at home. “…rotten with dead; green clumsy legs//High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps…” Despite Sassoon’s position among the upper classes, meaning as an a member of the officer-class he had a duty to always maintain ‘a stiff upper lip’- he chooses not to sugar-coat the harsh realities of trench life, as it would have been Sassoon’s hope that his credible description would shock those at home into taking action.

Sassoon writes in the third person in The Death Bed, which creates a universal sense of being and shows the dying of soldiers to be a regular occurrence. The voice of the poem’s narrator is difficult to identify. It has been suggested that the speaker is in fact the soldier that the poem refers to, and as he’s dying his soul has risen out of his body and is watching himself die. “He stirred//shifting his body…” This creates the feeling of confusion and uneasiness for the reader, which presumably would have been Sassoon’s intention. Although the poem is written in the third person, it is very similar to free indirect style, as the reader is aware of how character is feeling. “He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped//through crimson gloom to darkness…” This again suggests that it could be the soldier’s voice narrating the poem. Sassoon focuses in this poem on the one soldier to show the pain and suffering, and the sad occurrence of losing such a young life. He then proves a point at the end of the poem with a reminder for the public, “Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.” This reinforces this as not being an isolated incident, and that unless the government take action, it will continue to happen.

As free indirect style is used in Regeneration as a result, the identification of the speaker is often quickly changed, to keep with the fluency of the novel. “Sassoon had started pulling a loose thread on the breast of his tunic. Rivers watched him for a while. ‘You must have been in agony when you did that.” Rivers is constantly analysing the behaviour of his patients, and thinks in medical terms, “no obvious signs of a nervous disorder.” By using free indirect style in this way, Barker allows the reader to relate to each individual character, by allowing them to gain an insight into their thoughts and the motives behind their behaviour.

In Chapter 4 of Regeneration, Anderson who had previously worked in medicine describes a particularly disturbing dream he’d had to Rivers. “Eventually they got me cornered and my father-in-law came towards me, waving a big stick.” Here Barker creates a dream which only a Freudian mind could possibly interpret. Rivers, who held Freudian psychological beliefs analyses Anderson’s dream in great detail. This is a way of Barker giving the reader permission to analyse her novel in Freudian terms. As Sassoon was a patient of Rivers, he would also have been aware of Freud at the time and therefore his poetry should also be read in terms of Freudian ideas.

Another effective literary technique used by Barker is hypnosis. In chapter nine of Regeneration Prior is hypnotised by Rivers because of his “Standard issue battle nightmares” and his inability to remember the events leading up to him becoming a mute whilst in France. By using the vehicle of hypnosis, Barker is able to display her literary ability, by making the reader feel as if they’ve just woken up in a trench. “He woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts.” Similarly to Sassoon in Counter-Attack Barker is realistic in her in depth description of the trench, however, as we have established she had no way of knowing if she was being realistic in her descriptions as unlike Sassoon she hadn’t experienced it first hand. However, by writing from Prior’s perspective, “… [Prior] glanced down, and found himself staring into an eye.” Barker is able to make her writing appear genuine, and in her attempt at verisimilitude she gains credibility as an author. It seems plausible that she could have used first hand accounts such as those of Sassoon to establish a picture of what trench life was like. Barker actually makes reference to an image used in one of Sassoon’s poems in Regeneration, in an attempt to make it seem that Sassoon was dreaming up images for his poem whilst at Craiglockhart. In The Death Bed Sassoon uses the image of a billowing curtain, to create a spooky atmosphere, “Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward, //Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.” This image is made reference to in chapter 2 of Regeneration, “The net curtain behind River’s head billowed out in a glimmering arc, and a gust of cool air past over their faces.” This could be Barker trying to relate the uncomfortable situation with Rivers to the horror of The Death Bed. This also shows that Barker was very much aware of Sassoon’s version of the war from reading his poetry.

In Sassoon’s poem Attack again he tries to recreate the trench experience, using descriptive language, and a fast past which is representative of the quick speed of an attack. “With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear//Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire.” Like with Prior’s hypnosis, the text places the reader amongst the men in the trenches, making it seem genuine. However, unlike Regeneration this poem could hardly be more genuine, as Sassoon didn’t even create it entirely from his memories of the war. The poem originates “From a note in my [Sassoon’s] diary while observing the Hindenburg Line attack.” Although it was completed at Craiglockhart, which would suggest, that the poem was a way of putting the images from his nightmares onto paper.

A poetic technique recurrently used by Sassoon is that of personification. In The Poet as Hero Sassoon personifies the “Mocking and loathing War…” by describing it as you would a person, and giving it a capital letter like a name. He also gives it a capital ‘W’ in The Death Bed, which creates the sense of their being a lack of control over it. Sassoon makes it seem that the war is something bigger than all of them, which can’t be defeated. He uses this technique again in The March-Past as he describes “Death” in the same way. A subtle technique as this is, it is vital in displaying how Sassoon feels with regards to the war. Another technique adopted by Sassoon is that of enjambment, which usually creates a flowing rhythm, however, Sassoon uses it to stop the rhythm. “Till the tormented slain//Crawl round once again…” (To the Warmongers) By doing this Sassoon goes against the mellifluous poetic convention, this reflects how the war disrupts any harmony there may be in human society and human relationships, and that the usual conventions have been destroyed.

Poetry is usually the shortest form of text, and with such a powerful and essential message to get across to the public, it is questionable that Sassoon as a writer should use this form. However, at the time of The Great War, poetry was a popular source of entertainment, as novels are today. Therefore, Sassoon knew that his message would reach the public effectively, and in a form which they would find entertaining. Sassoon recognises that the public don’t have “sufficient imagination to realize” the horrors of the trenches in his Declaration, and by writing his poetry he is creating images for them from his own experience. Poems tend to explore one central idea in depth, with the opinions of the author being clear throughout. Sassoon often writes in the first person, “The corpse-commander was a Mute; //And death leered round him, taking our salute.” (The March-Past) This displays Sassoon’s involvement in the war and his presence and viewpoint within his poetry. Anger is also demonstrated throughout some of Sassoon’s poetry through the colloquial language used. “Now light the candles; one; two; there’s a moth; //What silly beggars they are to blunder in…” (Repression of War Experience) Sassoon was clearly angry with the continuing war, “I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.” After publishing the Declaration poetry was the only way left for him to make a difference, and it is clear that he will no longer be suppressed by the government. This is displayed in his angry tone.

Barker, like Sassoon has chosen a form appropriate to the time in which her work was published (1991), and in a way which suits her purpose. It writing a novel, Barker can use a wider range of literary techniques than those used in poetry, such as plot, story and structure. She is able to mould her characters, they are able to evolve throughout the novel and develop their opinions. Such as Rivers becoming unsure of what his duty is and whether it is right to protest as a military captain. Barker is said to have described the structure of Regeneration to be based around the developing relationship of Rivers and Sassoon, which she depicts as ‘s-shaped’. This is because initially Rivers feels that his duty is to serve his country, part of his duty being to convince Sassoon to return to the frontline, and it is the opinion of Sassoon that it is his duty to protest, no matter what the consequences or implications for him as an individual. It was the 19th century principle social value to do your duty and serve your country. However, because of the horror Sassoon experienced he started to challenge the beliefs which had been enforced into the young men. As a result of much discussion between Sassoon and Rivers throughout the novel, they both start to understand the viewpoint of the other. “…along came Sassoon and made the justifiability of the war a matter for constant, open debate, and that suppression was no longer possible.” The novel has multiple narrative foci, so that the whole novel isn’t about Sassoon and Rivers, but also about other characters who serve as a device for displaying the consequences of war experience.

Regeneration was written for the purpose of entertainment; therefore, there is a need for creating realistic characters, especially for a psychological novel. Barker unlike Sassoon had no political agenda or a dire purpose. Although, it was important that she portrayed the war correctly and did the men who served their country justice. As she wasn’t there it is necessary for her to use literary techniques such as nightmares, hypnosis, free indirect style and the declaration to make her work appear genuine. Sassoon had no choice but to write powerful gripping poetry, which he achieves using shocking images and language alike. He had a political agenda and a duty to protest against a war he felt was ‘unjust’. Each poem had to be striking in it’s depiction of the war, as due to his chosen form Sassoon didn’t have the advantage of having a lengthy prose text to express his views and the horrors he’d experienced.





31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle Pretend

Here's my essay so far- not sure about the bit on free indirect speech.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read it all. just showin that some of us visit the site sir.

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooops the one above was kyle by the way

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Barkers Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of a war hospital called Craiglockhart in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and historical characters such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Barker adds her historical perspective along with her fresh approach to the novel about the Great War and is able to show through her use of fictional and historical characters the psychological and social consequences of the Great War. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and is able to dip in and out of their lives using the free indirect style Barker uses throughout. Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneous with the war and was done to present not only what he had personally experienced but for a political purpose to help show his opposition to the wars continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he had wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The short more dense poems Sassoon wrote were much more emotionally direct and give powerful messages about the Great War. Sassoon became to realize his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feeling and helped to recover from his repressed thoughts.

hows that so far kyle
nolence2001@yahoo.co.uk if easier to reply

3:58 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Nicely done, Kyle- i've corrected this a wee bit but it's a good start- about 250 words here now. Remember to use the term 'voice' from the outset- you have notes on what i mean by 'voice' and there's some posted on this site anyway.

Have an ice-cream on me for being the first 6th form student to use this site- you guys are being badly outdone by Y9 (2 comments), Y11 (3) and Y10 (23 so far!)


Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. However, it is interesting that Rivers muses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is approx, the first 500 words of my essay. Let me know what you think. Ed.

The novel regeneration by Pat Barker is set in a World War 1 hospital in Craiglockhart, Scotland. Some of the patients featured in the novel are fictional characters and some are fictionalised historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Barker is a female novelist of the 20th century who usually writes about northern working class women, so it is unusual that she has chosen to write a novel about the commonly written subject of war. This makes it difficult for Barker to put a fresh approach on the Great War, however she does this using a complex literary technique. Siegried Sassoon on the other hand was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry.
Regeneration is largely about the psychological and sociological aspects of the Great War, with the only details of the bloody battles coming from the memory of the characters in the hospital. This allows the novel to be more about the consequences of a battle, rather than a detailed description of a battle in the present tense. Due to this style of the novel, Barker uses free indirect style as her narrative technique. This is to allow her to highlight not only the psychological aspects of the war but also the sociological aspects at the same time. To get the social issues across, Barker must feature a number of characters where we can experience the action through their point of view. Free indirect style will often enter the thoughts of a character unannounced and their personality will sometimes invade the narrative space. Free indirect style is affected by the style of the characters and we can experience the action in their own language, for example Rivers’ medical speak and stammer. But at the same time she also wants intimacy with her characters to show the physiological aspects of the war.
Regeneration has a historical perspective on the war, and it was written in 1992. This is compared to the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneous with the war. Sassoon’s poetry is not only written to show personal experiences through the war but also as a “political protest.” As well as this, unintentionally, writing poetry helped Sassoon. It was described by Captain WHR Rivers as being “therapeutic” for him as it helped him get through the trauma of the war.
The poetry of Sassoon is a lot shorter than the novel and this allows for a more emotionally powerful poem with direct feelings and viewpoints. The novel, regeneration, is a lot longer and has more scope. Multiple characters have to be developed and this novel in particular is a nuance, as it looks at details in a much more subtle way.

2:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Braker uses their voices in order to tell not only the story of the novel but their each individual stories. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. For example in Enemies an in depth ventrue into the voice of a soildier stood among “ Germans” he “shot”, showing the effects reprecutions him. Very hard hitting and to the point which is constant throughout Sassoons poetry. It is interesting however, that Rivers uses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

Within Pat Barkers Regeneration she often uses many different voices in order to not only convey different sides of stories but also to help dip into their own lives and experiences. She does this so effectively by using free and indirect style giving her the ability to gain many perspectives on different situations. Also though and maybe more importantly it gives the reader a distinguishable way to tell apart the characters voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with the individual characters. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to be able to identify. For example from Sassoon’s perspective we hear him describe the light in the room as a “glimmering arc” the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This is also easy to describe using the character of Captain Rivers “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine” again through the medical references used we know it to be from Rivers viewpoint.

made some alteration in the first two paragraphs and its now 486 near enough 500 but if picky will do the final 14. kyle the sole yr 13 web user.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Braker uses their voices in order to tell not only the story of the novel but their each individual stories. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. For example in Enemies an in depth ventrue into the voice of a soildier stood among “ Germans” he “shot”, showing the effects reprecutions him. Very hard hitting and to the point which is constant throughout Sassoons poetry. It is interesting however, that Rivers uses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

Within Pat Barkers Regeneration she often uses many different voices in order to not only convey different sides of stories but also to help dip into their own lives and experiences. She does this so effectively by using free and indirect style giving her the ability to gain many perspectives on different situations. Also though and maybe more importantly it gives the reader a distinguishable way to tell apart the characters voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with the individual characters. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to be able to identify. For example from Sassoon’s perspective we hear him describe the light in the room as a “glimmering arc” the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This is also easy to describe using the character of Captain Rivers “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine” again through the medical references used we know it to be from Rivers viewpoint.

made some changes to first two paragraphs. 486 words so near enough 500 but if bein picky will do the final 14. kyle sole yr 13 web user

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chloe's start, sir can u see how me intro's gettin on.
p.s this might not get to u, cause im crap wiv technology- so hopefully u r reading this. av a gd wkend.

Pat Barker, the author of the novel Regeneration was a female writer of the twentieth century. She was a working class modern woman who was a professional novelist.
The novel takes place at Craiglockhart war hospital in the early days of 1917 in Edinburgh, but was published in the nineties. This gives the reader a historical perspective on the Great War. Regeneration is made up of several fictionalized historical characters and also a creation of invented artistic characters for a blending of fact and fiction. Barker focuses on the relationships of her characters as they negotiate their roles in a culture of war with Germany and war itself.
The audiences are able to see characters internal thoughts through ‘free indirect style’, which highlights the novels themes for us. Thus creating tensions about duty, authority, psychology, gender, homosexuality, class, love, memory, the value of individual life and the value of the imagination.
Pat Barker’s purpose her novel was one, to entertain her readers, and secondly to prove that she can write about male characters who are realistic as it wasn’t popular then for working class women to be able to do that. She gives the audience a fresh approach and perspective of the war as she is able to look at the psychological and sociological consequences of the Great War with the use of her free indirect narrative style.
Regeneration is emotionally dense and pact full of powerful single meanings. Regeneration being a novel has the advantage of having a larger architecture. There is more room for a three-dimentional story, allowing the usage of more than one narrative voice. This style can also be referred to as a ‘polyphonic’ novel. This is because of Barker’s literary type, which enables different characters to have more of a direct form and is a natural lead to the third person.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is chloe, i dont know whether mine worked.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jst seeing if this really works

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah May
My essay so far, how is it?

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a war novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychologist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier who has been sent to Craiglockhart, are the main characters. They both lived in 1917, but a few aspects have been fictionalised. Not only are fact and fiction entwined in the characters, but their experiences too. Regeneration was written in the 1990’s so Barker uses a historical perspective and looks back in time to help her understand the war. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the war. The novel includes 3D, developed characters, fictional and non-fictional, and shows the effects of the war on lots of people.
Seigfried Sassoon was an aristocratical trench soldier in the war. He wrote a collection of poetry, whilst in trenches or in hospitals. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work; he used it as a symbol of protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and because it was therapeutic, ‘writing the poems had obviously been therapeutic’ (page 26) and a way to help him through traumatic experiences. His poetry is short, dense, direct, powerful and makes his point very clearly.
I will be comparing and contrasting the use of voices in Regeneration with Sassoon’s poetry, and I will start by looking at the narrative voice. In Regeneration free indirect style is used. Free indirect style is third person narration, but it drops into the character’s ‘head’ unannounced. Barker uses this throughout the novel because if she used purely third person narration the reader would not get the full effect that they do from free indirect style. This is because there is a separate narrator and the reader isn’t presented with the character’s thoughts and opinions. If she had used first person narration the character’s viewpoint would always be mediated through the omniscience third person narrator, so the reader is more distant from the character.
As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and on the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s ‘head’ and thoughts. By this we can see how the war has affected them. ‘He woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what incident struck him dumb, Barker drops into his head so the reader can see what he is recalling too.

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah May
My essay so far, how is it?

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a war novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychologist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier who has been sent to Craiglockhart, are the main characters. They both lived in 1917, but a few aspects have been fictionalised. Not only are fact and fiction entwined in the characters, but their experiences too. Regeneration was written in the 1990’s so Barker uses a historical perspective and looks back in time to help her understand the war. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the war. The novel includes 3D, developed characters, fictional and non-fictional, and shows the effects of the war on lots of people.
Seigfried Sassoon was an aristocratical trench soldier in the war. He wrote a collection of poetry, whilst in trenches or in hospitals. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work; he used it as a symbol of protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and because it was therapeutic, ‘writing the poems had obviously been therapeutic’ (page 26) and a way to help him through traumatic experiences. His poetry is short, dense, direct, powerful and makes his point very clearly.
I will be comparing and contrasting the use of voices in Regeneration with Sassoon’s poetry, and I will start by looking at the narrative voice. In Regeneration free indirect style is used. Free indirect style is third person narration, but it drops into the character’s ‘head’ unannounced. Barker uses this throughout the novel because if she used purely third person narration the reader would not get the full effect that they do from free indirect style. This is because there is a separate narrator and the reader isn’t presented with the character’s thoughts and opinions. If she had used first person narration the character’s viewpoint would always be mediated through the omniscience third person narrator, so the reader is more distant from the character.
As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and on the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s ‘head’ and thoughts. By this we can see how the war has affected them. ‘He woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what incident struck him dumb, Barker drops into his head so the reader can see what he is recalling too.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bit sort of 500 but is it ok for a start? Aimie B.

Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration is based on the neurasthenic war hospital, Craiglockhart just outside of Edinburgh. Barker uses fictional and fictionalised characters throughout Regeneration with one of the main characters being W.H.S Rivers, one of the hospitals doctors. Barker uses her characters, be they fictional or fictionalised, and allows the reader to see the psychological consequences of The Great War on so many soldiers and civilians. Barker takes a fresh new approach to writing a war novel in this sense as she doesn’t focus on the battlefield itself, like so many war novel authors choose to do. As Barker has so many vivid characters her choice to narrate in the third person is a wise one. She makes Regeneration a polyphonic novel through the use of free indirect style which allows her to have more then one voice and to drop into all her characters heads, making them psychologically transparent. This gives the novel more depth and movement, as Barker is not restricting her novel to one perspective. Regeneration was written as proof to Barker’s critics that she could write about men in a male environment as she it was something she had never done before, and the other reason was purely for entertainment.
Unlike Barker’s historical perspective, writing almost 80 years after the event took place, Siegfried Sassoon was writing contemporaneous with The Great War. There are a few contrasts between Barker and Sassoon with the main one being that Barker wrote a novel and Sassoon wrote a collection of poetry. The purpose of Sassoon’s poetry was to make a political point as he became strongly apposed to the war. He also wanted to show civilians back at home what the war was really like for the soldiers involved. At the home front, there would have been almost a picture perfect image of the British troops fighting hard and defeating the Germans. Sassoon wanted to show that it was bloody and ruthless and that manly young men died needlessly. His poetry is emotive as he is writing from first hand experience more or less at the time it was happening.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bit sort of 500 but how is it for a start? Aimie B.

Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration is based on the neurasthenic war hospital, Craiglockhart just outside of Edinburgh. Barker uses fictional and fictionalised characters throughout Regeneration with one of the main characters being W.H.S Rivers, one of the hospitals doctors. Barker uses her characters, be they fictional or fictionalised, and allows the reader to see the psychological consequences of The Great War on so many soldiers and civilians. Barker takes a fresh new approach to writing a war novel in this sense as she doesn’t focus on the battlefield itself, like so many war novel authors choose to do. As Barker has so many vivid characters her choice to narrate in the third person is a wise one. She makes Regeneration a polyphonic novel through the use of free indirect style which allows her to have more then one voice and to drop into all her characters heads, making them psychologically transparent. This gives the novel more depth and movement, as Barker is not restricting her novel to one perspective. Regeneration was written as proof to Barker’s critics that she could write about men in a male environment as she it was something she had never done before, and the other reason was purely for entertainment.
Unlike Barker’s historical perspective, writing almost 80 years after the event took place, Siegfried Sassoon was writing contemporaneous with The Great War. There are a few contrasts between Barker and Sassoon with the main one being that Barker wrote a novel and Sassoon wrote a collection of poetry. The purpose of Sassoon’s poetry was to make a political point as he became strongly apposed to the war. He also wanted to show civilians back at home what the war was really like for the soldiers involved. At the home front, there would have been almost a picture perfect image of the British troops fighting hard and defeating the Germans. Sassoon wanted to show that it was bloody and ruthless and that manly young men died needlessly. His poetry is emotive as he is writing from first hand experience more or less at the time it was happening.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

• As pupils enter classroom and settle, activity on desks to sort verbs from adverbs as follow on from yesterday’s lesson and as a link into today’s objectives.
• Set the objective and split class into groups for drama activity.
Teacher models the activity, each group selects an action (verb) from their pack and each member of the group takes it in turn to select an adverb from the other pack. The

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Testing

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how is this so far? Aimie B

Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration is based on the neurasthenic war hospital, Craiglockhart just outside of Edinburgh. Barker uses fictional and fictionalised characters throughout Regeneration with one of the main characters being W.H.S Rivers, one of the hospitals doctors. Barker uses her characters, be they fictional or fictionalised, and allows the reader to see the psychological consequences of The Great War on so many soldiers and civilians. Barker takes a fresh new approach to writing a war novel in this sense as she doesn’t focus on the battlefield itself, like so many war novel authors choose to do. As Barker has so many vivid characters her choice to narrate in the third person is a wise one. She makes Regeneration a polyphonic novel through the use of free indirect style which allows her to have more then one voice and to drop into all her characters heads, making them psychologically transparent. This gives the novel more depth and movement, as Barker is not restricting her novel to one perspective. Regeneration was written as proof to Barker’s critics that she could write about men in a male environment as she it was something she had never done before, and the other reason was purely for entertainment.
Unlike Barker’s historical perspective, writing almost 80 years after the event took place, Siegfried Sassoon was writing contemporaneous with The Great War. There are a few contrasts between Barker and Sassoon with the main one being that Barker wrote a novel and Sassoon wrote a collection of poetry. The purpose of Sassoon’s poetry was to make a political point as he became strongly apposed to the war. He also wanted to show civilians back at home what the war was really like for the soldiers involved. At the home front, there would have been almost a picture perfect image of the British troops fighting hard and defeating the Germans. Sassoon wanted to show that it was bloody and ruthless and that manly young men died needlessly. His poetry is emotive as he is writing from first hand experience more or less at the time it was happening.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this so far? Sarah May

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a war novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychologist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier who has been sent to Craiglockhart, are the main characters. They both lived in 1917, but a few aspects have been fictionalised. Not only are fact and fiction entwined in the characters, but their experiences too. Regeneration was written in the 1990’s so Barker uses a historical perspective and looks back in time to help her understand the war. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the war. The novel includes 3D, developed characters, fictional and non-fictional, and shows the effects of the war on lots of people.
Seigfried Sassoon was an aristocratical trench soldier in the war. He wrote a collection of poetry, whilst in trenches or in hospitals. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work; he used it as a symbol of protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and because it was therapeutic, ‘writing the poems had obviously been therapeutic’ (page 26) and a way to help him through traumatic experiences. His poetry is short, dense, direct, powerful and makes his point very clearly.
I will be comparing and contrasting the use of voices in Regeneration with Sassoon’s poetry, and I will start by looking at the narrative voice. In Regeneration free indirect style is used. Free indirect style is third person narration, but it drops into the character’s ‘head’ unannounced. Barker uses this throughout the novel because if she used purely third person narration the reader would not get the full effect that they do from free indirect style. This is because there is a separate narrator and the reader isn’t presented with the character’s thoughts and opinions. If she had used first person narration the character’s viewpoint would always be mediated through the omniscience third person narrator, so the reader is more distant from the character.
As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and on the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s ‘head’ and thoughts. By this we can see how the war has affected them. ‘He woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what incident struck him dumb, Barker drops into his head so the reader can see what he is recalling too.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How's this? Ed.



The novel regeneration by Pat Barker is set in a World War 1 hospital in Craiglockhart, Scotland. Some of the patients featured in the novel are fictional characters and some are fictionalised historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Barker is a female novelist of the 20th century who usually writes about northern working class women, so it is unusual that she has chosen to write a novel about the commonly written subject of war. This makes it difficult for Barker to put a fresh approach on the Great War, however she does this using a complex literary technique. Siegried Sassoon on the other hand was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry.
Regeneration is largely about the psychological and sociological aspects of the Great War, with the only details of the bloody battles coming from the memory of the characters in the hospital. This allows the novel to be more about the consequences of a battle, rather than a detailed description of a battle in the present tense. Due to this style of the novel, Barker uses free indirect style as her narrative technique. This is to allow her to highlight not only the psychological aspects of the war but also the sociological aspects at the same time. To get the social issues across, Barker must feature a number of characters where we can experience the action through their point of view. Free indirect style will often enter the thoughts of a character unannounced and their personality will sometimes invade the narrative space. Free indirect style is affected by the style of the characters and we can experience the action in their own language, for example Rivers’ medical speak and stammer. But at the same time she also wants intimacy with her characters to show the physiological aspects of the war.
Regeneration has a historical perspective on the war, and it was written in 1992. This is compared to the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneous with the war. Sassoon’s poetry is not only written to show personal experiences through the war but also as a “political protest.” As well as this, unintentionally, writing poetry helped Sassoon. It was described by Captain WHR Rivers as being “therapeutic” for him as it helped him get through the trauma of the war.
The poetry of Sassoon is a lot shorter than the novel and this allows for a more emotionally powerful poem with direct feelings and viewpoints. The novel, regeneration, is a lot longer and has more scope. Multiple characters have to be developed and this novel in particular is a nuance, as it looks at details in a much more subtle way.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Aimie and Sarah M

Just to confirm I've got these! I'l post a marked version in the next couple of days.

Also, four people gave me work in class- one was Emma, one was Kyle, the other two didn't put their names on their work. Please identify yourselves!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Cheers, Ed: your post arrived just as I was confirming receipt of Aimie and Sarah's, so you must be sat at your computer working at 20 to 10 just like I am!

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey sir one of those essays handed in was chloe mcneill's, it was also hand written. if u want me to post it in the comments to make life easier, i will.
clo.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s its 4.46pm not 8.33 am.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and also sir, still chloe. i tried today, to start the next part of our essay but i dont not how to start it and what things i should talk about.do u have any tips to help me please.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

put mine on here aswell make it easier to mark. kyle!

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Braker uses their voices in order to tell not only the story of the novel but their each individual stories. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. For example in Enemies an in depth ventrue into the voice of a soildier stood among “ Germans” he “shot”, showing the effects reprecutions him. Very hard hitting and to the point which is constant throughout Sassoons poetry. It is interesting however, that Rivers uses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

Within Pat Barkers Regeneration she often uses many different voices in order to not only convey different sides of stories but also to help dip into their own lives and experiences. She does this so effectively by using free and indirect style giving her the ability to gain many perspectives on different situations. Also though and maybe more importantly it gives the reader a distinguishable way to tell apart the characters voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with the individual characters. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to be able to identify. For example from Sassoon’s perspective we hear him describe the light in the room as a “glimmering arc” the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This is also easy to describe using the character of Captain Rivers “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine” again through the medical references used we know it to be from Rivers viewpoint.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Cheers chaps. I'll have it all marked by Monday- check on Sunday or just see me Monday morning as usual.

I'm please this is working well now- it's what I really set the thing up for in the first place.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

The first part of your essay back, with some corrections and suggestions for improvements. Be careful when reading this, my comments are in the same colour, font and style as your text- can't work out to change them, but I will give you a hard copy in class anyway.

Aimie B

Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration is set in the war hospital for psychiatric trauma, Craiglockhart, just outside of Edinburgh. Barker uses fictional and fictionalized characters throughout Regeneration with one of the main characters being W.H.R Rivers, historically one of the hospital’s doctors. Barker uses her characters, be they fictional or fictionalized, to illustrate the psychological consequences of The Great War on a range of soldiers and civilians from different social classes and varieties of background. Barker took a fresh new approach to writing a war novel in this sense as she doesn’t focus on the battlefield itself, as many war novel authors choose to do. Expand this: why does Barker chose to base her work on the consequences of the battlefield rather than the battlefield itself? Relate it to her purposes as an author- her interest in writing believable male characters, her focus on social history and the larger consequences of war on society.

As Barker has so many vivid characters her choice to narrate in the third person is a wise one. She makes Regeneration a polyphonic novel through the use of free indirect style, which allows her to have more then one voice and to drop into all the consciousness of many of her characters, making them psychologically transparent. This gives the novel more depth and movement, as Barker is not restricting her novel to one perspective. Regeneration was written as proof to Barker’s critics that she could write about men in a male environment as she it was something she had never done before, and the other reason was purely for entertainment. More than that- see my comment above. Also, you need to get the idea of the balance between the novel as a a reflection on the social consequences of war- which tends to favour multiple characters and therefore a third person narrator- and its psychological consequences, which tends to favour a first person voice, and how she manages to compromise between these two.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, writing as she did with a modern sensibility about the war and almost 80 years after the events took place, Siegfried Sassoon was writing contemporaneously with The Great War. You need to mention here that Sassoon, and his poetry and Declaration, are actually features in the narrative of Regeneration. There are many contrasts between Barker and Sassoon with the main one being that Barker wrote a novel and Sassoon wrote a collection of poetry Give an idea of how this difference in literary type is important: Sassoon’s poetry is often brief, punchy, powerful- he exploits the ability of poetry to present a single voice with emotive power through the careful manipulation of language. Compare this with the exploratory, polyphonic, more discursive tendencies of a long prose narrative. The purpose of Sassoon’s poetry was partly to make a political point as he became strongly opposed to the war. He also wanted to show civilians back at home what the war was really like for the soldiers involved. Quote the Declaration here and illustrate how, in some ways, it is a starting point for both Sassoon’s voice and Barker’s collection of many voices. At the home front, there would have been almost a picture perfect image of the British troops fighting hard and defeating the Germans. Sassoon wanted to show that it was bloody and ruthless and that manly young men died needlessly. His poetry is emotive as he was writing from first hand experience more or less at the time it was happening, unlike Barker whose text is the product of research and literary imagination, rather than of recollection and literary imagination.


Good start, Aimie: you’re working at around a B here. You now need to get into quotation and analysis- start with an exploration of how and why Barker uses free indirect style- look at a variety of episodes and how the character’s voices are heard in the narrative space itself, not just in dialogue, and what effect this has.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

The first part of your essay back, with some corrections and suggestions for improvements. Be careful when reading this, my comments are in the same colour, font and style as your text- can't work out to change them, but I will give you a hard copy in class anyway.

Edward Rance

The novel Regeneration by Pat Barker is set in a Craiglockhart war hospital, Scotland, in 1917. Some of the patients featured in the novel are fictional characters and some are fictionalised historical figures, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Barker is a female novelist of the 20th century who usually writes about northern working class women, so it is a perhaps surprising choice for her to choose to explore the psychological consequences of war on a group of men, and largely upper class men at that. However, this gave Barker a fresh perspective on the Great War and makes her novel stand out from the tradition of texts about The Great War, especially as she uses sophisticated literary techniques to express the voices of a variety of characters, both soldiers and civilians, both male and female. Siegfried Sassoon, on the other hand, was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry. Edward, this introduction of Sassoon is almost comically brief after your investigation of Barker’s purposes and techniques. Expand it- what were Sassoon’s purposes? How were they different from Barker’s? How is he different from Barker- gender, historical period, personal experience etc? How did this influence his poetry?
Regeneration is largely about the psychological and sociological aftermath of the Great War, with the only details of the bloody battles coming from the memories, dreams and flashbacks of the characters in the hospital. This allows the novel to be more about the consequences of war, rather than a detailed description of trench combat itself. Because of this overall theme and purpose in the novel, Barker uses free indirect style as her central narrative technique. This is to allow her to highlight not only the psychological aspects of the war but also the sociological aspects at the same time. To get the social issues across, Barker must feature a number of characters where we can experience the action through their point of view.

Free indirect style allows the narrative to enter the thoughts of a character unannounced and their personality will sometimes invade the narrative space. Free indirect style is affected by the style of the characters and we can experience the action in their own language, for example Rivers’ medical speak and stammer. Give a quotation here to support your discussion As well as wanting to express the views of a range of characters, Barker at the same time wants intimacy with her characters to show the physiological aspects of the war. Explain how F.I.S allows Barker to do both of these, perhaps with another example where the style of the narrative reveals the psychology of the character- Burns’ trip to the woods is a good example.

Regeneration has a historical perspective on the war, as it was written in 1992. This contrasts with the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneously with the war, and with many of the real events described in Regeneraton, as the novel is set during one of Sassoon’s most fertile periods: he wrote much of his best poetry in Craiglockhart in 1917. Sassoon’s poetry is not only written to show personal experiences through the war but also as a political protest. As well as this, unintentionally, writing poetry helped Sassoon. It was described by Captain WHR Rivers as being “therapeutic” for him as it helped him get through the trauma of the war. Expand this, using quotes from the Declaration to support your point about protest and from chapter 2 to support your points about the poetry as therapeutic, which also allows you to contrast the way the voices of the novel are an invention of Barker’s and the voice of Sassoon’s poetry is largely Sassoon’s own, informed by his own painful trawling of his memory.

The poems of Sassoon are obviously a great deal briefer than the novel and this allows for a more emotionally powerful text with more direct, less exploratory feelings and viewpoints. The novel, in contrast has more scope, and multiple characters have to be developed and this novel in particular is nuanced, as it expresses many viewpoints in many voices.

Good start, Ed. You now need to explore in detail Barker’s use of FIS and use detailed analysis to show the difference between, say, Sassoon’s, Rivers’ and Lumb’s voices and viewpoints- how does the vocabulary, sentence style, imagery, even punctuation of the narrative space change according to who the narrative focus is?

2:06 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

The first part of your essay back, with some corrections and suggestions for improvements. Be careful when reading this, my comments are in the same colour, font and style as your text- can't work out to change them, but I will give you a hard copy in class anyway.

Kyle N

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the patients and staff of Craiglockhart hospital for soldiers psychologically traumatized by their experiences of the Great War, a genuine historical setting that allows Barker to include a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical figures, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Braker uses their voices in order to tell not only the story of the novel but their each individual stories from their own perspectives, and couple with the viewpoints of the characters she invents this gives a real richness and depth to the text’s reflections on the consequences of war. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. For example, in Enemies, he presents the reader with an in-depth venture into the voice of a soldier stood among “ Germans” he “shot”, showing the effects and repercussions on him. Good, but you need to support this kind of assertion that the text is ‘hard hitting’ with some close analysis of quotation- look at the language of the poem. Very hard hitting and to the point which is constant throughout Sassoons poetry. It is interesting, however, that Rivers muses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

Within, Regeneration, Barker often uses many different voices in order to not only convey different sides of stories but also to help dip into their own lives and experiences. She does this so effectively by using free indirect style, giving her the ability to gain many perspectives. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the variation in narrative style gives the reader a way to distinguish the characters’ voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with the individual characters. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to be able to identify. For example from Sassoon’s perspective You need o put this quote in context- just say what’s happening in the scene- first interview between Sassoon and Rivers- we hear him describe the light in the room as a “glimmering arc” Mention the almost identical phrase in Sassoon’s poem ‘The Death Bed’ the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This is also easy to describe using the character of Captain Rivers “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine” again through the medical references used we know it to be from Rivers’ viewpoint.

Rather good so far Kyle- certainly top end of a B. Continue with this for a while- take some examples of FIS and pick apart in as much detail as you can how Barker changes her style to reflect the character whose viewpoint the reader is sharing. You also need to show how FIS allows the novel to be both sociological (looking at the war and its consequences from lots of different angles) and psychological (giving insights into the minds of the traumatized characters like Prior and Burns etc.)

2:25 PM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Sarah M

The first part of your essay back, with some corrections and suggestions for improvements. Be careful when reading this, my comments are in the same colour, font and style as your text- can't work out to change them, but I will give you a hard copy in class anyway.

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a war novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent for pioneering psychological therapy and treatment. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychologist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier who has been sent to Craiglockhart, are the main characters. You need to discuss the reasons for Sassoon being at Craiglockhart- remember he is as much there for political reasons as medical ones. Not only are fact and fiction entwined in the characters, but their experiences are too. Not sure what you mean by this- do you mean Rivers and Sassoon have an entwined, complex relationship, or that the story is largely told through a combination of their two perspectives?

Regeneration was written in the 1990’s so Barker has a historical perspective and this allows her to reflect on the events and attitudes of her characters with some detachment, allowing her to present the reader with a variety of different viewpoints on the war and its consequences from a variety of different characters. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to writing about the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the trenches, rather than describing the action of the battles themselves. The novel presents us with three dimensional, developed characters, fictional and fictionalized, and shows the effects of the war on a variety of people with a variety of civilian and military experiences.

Seigfried Sassoon was an educated, aristocratic trench officer in the war, Compare this with Pat Barker- working class, female, no war experience- how does this influence their writing? Much of his poetry was actually written whilst in trenches or in hospitals: in fact, some of his poems were written during his stay at Craiglockhart in 1917, the setting for Barker’s novel. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work; he used it as a symbol of protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and because it was therapeutic: as Rivers notes in Regeneration of the fictionalized Sassoon and his relatively speedy recovery: ‘writing the poems had obviously been therapeutic’ (page 26) His poetry is short, dense, direct, powerful and makes his point very clearly.

In Regeneration, the governing narrative voice is varieties of free indirect style. Free indirect style is a technique of third person narration, which allows the narrator to drop into the characters’ ‘heads’ unannounced. Give an example here just to illustrate how it is done. Barker uses this throughout the novel because if she used purely third person narration the reader would not get the full effect that they do from free indirect style What full effect? Explain what Barker achieves by using FIS. This is because there is a separate narrator and the reader isn’t presented with the character’s thoughts and opinions. You mean without FIS the nly voice we hear is the narrator’s, perhaps even the author’s- remember , Barker’s own voice isn’t entirely ‘silent’- she favours some character over others, which gives us an idea of her prejudices and opinions. If she had used first person narration the character’s viewpoint would always be mediated through the omniscience third person narrator, so the reader is more distant from the character. NO- you’re just confused here- if she had written in the first person there would be no omniscient third person narrator, would there? You mean ‘If she had used third person narration the character’s viewpoint would always be…’

As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and on the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s consciousness. By this we can see how the war has affected them. ‘He woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what incident struck him dumb, Barker drops into his head so the reader can see what he is recalling too.

Good- couple f mistakes here but you’re definitely on the right lines and at about C/B. Continue with your discussion of how Prior’s voice can be heard in the hypnosis passage- look at the vulgarity and harshness of the language, the black humour, the simultaneously tender and callous attitude to his fellow soldiers, reflect on how this is typical of Prior’s personality, how it enacts that personality rather than telling us about it.

4:19 AM  

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