Monday, April 03, 2006

Y13:

Ed’s next 500. This carries on from where I left it last. I haven’t posted the first 500 on here because I am yet to make the alterations you suggested, however I hope to do this during the weekend. Anyways here is the next 'installment'.


Perhaps we can look at the idea of the multiplicity of voices in Regeneration on three different levels: the varieties of narrative voices themselves, of characters as an index to their social position and the voice of the characters as revealing of them psychologically.

There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker to let her characters speak for themselves, rather than to mediate them to the reader through a more personal or less neutral third person narrative. However, Barker’s own voice is not completely absent from the text: the character of Prior has many similarities to Barker in the fact that they are both from a working class background, and as an invented character in the novel Barker is clearly not trying to make her voice absent from the text. Also, barker tends to give the characters who she is more in sympathy with space in the narrative, while characters like Langdon, who considers neurasthenic patients as “…cowards, shirkers, scrimshankers and degenerates..’ (as Rivers says he does in the first chapter) are not allowed to present their own viewpoints at all as they are not given passages of free indirect style.

Ed- contrast this with Sassoon in the poetry, who gives us the ‘voices’ of officers in poems like ‘The General’ but does not explain their viewpois to us so we tend to judge them harshly as we do not ‘knkow’ them like we ‘know’ many of his soldier-voices, and his own voice.

Barker has chosen the technique of free indirect style as it allows her to present her characters in many different ways. She wants the reader to understand both the social and psychological consequences of the war and free indirect style allows her to do this. This technique is used especially with the character of Rivers: for example, it is clearly Rivers’ perspective that notes in Sassoon’s speech a stammer, but “….not the recent, self conscious stammer of a neurasthenic”. Without free indirect style it would become difficult for Barker to show Rivers’ real feelings.

Ed- you need more here- look at Rivers again or another character- Lumb, Sassoon, Prior- and show how the style of their voice differentiates them as characters- sentence length, vocabulary, slang use, colloquialism. This leads on to how the different voices individuate the characters in terms of psychology and social background.

However, it is not just personal feelings that Barker can illustrate using free indirect style. Rivers’ subconscious life is also shown, or at least it is when his conscious mind becomes aware of it: “Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.” Here, it is made clear to the reader that Rivers may be suffering from war neurosis, as he himself has been traumatised by all the horrific stories he has heard. Rivers also has a stammer but we are told that he has had that since he was young, however another example that Rivers is suffering from mild symptoms of war neurosis is when his stammer gets progressively worse during a conversation with Prior. As Rivers is affected by Prior’s graphically detailed story, he becomes aware of his own stammer getting worse. In both episodes, Barker uses River’s psychological awareness to present ideas about his own developing psychological trauma to the reader: a very subtle way of getting difficult ideas across to the reader that would otherwise be awkward to express without disrupting the flow of the narrative.

Barker uses phonetic misspelling and dialect words to draw her characters through the way they talk, for example Rivers’ medical speak and Prior’s strong Manchester accent, which Rivers shows a certain snobbery to.

(have a look on page 49)

Barker also uses many examples of silence to indicate traumatised patients. This is evident in the character of Prior who is suffering from mutism. Prior writes down everything on paper in block capitals which when read give the impression that he is shouting. There are also many occasions in which there are either ‘pauses’ or ‘silences’.


Ed- good so far. You need to make some mention of the poems though- although you should have the bulk of your discussion in the second part of your essay, you don need to start to make some relationships with Sassoon’s narrative style in the poetry, and also this lacks close analysis and quotation- that needs to be in there if you are going to get the marks for AO3.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok ok ok i finally can post the next 1000 this is 2000 at current but i have done a lil more but gonna work on that nd post it at a later date. did this a lil while ago but been away in manchester for a few days so couldn't post it. so let me kow and think i will have a fist complete draft by monday i reckon. which would be good!!!!


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 figures, 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.

Barker’s novel can be described as polyphonic: her narrative is presented through a multiplicity of different voices reflecting the personalities, social backgrounds and viewpoints of her characters, meaning the story of the novel is composed of this variety of individual stories. 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 to highlight, “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to elicit 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 the poem “Enemies” is a nightmarish, imagined encounter between a soldier (likely to be Sassoon’s own brother) stood among the “hulking Germans” the voice of the poem had “shot” and reduced to “patient, stupid, sullen ghosts of men;”. Told almost certainly in Sassoon’s own, authentic, autobiographical voice, the poem show the repercussions of the war on his psychology and imagination. This very hard hitting, inescapably personal approach in Sassoon’s poetry is apparent in his talk of the Germans, “that I shot / When for his death my brooding rage was hot”; a mission of vengenace that the voice finds ultimately unsatisfactory and even unexplainable. It is the dead Germans who, at the conclusion of the poem, can see why they were killed, not because of the voice’s explanations of his anger but “Because his face could make them understand.” It is interesting however, Rivers theorises 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, confused and conflicting emotions of sympathy and hatred and his horrifying nightmares. The reader can certainly see elements of this “therapeutic” benifit in a poem like “Enemies”.

This tendency of Sassoon to use his own voice, which is often angry and satirical and yet frequently reveals, perhaps accidentally, the complexity of his own psychology and the war’s afects on it, is in contrast with the variety of individual character voices Barker very carefully ‘directs’ in her novel. This is a major point of difference in narrative technique between the novel and the poetry: Sassoon’s voice may be complex, but it always remains recognisably Sassoon’s, whereas Barker’s voice is disguised behind the characters she creates or fictionalizes for the novel. She does this so effectively by using free indirect style, giving her the ability to gain many perspectives on different situations and issues surrounding the war. Also, and perhaps more importantly, her use of free indirect style means she can maintain the advantages of the third person narrative perspective while allowing the reader to distinguish the characters’ voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with their individual personalities and backgrounds. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to identify.

For example, when Sassoon first has a conversation with Rivers at “afternoon tea” for new arrivals we hear his perspective describing the light on the curtains in the room as a “glimmering arc”, the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This mirrors an image in Sassoon’s poem “The Death Bed” –“Blowing the curtain to a glimering curve”- presenting Barker’s research into capturing a true to life voice for Sassoon. We can see something similar happening in the voice she creates for character of Captain Rivers. For example, as he heads down a corridor at Craiglockhart the narrative voice notes that “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine”; here, through the medical references used, the reader understands the description to be from Rivers’ viewpoint.

Timothy Marshall, in his discussion of free indirect style in Mikhail Bakhtin’s work Problems of Dostoevvesky’s Poetics, comments that Dostoevsky’s novels contain many voices: “They are so because, in his view, language is constitutively intersubjective (therefore social) and logically precedes subjectivity. It is never neutral, unaddressed, exempt from the aspirations of others. In his word it is dialogic”. This perspective deals with the idea that free indirect style is not the reader overhearing the voice or thoughts of the characters, but that the author is allowing the reader to hear what he wants us to pick up from the character, in order to grasp a better understanding about the individual. This therefore creates for the reader a recognizable voice , and one which we are almost ‘tricked’ into believing is authentic because it is not the same as the author’s narrative voice. Sassoon’s voice in the poem insists that it is authentic because the reader is likely to know Sassoon himslef experienced what he writes about. In contrast, Barker’s voices seem authentic because they are different from each other, makng them seem individual and the novel seem ‘polyphonic’ or ‘dialogic’ in structure.

To help grasp a fuller understanding and gain a further insight into how Pat Barker uses free indirect style to help identify voices we can concentrate on one character, Billy Prior. Within Billy Prior’s own individual story, Pat Barker dives into his past and both his sociological and psychological rehabilitation within the novel. We are first introduced to Billy Prior as a mute Second-Lieutenant who can not communicate with anyone apart from through the use of a pen and pad. The way in which Pat Barker presents this not neccessarily his voice, but certainly his means of communication through the pad is always important, as Prior always writes in capital letters “I DONT REMEMBER”. This when Prior is being asked what his nightmares are about as a way of Rivers helping his rehabilitation. So the introduction of Prior shows him as always being angry through the use of the capital letters on the pad, although Prior himself argues that capitals are simply ‘clearer’ and Rivers thinks he may be trying to disguise his handwriting so it can’t be analysed. Prior is seen as being very much a man not willing to share information about anything purely because he does not “REMEMBER”. Apart form this we at first are not able to gain any more information about Prior at this stage. Proirs mutism has gone further in Regeneration as he wakes up “shouting” we begin to gain more detail about his true voice a distinctly “northern accent”. In a conversation with Rivers we see Priros resistance to talk about what he has gone through “I don’t think talking helps. It just churns things up” not that he does not want to be helped just he finds it hard to confront his emotions. When Prior does begin to slightly open up he adopts a different voice, a satirical one aimed at higher ranked soildiers “The pride of the British army….”. This helps to show Priors anger towards the army and he goes on to describe how he was dugout in “no mans land” for “forty-eight hours” and had to stay there while him and his soildiers were bombarded with “one shell after the other”. Proirs voice now has been able to develop and give the reader a more rounded look on him as a character and start to identify his voice by itself. The satirical voice also appears in confrontations with Rivers about his own stammer “luck for you, I mean…if your stammer was the same as theirs- you might actually have to sit down and work out”. The confrontational voice with Rivers a person in Priors in seeming power can be compared with the satirical voices adopted in Sassoons poetry. For example in the poem “The General” with his seemigly cheery outlook “Good morning, good morning” is perceived to have no sympathy at all. He is seen to have smiled at soildiers even though he know “most of ‘ em dead” or that’s what is awaiting them. These young boys however are inevitably going to die “by his plans of attack”. The satirical voice and epic voce Sassoon uses is very similar to the way Barker manpulates Priors own actions towards Rivers in some repects.

Through the relationship with Sarah Lumb we are able to gain another persons viewpoint on the situation of the war and the consequences of this on the people and also society. We are also able to draw both contrasting and comparitive aspects with Sassoons poetyr throught te character of Sarah Lumb. Sarsh Lumb is first introduced to us at a café in Edinburghher her voice at first is very much representative of her character northern hard working women paid just “fifty bob a week”. This character may also not only be a love interest for Prior but in another way a tool for Barker to portray something she has a lot of knowledge of through her other novels. A womans own point of view on things. Sarah Lumbs interaction with Prior Develops throgh the book and we even dip into her own on numerous occasions with the usage of free-indirect style. The first instance of this is when Sarah and “Madge” go to visit Madge’s injured husband in hospital. As Ssrah walks around the hospital “corridors” she notices that “none of these men was badly wonded”. As she continues through the corridors she finds herself lost and then enters an area where she becomes very “aware of a silence…..by her entrance”. The free and indirect here by Barker is used to show Sarahs own voice and reaction to “a row of figures in wheelchairs”. These people hidden away with “trouserlegs sewn short: empty sleeves pinned to jackets”are also something Sassoon covers in two of his own poem “Glory of women” and to some extent in “Does it Matter”.Glory of Women almost seems based on Sarah Lumbs own character in the line “You make us shells” as within Regeneration Sarah’s actual is that very thing.The final line in Sassoons very single minded satirical voice best describes the almost delusional invisionments on some women and their thoughts of there men fighting in the war. “knitting socks to send your son, His face is being trodden deeper into the mud”. Sasssons very blunt point of view is one Barker challenges through the voice of Sarah Lumb. Sarah becomes very angry about the way these soildiers are hidden away and comes to the conclusions that “If the country demanded that price, then it should bloody be well prepared to look at the result”. Her own voice showing the anger that she feels for these men. One that almost mirrors Sassoons views in “Glory for Women” and his own personal ones he feels about the tretement of injured soildiers and the war on a whole. This revelation in the book here helps to bring in a female opposition to the war and let them voice there opinions in a very male dominated novel.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Complete first draft by Monday would be useful then I can mark it all at once. Meantime, please tell me who you are!

I'm guessing Kyle (just seems like your style, Kyle, you can spot it from a mile, Kyle, although I've not heard from you in a while, Kyle).

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eds Essay so far, around 1700. Hope to complete this by midweek. The above post must be Kyle's as its not mine. Who knows what he's playing at, maybe he wants to steal my first 1000 words by pretending to be me!

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 perhaps surprising choice for her to choose to explore consequences of war on a group of men, who are mostly upper class as well. This makes it difficult for Barker to put a fresh approach on the Great War, however she does this using sophisticated literary techniques. Siegried Sassoon on the other hand was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry. Sassoon’s purposes for writing much of his poetry was to show the psychological consequences of war and gaining sympathy from the public for his fellow soldiers. Barker’s purpose for writing Regeneration was to show a historical perspective of the Great War and how it affected society.
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 a battle, rather than a detailed description of trench combat itself. Due to this style of 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 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. As well as wanting to express the views of a range of characters, Barker 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 contrasts to the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneously 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 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.
Perhaps we can look at the idea of the multiplicity of voices in Regeneration on three different levels: the varieties of narrative voices themselves, of characters as an index to their social position and the voice of the characters as revealing of them psychologically.
There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker to let her characters speak for themselves, rather than to mediate them to the reader through a more personal or less neutral third person narrative. These are the narrative voice, the voices of characters socially and the voice of the characters psychologically. There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker not to include her own voice because of the male characters. However, Barker’s voice is not completely absent from the text. The character of Prior has many similarities to Barker in the fact that they are both from a working class background. Prior is also an invented character in the novel so Barker is clearly not trying to make her voice absent from the text. Also, Barker tends to give the characters who she is more in sympathy with space in the narrative, while characters like Langdon, who considers neurasthenic patients as “…cowards, shirkers, scrimshankers and degenerates..” are not allowed to present their own viewpoints at all as they are not given passages of free indirect style. This is in contrast to the poem by Sassoon called “The General”, who does give us the viewpoints of the generals but these views are not explained to us. Barker has chosen the technique of free indirect style as it allows her to present her characters in many different ways. She wants the reader to understand both the social and psychological consequences of the war and free indirect style allows her to do this. This technique is used especially with the character of Rivers: for example, it is clearly Rivers’ perspective that notes in Sassoon’s speech a stammer, but “…not the recent, self conscious stammer of a neurasthenic”. Without free indirect style it would become difficult for Barker to show Rivers’ real feelings. However it is not just personal feelings that Barker can illustrate using free indirect style. Rivers’ subconscious life is also shown. “Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.” This is also the first time it is made clear to the reader that Rivers may be suffering from war neurosis, as he himself has been traumatised by all the horrific stories he has heard. Rivers also has a stammer but we are told that he has had that since he was young, however another example that Rivers is suffering from mild symptoms of war neurosis is when his stammer gets progressively worse during a conversation with Prior. Here, Rivers has been affected by Priors graphically detailed story leading to his stammer to get worse. In both episodes, Barker uses Rivers psychological awareness to present ideas about his own developing psychological trauma to the reader: a very subtle way of getting difficult ideas across to the reader that would otherwise be awkward to express without disrupting the flow of the narrative.
Barker uses phonetic misspelling and dialect words to draw their characters through the way they talk, for example Rivers’ medical speak and Prior’s strong Manchester accent, which Rivers shows a certain snobbery to. Barker also uses many examples of silence to indicate traumatised patients. This is evident in the character of Prior who is suffering from mutism. Prior writes down everything on paper in block capitals which when read give the impression that he is shouting. There are also many occasions in which there are either ‘pauses’ or ‘silences’.
This is in contrast to “Great Men”, a poem by Siegfried Sassoon. This particular poem is short and very easy to read. When read, this poem also comes across as very pacey and punchy. One of Sassoon’s close friends who was with him at Craiglockhart was fellow poet Wilfred Owen who once described much of Sassoon’s poetry like “Trench Rockets”. “Great Men” is an ironic poem as he likens the Generals in charge of the war as being the “great ones of the earth”. This poem also has an angry theme throughout. In the final few lines of the poem it ends very abruptly with the view that the Generals should tell the dead of their great sacrifice for a good cause in the cemeteries where they are buried.
Free indirect style is the central narrative technique used in the novel Regeneration, however this method is also present in some of the poetry by Siegfried Sassoon. “The death bed” for example features free indirect style. The poem features the thoughts of a war veteran and his dreams where things in the present moment trigger war memories; these however are pleasant memories unlike those of Prior in the novel Regeneration. In the third stanza of the poem there is the line, “Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve”. This very same line is used in the novel Regeneration on page 11 to describe the net curtain behind Rivers. “The death bed” features someone gradually dying and although the dreams of the war veteran started of pleasantly, in the fifth stanza the pain arrives “like a prowling beast”. Death here is also personified, as it is at this point the veteran is close to it. The overall tone of this poem is a sympathetic one to the soldiers involved with the war. Sassoon’s anger of the war comes through in the sixth stanza. “…how should he die / When cruel old campaigners win safe through?” The ending of the poem is a sombre and depressing conclusion. Here Sassoon comments that whilst this particular war veteran may have died, there are still more soldiers dying this very minute.
Another example of multiple voices and free indirect style in Sassoon’ s poetry is in the “General”. It is a very short poem, only seven lines, but it features three different voices. These are Sassoon’s voice, the general’s voice and Harry’s voice. Despite it being a very short poem a lot can be discovered from it. Sassoon’s viewpoint comes across in the line, “Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ‘em dead”. This is a typical viewpoint by Sassoon as he was opposed to fighting in the war; he also has said similar trivial lines in other poems, including the “Death Bed” and “Does it matter?” The fictional characters of Harry and Jack are fooled by the General cheeriness, as we then learn that they are now both dead. Once again, it is a very abrupt ending to a Sassoon poem, and this poem in particular features a lot of colloquial language. This poem overall, is contrasted between the generals cheerfulness and him then sending men to fight and die.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes it was kyle the first comment and i shall try to get it done sir

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sir i started the final slog today but wanna make sure that i am doing it correct i am just going from one poem to the other describing and using comparisons on each is that right??!?

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for god sake always forget to put my name it was kyle

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir, here is my completed essay. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as i did writing it. I'm a little unsure of how to end the essay but i've given it a go, but see what you think anyway. 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 perhaps surprising choice for her to choose to explore consequences of war on a group of men, who are mostly upper class as well. This makes it difficult for Barker to put a fresh approach on the Great War, however she does this using sophisticated literary techniques. Siegried Sassoon on the other hand was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry. Sassoon’s purposes for writing much of his poetry was to show the psychological consequences of war and gaining sympathy from the public for his fellow soldiers. Barker’s purpose for writing Regeneration was to show a historical perspective of the Great War and how it affected society.
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 a battle, rather than a detailed description of trench combat itself. Due to this style of 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 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. As well as wanting to express the views of a range of characters, Barker 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 contrasts to the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneously 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 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.
Perhaps we can look at the idea of the multiplicity of voices in Regeneration on three different levels: the varieties of narrative voices themselves, of characters as an index to their social position and the voice of the characters as revealing of them psychologically.
There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker to let her characters speak for themselves, rather than to mediate them to the reader through a more personal or less neutral third person narrative. These are the narrative voice, the voices of characters socially and the voice of the characters psychologically. There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker not to include her own voice because of the male characters. However, Barker’s voice is not completely absent from the text. The character of Prior has many similarities to Barker in the fact that they are both from a working class background. Prior is also an invented character in the novel so Barker is clearly not trying to make her voice absent from the text. Also, Barker tends to give the characters who she is more in sympathy with space in the narrative, while characters like Langdon, who considers neurasthenic patients as “…cowards, shirkers, scrimshankers and degenerates..” are not allowed to present their own viewpoints at all as they are not given passages of free indirect style. This is in contrast to the poem by Sassoon called “The General”, who does give us the viewpoints of the generals but these views are not explained to us. Barker has chosen the technique of free indirect style as it allows her to present her characters in many different ways. She wants the reader to understand both the social and psychological consequences of the war and free indirect style allows her to do this. This technique is used especially with the character of Rivers: for example, it is clearly Rivers’ perspective that notes in Sassoon’s speech a stammer, but “…not the recent, self conscious stammer of a neurasthenic”. Without free indirect style it would become difficult for Barker to show Rivers’ real feelings. However it is not just personal feelings that Barker can illustrate using free indirect style. Rivers’ subconscious life is also shown. “Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.” This is also the first time it is made clear to the reader that Rivers may be suffering from war neurosis, as he himself has been traumatised by all the horrific stories he has heard. Rivers also has a stammer but we are told that he has had that since he was young, however another example that Rivers is suffering from mild symptoms of war neurosis is when his stammer gets progressively worse during a conversation with Prior. Here, Rivers has been affected by Priors graphically detailed story leading to his stammer to get worse. In both episodes, Barker uses Rivers psychological awareness to present ideas about his own developing psychological trauma to the reader: a very subtle way of getting difficult ideas across to the reader that would otherwise be awkward to express without disrupting the flow of the narrative.
Barker uses phonetic misspelling and dialect words to draw their characters through the way they talk, for example Rivers’ medical speak and Prior’s strong Manchester accent, which Rivers shows a certain snobbery to. Barker also uses many examples of silence to indicate traumatised patients. This is evident in the character of Prior who is suffering from mutism. Prior writes down everything on paper in block capitals which when read give the impression that he is shouting. There are also many occasions in which there are either ‘pauses’ or ‘silences’.
This is in contrast to “Great Men”, a poem by Siegfried Sassoon. This particular poem is short and very easy to read. When read, this poem also comes across as very pacey and punchy. One of Sassoon’s close friends who was with him at Craiglockhart was fellow poet Wilfred Owen who once described much of Sassoon’s poetry like “Trench Rockets”. “Great Men” is an ironic poem as he likens the Generals in charge of the war as being the “great ones of the earth”. This poem also has an angry theme throughout. In the final few lines of the poem it ends very abruptly with the view that the Generals should tell the dead of their great sacrifice for a good cause in the cemeteries where they are buried.
Free indirect style is the central narrative technique used in the novel Regeneration, however this method is also present in some of the poetry by Siegfried Sassoon. “The death bed” for example features free indirect style. The poem features the thoughts of a war veteran and his dreams where things in the present moment trigger war memories; these however are pleasant memories unlike those of Prior in the novel Regeneration. In the third stanza of the poem there is the line, “Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve”. This very same line is used in the novel Regeneration on page 11 to describe the net curtain behind Rivers. “The death bed” features someone gradually dying and although the dreams of the war veteran started of pleasantly, in the fifth stanza the pain arrives “like a prowling beast”. Death here is also personified, as it is at this point the veteran is close to it. The overall tone of this poem is a sympathetic one to the soldiers involved with the war. Sassoon’s anger of the war comes through in the sixth stanza. “…how should he die / When cruel old campaigners win safe through?” The ending of the poem is a sombre and depressing conclusion. Here Sassoon comments that whilst this particular war veteran may have died, there are still more soldiers dying this very minute.
Another example of multiple voices and free indirect style in Sassoon’ s poetry is in the “General”. It is a very short poem, only seven lines, but it features three different voices. These are Sassoon’s voice, the general’s voice and Harry’s voice. Despite it being a very short poem a lot can be discovered from it. Sassoon’s viewpoint comes across in the line, “Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ‘em dead”. This is a typical viewpoint by Sassoon as he was opposed to fighting in the war; he also has said similar trivial lines in other poems, including the “Death Bed” and “Does it matter?” The fictional characters of Harry and Jack are fooled by the General’s cheeriness, as we then learn that they are now both dead. Once again, it is a very abrupt ending to a Sassoon poem, and this poem in particular features a lot of colloquial language. This poem overall, is contrasted between the generals cheerfulness and him then sending men to fight and die.
The poem “Does it matter?” by Sassoon also features colloquial language ridicules a serious subject. The opening line of the poem is a rhetorical question, “Does it matter? – Losing your legs?” This is a very trivial way to open a poem, especially as it is about the serious issue of losing your legs. There is a very jolly and happy tone coming across in this poem but also a patronising tone as well. The second stanza begins with another rhetorical question similar to the opening line, “Does it matter? – Losing your sight?” This can be read as a patronising question as the following line is “There’s such splendid work for the blind”. In this poem similar ideas come across in “Disabled”, a poem by Sassoon’s fellow patient and poet at Craiglockhart, Wilfred Owen. The poem is rhythmical and each line is separate and makes sense on its own. There is a very simple rhyming scheme as well, that simply goes A, B, B, C, and A in the opening stanza. The poem is full of punctuation also; something that lacks in some of Sassoon’s other work. The overall style of this poem is ironic, because the question is asked by Sassoon, “Does it matter?” Sassoon makes out in this poem that it doesn’t matter, as he ridicules serious situations, however the irony is that it does matter. This poem was written in 1917 at the war hospital of Craiglockhart and this too is written in free indirect style because not only does it feature Sassoon’s voice but also the voices and opinions of other people.
“Glory of Women”, by Siegfried Sassoon is in contrast to the previous poems I looked at. This is a very angry poem, and is not just about war as it shows anger towards women as well. The style of the poem is monologic. The opening two lines of the poem are very patronising, prejudice and angry. “You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave, / or wounded in a mentionable place”. There is only one reference to the novel, Regeneration. This is when Sassoon describes the women making shells to help the war effort. In the novel, the character of Sarah Lumb also does this. In the final few lines of the poem Sassoon describes how it is not only the English that are suffering, it is the Germans as well, despite them being our opposition. During the Great War, this would have been a controversial thing to have said, but Sassoon does have links to Germany as his mother was German, hence his foreign sounding name. The overall idea of this poem is all about women turning away from mutilation and the real horrors of the war. This can be compared to the part in the novel in which Sarah Lumb visits Craiglockhart hospital. She is uncomfortable to be in the hospital, but this was because she felt disgusted that all this men were put into a secret and ‘hidden’ ward.
“Counter Attack” is more of an epic poem by Sassoon. It features some very graphic details of death, and parts of the poem are in free indirect style whilst some are not. The second stanza is not in free indirect style, but the following stanza is. There are several voices in this part, Sassoon’s, a soldier and another soldier who ‘remembers his rifle’. The next 6 – 8 lines are written in the 3rd person, but the last line of the poem is a neutral line and is back to the voice of the poet again. The last line simply reads, “The counter – attack had failed”, a sombre ending to the poem. Overall this is a very detailed account of a failed counter attack which includes some graphic images of death and fear that can be compared to the detail of Prior’s hypnosis experience, however the only difference is that Barker used Prior’s hypnosis scene from research whereas Sassoon used his from memory.
The two poems by Sassoon, “Repression of war experience” and “Letter to Robert Graves” are both very similar in how they can be compared and contrasted to parts of the novel Regeneration. “Letter to Robert Graves” is a particular lengthy poem, it has a political stance which are normally easy to understand but this is difficult and complicated as it features invented words. The poem is in the form of a letter to make it more authentic and personal. In the third stanza of the poem, it is almost in a stream of consciousness and toward the end of the poem Sassoon explains how it can’t do happy poetry any more, “All crammed with village verses about Daffodils and Geese - …O Jesu make it cease…” This is a particular important poem as Robert Graves is a character from the novel. This was a very personal poem, as Sassoon never wanted it to be published whilst he was still alive, most of his poetry is public but this is private. “Repression of war experience”, too features a part of the novel Regeneration. This poem enacts the thoughts of Sassoon using free verse. There are parts of this poem that are very similar to Burns’ scene in the woods in the novel. It is possibly likely that Barker took her idea for Burn’s session in the woods from the poetry of Sassoon.
Overall, a lot of Barkers influence from writing her novel may have came from the poetry of Sassoon. Some of the ideas in the poems, “Disabled”, “Repression of war experience” and “Glory of women” can be linked to certain parts of the novel. It is also clear that Barker shares Sassoon’s approach to include free indirect style as a narrative technique. Several of Sassoon’s poetry includes passages of free indirect style, although in this case it is likely that Barker chose to use free indirect style for Regeneration as her narrative technique as she thought that it would work best, its just coincidental that Sassoon uses the same technique in some of his poetry.

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah May - my completed essay, around 2,800 words which leaves room for improvement! I'm unsure on the ending aswell so let me know how i can improve that and the rest of 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 for pioneering psychological therapy and treatment. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychiatrist, and Siegfried Sassoon, a soldier sent to Craiglockhart for political as much as for medical reasons, are the main characters. Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart by the government because his ‘Soldier’s Declaration’ was a considerable embarrassment for them, and it was politically more useful to discredit him as writing it while suffering from neurasthenia rather than allow him the publicity that a court-martial would give him.

Regeneration was written in the 1990s, giving Barker an historical perspective on the events she portrays and this allows her to reflect on the times and the 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. 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 on the battlefields themselves. The novel presents us with three dimensional, developed characters, fictional and fictionalised, and shows the effects of the war on a variety of people with a variety of civilian and military experiences.
The historical Siegfried Sassoon was an educated, aristocratic trench officer in the war, compared to Barker who is a working class, female novelist with no war experience. Sassoon’s poetry makes a very strong point of protest and as he had first hand experience of the war, it is easier to do this. 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 method to voice his protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and, perhaps unintentionally, because it was therapeutic; as Rivers notes in Regeneration of the fictionalised 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 technique is varieties of free indirect style. Free indirect style is a technique of third person narration, which allows the narrator to drop into the character’s consciousness unannounced, for example in lines like, ‘the net curtain behind River’s head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). This tells us we are in Sassoon’s head because, as he is a poet, no other character would think with that amount of imagery and descriptive vocabulary. This line mirrors ‘blowing the curtain to a glimmering arc’ in Sassoon’s poem, ‘The Death Bed’, which shows Barker may have used this poem as a aspect of reseach for the novel.
By using the third person narrative perspective, but populating it with a variety of her characters’ own voices by using free indirect style, Barker achieves a great deal. Firstly, she reflects a number of her characters’ personalities and opinions; secondly, she allows the reader to experience events of the narrative from a character’s perspective and finally it allows her to have more than one main character and gives the reader an intimate knowledge of a number of characters. The critic Mikhail Bakhtin, writing on Dostoevsky, states that, ‘language is constitutively intersubjective (therefore social) and logically precedes subjectivity’, this shows that free indirect style is a narrative trick as the dialogue is actually between the author and the reader. We are being told the story, by the author, rather than being shown it by the characters, as it appears to 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. During prior’s hypnosis, the main literary technique we are shown is free indirect style, this is because without it we would only learn about Prior’s experiances by him telling us about them, which wouldn’t ‘work’ as Prior cannot recall his experiances. Rivers and the readers soon discover the extent to which Prior is affected by the war by one, in particular, incident that has happened, ‘what am I supposed to do with this gobstopper?’ (page 103). This shows his callousness towards the war, and how harsh it has made him, because this is his reply when a man he was talking to minutes before was blown up, and he picked up his eyeball. When Prior has woken and relises the incident, he is shocked that that particular incident was what had struck him dumb ‘is that all?’, because the war had had such an effect on him psychologically that particular incident had seem very minor to him.

Timothy Marshall states 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 comment is more relevant to Barker’s work over Sassoon’s because Barker at least presents herself as a neutral narrator. Although we don’t get Barker’s voice directly in the novel it is easy to see she isn’t completely invisible, by the way she presents her characters. For example, Barker believes that neurasthenia was an actual effect of the war, so her characters that also believe this are given more time and credibility in the novel. Prior’s view on this subject is the same as Barker’s, whereas Langdon’s aren’t. We can tell by the representation of these characters that Barker favours Prior. Some characters are given more speech than others and Barker tries to create sympathy for others, from the readers, ‘it was the closest Prior could come to asking for physical contact’ (page 104). This is after Prior’s hypnotism when he is upset and he ‘seized Rivers by the arms and began butting him in the chest, hard enough to hurt’ (page 104). This appears to be Prior’s way of wanting comfort because during the war it was unaccepted for men to express their emotions. Prior seems to be the character who Barker creates the most sympathy for, this could be because they are both from a working class background.
As Barker uses free indirect style the readers can tell whose viewpoint we are sharing by the way they think and what they think, even if these thoughts themselves aren’t introduced as such. ‘Pipes lined the wall, twisting with the turning of the stair, gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine’ (page 17), we know this is Rivers’ perspective because he is a doctor so he is likely to think that objects are body parts. Rivers’ and Sassoon’s vocabulary and the way they talk show their educated discourse, unlike Prior, Sarah and Ada, where what they say and how they say it shows their working class background. ‘Noting that the grove between radius and ulna was even deeper than it had been a week ago’ (page 18), this shows Rivers’ education and also tells the reader we are in Rivers’ head, as no other character would think this way. In contrast, the line, ‘Sarah began to feel green and hairy’ (page 159), shows Sarah’s working class environment through Barker’s voice and language as she compares herself to a gooseberry, which is typical of her colloquial discourse.
Barker also uses silence as a psychologically-revealing voice, particularly with Prior. Rivers believed that the ‘talking cure’ as Sigmund Freud called it, was the only way to express repressed memories of battlefield expereince, when the patient had, ‘usually been devoting considerable energy to the task of forgetting whatever traumatic events had precipitated his neurosis’ (page 26). However, it was socially unacceptable for a man to express their emotions, ‘they’d been trained to identify emotional repression as the essence of manliness’ (page 48), because if they did they would be labelled ‘sissies, weaklings, failures’ (page 48). This left the men bottling up their emotions and feelings and, in the case of Prior, struck dumb. When Prior is hypnotised he, Rivers and the readers finally learn what traumatic event had caused his muteness, ‘a numbness had spread all over the lower half of his face’ (page 103). We also know that it took a while for it to be cured, because he never discussed his emotions.

Sassoon’s poetry is generally doggerel and there is a juxtaposition between the anger and the childish innocent style, that he portrays, for example in ‘Died of Wounds’ there is a simplistic nursery rhyme rhythm, contrating with the horror of its content.
‘Does It Matter?’ is satirical and sarcastic and is written in an epic voice and leans towards a lyric voice in certain places.
‘As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.’
This shows great detail of how a man in distress might behave, which is where we can see Sassoon’s lyric voice could these two lines could be a reflection of his own experiances.
This poem can be compared to pages 159-160 of Regeneration when Sarah Lumb is walking around a hospital and finds a hidden ward with soldiers who have occurred very bad injuiries, such as mutilation. ‘Does it Matter?’ has a upbeat and jolly feel of how to deal with mutilation because it is satirical and ironic, even though it gets across the same points as the section of Regeneration.
‘And you need not show that you mind
When the others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.’
This gives the message that society ignores you because you are mutilated, which is the same message given in the novel. ‘If the country demanded that price, then it should bloody well be prepared to look at the result.’ (page 160), this is Sarah’s opinion of the way these men should be treated by society. She is so shocked by what she had seen and by the way the men are put away in a hidden ward so that no one can see them.

‘Glory of Women’ can also be compared to the same extract from the novel as ‘Does it Matter?’. This poem has a monological voice because it is Sassoon’s voice and no one elses voice appears. The general point of this poem is that sassoon thinks that women don’t want to see the effects of the war, that they only care when their men are still well and have small heroic wounds,
‘You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.’
This can be compared to Madge in Regeneration who visits her boyfriend in a hospital, for physical injuries. ‘Madge was now sitting by the bed…to bask in the admiration of her restorted lover and to plan what they would do on his leave’ (page 158-159). This shows that Madge does still care about her lover, when he has a wound which shows his bravery but we are unsure whether she would still behave in the same way if he had a bigger injury or was mutated. Barker proves Sassoon wrong in his opinions that women don’t want to see the effects of the war with her character, Sarah. When Sarah Lumb comes across the hidden ward she believes society should be forced to look at the consequences of the war.

‘The Death-Bed’ is a point of comparison with Regeneration in a number of places, but it can also be a point of contrast. The main contrast between the two is that Sassoon is giving his experience of the war to his character in the poem, whereas Barker has no experience so her characters are based on her resarch of the war.
‘He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripping and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.’
This gives the impression that Sassoon is writing from memory because his character’s opiate is wearing off and Sassoon describes how it is feeling in great detail, which gives the readers the impression that he is writing from his own experience of opiate wearing off.
The main point of comparison is that aspects of the poem are written in free indirect style, like the novel. The character is drifting between consciousness and unconsciousness, so when he is drifting off to sleep , we hear about his dreams and what is going on in his head because of free indirect style.
Another point of comparison is the line: ‘Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve’ which is very similar to the line in the novel: ‘The net curtain behind Rivers’ head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). These lines are very similar and Barker may even have got the inspiration for this line from the line in Sassoon’s poem.

‘The General’, ‘The Rear-Guard’ and ‘To the Warmongers’ are a huge point of comparison as they are mentioned in the novel. In the novel Graves has given Sassoon an envelope, after Graves leaves Sassoon opens the envelope with Rivers and inside is a few sheets of paper. ‘On the top sheet, dated the 22nd April, Sassoon had written in pencil, ‘I wrote these in hospital ten days after I was wounded.’ (page 24). Following this quote are the poems; ‘The Rear-Guard’, ‘The General’ and ‘To the Warmongers’. ‘The General’ was written in Denmark Hill Hospital in April 1917, ‘To the Warmongers’ was also written at Denmark Hill Hospital on the 23rd April 1917 and ‘The Rear-Guard’ was also written at Denmark Hill Hospital about ten days after Sassoon was wounded. About this poem, the historical Sassoon said ‘he thought I was in severe shock. But if so, could I have written such a strong poem?’. Barker has clearly written pages 24-25 from Sassoon’s real life experiances as the dates mentioned in the novel fit with when he wrote them in real life.

When Sassoon wrote the poem ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ he didn’t intend for it to be published. He wanted to write an epic poem but he didn’t want to reveal his private side to the public, but Graves published it in his autobiography even though Sassoon objected. It was then withdrawn from Graves’ autobiography, but shortly after fifty copies were printed. So the voice in this poem is public vs private. This is his only private poem, as all the rest were used to get his views of the war across. There is one significant private part of Regeneration, which this poem can be compared with. This is page 38-39 when Burns leaves the hospital and lies naked amoung the trees with animal corpses, ‘He felt a great urge to lie down beside them, but his clothes seperated him.’ (page 39). This is a very private part of the novel because non of the other characters know what happened and it is never talked about again. This part of the novel can also be compared to ‘Repression of War Experience’, as Barker may have got her idea for this section from this poem. In ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ Sassoon mentions Rivers in this poem and says that Rivers cheers him up, helps him and saves him. ‘And I fished in that steady grey stream’, Sassoon makes a pun on Rivers’ name and a metaphor for him, which is complimentary to Rivers because Sassoon talks about him in a letter to one of his dearest friends. This poem mentions ‘Jolly Otterleen’ who is ‘Ottoline Morrell’ (page 23), and a leader of the pacifist movement as well as one of Sassoon’s friends. She encouraged Sassoon to write the decleration as it will help the war, although it won’t help him.

Overall, we can see many comparisons between Regeneration and Sassoon’s poetry, there are many parts of the poems that Barker may well have got her ideas from, such as, ‘Repression of War Experience’, ‘Does It Matter’ and ‘Glory of Women’. The main comparison is with the voices they use, particularly free indirect style as Sassoon uses it too in many of his poems, for example, ‘The Death-Bed’. Both the novel and the poetry are strong, influential and in some ways very similar, but many aspects are also very different.

7:07 AM  

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