Pat Barker's Regeneration Essay

1105 Words5 Pages
Pat Barker's Regeneration

Pat Barker's Regeneration focuses on the troubled soldiers' mental status during World War One. Barker introduces the feelings soldiers had about the war and military's involvement with the war effort. While Regeneration mainly looks at the male perspective, Barker includes a small but important female presence. While Second Lieutenant Billy Prior breaks away from Craiglockhart War Hospital for an evening, he finds women at a cafe in the Edinburgh district (Barker 86). He comes to the understanding that the women are munitions workers. Women's involvement in war work in Regeneration shows the potential growth in women's independence, but at the expense of restrictions placed on men while they were on the
…show more content…
Even by supporting equal pay, women still earned less then their male counterparts, but found the pay much higher than the domestic jobs they left. Equal pay may not have been as equal as women hoped, but their experience and reason for working in the factories allowed them to feel more distinguished than working in domesticated services.

While men argued against women working in factories, the women were taking full strides to prove their strength and abilities while working under harsh and almost unbearable conditions. Women worked long hours exposed to chemicals and explosives that caused damaging health conditions. The most noticeable health problem came from TNT poisoning that caused jaundice (Robb 43). The symptoms women suffered were pains below the xiphisternum, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, dermatitis, irritability, depression, and some change in menstruation (Thom 124). Under harsh conditions, women continued to prove their abilities though suffering with health ailments.

Barker introduces Sarah Lumb, Lizzy, Madge, and Betty as munition-ettes in order to show the experiences of the home front effort in the plot (Barker 87). Barker uses Sarah to help Billy Prior and readers understand the monotonous, harsh conditions of the factories, and a woman's desire to expand her economic status. In this scene, readers are presented with Sarah's background as a servant who finds munitions work more reliable for
Get Access