Portrayal of Role of Women in Society in Pat Barker's Regeneration

Good Essays

Regeneration focuses on troubled soldiers ' mental states during WW1. The Craiglockhart setting allows Barker to explore the psychological effects of warfare on men who went to fight and also their feelings about the war and the military 's involvement in it. While the focus of the novel is firmly on the male perspective (indeed Barker claimed she had partly chosen this novel to prove she could 'do men as well as women '), there is a small but important female presence.

When WW1 began in 1914, women in Britain were still very much the oppressed gender. Campaigns for women to be allowed the vote were well established. It was only one year previously that Emily Davison had thrown herself under the King 's horse at the Derby, but no votes …show more content…

Ada firmly belongs to a generation where a good marriage was all a daughter could aspire to. When the family converted to Anglo Catholicism, Sarah 'missed the point completely and fell in love with the Virgin Mary ' while her sister, Cynthia, did the correct thing in 'ogling the men in the choir '. To her mother 's approval, Cynthia married a soldier who went on to die, leaving her with a pension for life. In Ada 'a eyes this is the best possible outcome. Sarah later comments to Billy that although their mother did not smile for the wedding photo she did smile at the memorial service. Ada despises girls who 'get caught ' (by the proverbial fox) and worries that this will be Sarah 's fate. She warns that 'you 're never gunna get engaged till you learn to keep your knees together....No man likes to think he 's sliding in on another man 's leavings '. The disasterous consequences of 'getting caught ' are highlighted by Betty when she attempts a home abortion and nearly dies. The male doctor tells her she should be ashamed saying 'it 's not an inconvenience you 've got in there, it 's a human being '. Ironically the women discuss this whilst fitting bullets into the 'glittering belts ' of machine guns. This ammunition will be used to destroy many human beings in battle. There is very much a sense that only men can decide when life is appropriate and when it is not.

With the character of Lizzie,

Get Access
Get Access