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There are at least two ways to answer this question. One way is to argue that Regeneration is not an anti-war novel. First, because the work is historical fiction, we might assert that it was necessary for Barker to include Sassoon's protest against the war as an important facet of his character, but that his protest is not central to the novel. Second, as the narrator does not play an intrusive role in the story, there is no overarching judgment of the occurrences and events that carries a didactic anti-war tone. Third, in the characters' observations there is most definitely a condemnation of well known pacifists like Bertrand Russell and Ottoline Morrell. Finally, we may argue that Regeneration is not an anti-war novel because it…show more content…
This topic resurfaces throughout the novel. Sassoon remembers the young boy in the bed next to him who has been castrated on the battlefield. Anderson dreams he is tied up with corsets. Prior recalls his weakness against his father and the influence of his mother. Sassoon mentions to Rivers the topic of homosexuality and the idea of an "intermediate sex." Rivers reflects on the "feminine: nature of healing and caring for one another on the battlefield. The motif of emasculation signals the powerlessness the men feel when confronted with the shocking reality of war. Although they try to do the ostensibly manly thing by enlisting in the war and fighting for their country, they must face society's judgment that it is decidedly unmanly to suffer a breakdown from their war experience. In the hospital, Rivers's method of treatment involves further unmanly actions, as the patients are forced to release their emotions and discuss their feelings. Willard is so opposed to the unmanliness of his situation that he refuses to believe he has anything other than a physical problem. Yet, Rivers achieves results in a sympathetic manner; he helps his patients to improve and lead a normal life once again. Through further emasculation the patients are able to improve. Ultimately, the motif of emasculation in the novel challenges the traditional notion of manliness. Suggested Essay Topics Describe the role of fathers and mothers in the novel. How do they
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