Regeneration - Rivers

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  • Rivers
    • Duty
      • Rivers' duty is to cure the men and send them back to the frontline.
        • 'It's his duty to go back and it's my duty to see he does.'
      • Rivers and Yealland both have the duty of sending their patients back to war
        • Rivers' technique = talking cure.
          • Freudian technique - our subconscious reveals our deepest fear and desire.
            • Addresses suppressed memories.
              • 'Gentler miracles'.
                • River helps Sassoon to resolve his tension between his two duties and encourages him to return to war.
                  • He is sympathetic to Sassoon’s view of the war because he feels constant tensions between his obligation to make his patients remember horrifying parts of their pasts and the desire to prevent further suffering.
    • Conflict/guilt
      • 'Nothing justifies this'.
        • When he finds Burns waiting to drown in the darkened cellar of a lighthouse, Dr. Rivers finally accepts the injustices of the war.
          • Burns' suffering has no redeeming quality; his wartime experience has stripped him of honor and dignity
            • The depth of Burns’ anguish leads Rivers to conclude that the political reasons for the war cannot justify the damage it has caused.
              • Once Rivers comes to this realisation, his duty becomes more ironic.
                • He's been giving the task of mentally preparing his patients to go back to the war.
      • Yealland and Callan
        • 'A horse’s bit. Not an electrode, not a teaspoon. A bit. And instrument of control. Obviously he and Yealland were both in the business of controlling people.'
          • After witnessing Yealland’s electroshock treatment, Rivers dreams that he is in his colleague’s place.
          • Expresses Rivers' anxiety that he has been controlling his patients just like Yealland.
            • Both men are tasked with ensuring that their patients resume fighting, regardless of their desires.
              • He is sympathetic to Sassoon’s view of the war because he feels constant tensions between his obligation to make his patients remember horrifying parts of their pasts and the desire to prevent further suffering.
            • Rivers’ anxiety is connected to one patient in particular: Sassoon
              • Rivers dreams that he is attempting to bridle and direct the lieutenant, expressing his guilt over the role he  played in Sassoon’s decision to return to battlefield.

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