Summary of key themes and quotes from Regeneration

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1: Madness- The idea of madness is central to Regeneration. At its simplest level, madness is the problem that plagues the soldiers at Craiglockhart War Hospital, the problem that the psychiatrists long to "heal." The symptoms of madness range from an irrational fear of blood to mutism, from an inability to eat to a vocal protest of the war. For many of the men, such treatment only further exacerbates their problems, leaving them feeling shamed and emasculated over their breakdown.
2: Love between men: Love and intimate friendship between men is a continual theme in the novel, as all of the soldiers and doctors in the novel are male. On the battlefield, love between men is an accepted and desirable occurrence. Sassoon is complemented on the love and dedication he demonstrates for the men who serve in his division.
From this perspective, love between men—and male emotional relationships more generally—are a smaller part of a larger goal of curbing what is deemed socially unacceptable behavior.
3: Emasculation: Emasculation appears in the novel in a wide variety of forms. 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.


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Key Quotes

Emasculation: Sassoon seeing a man castrated next to him during the war.
Billy Prior feeling that he has a better relationship with his mother than his father.
The way that Rivers treats his patients by asking them about there feelings is a very feminie thing. Compared to the way that Dr Yellns treats his patients with electric shock treatment. The budding relationship between Sassoon and Owen the way that Owen is in Sassoons room and looks up and admires him asks him to look at his poems. It suggests that there may be something more than friendship between the two but this is never confirmed nor denied. Characters coming to terms and facing there fears link to Burns when he sees the dead animals hanging from the tree and places them all around him and takes off his clothes so that he can feel like them.

Women working during the war, when Billy Prior meets Sarah Lumb she works in the munitions factory and is described as having yellow coloured skin which is from the chemicals that she works with. It shows us the role that women played within the war also referred in the poem Munitions Wages which described the roles that women played on the homefront helping the men out in the war.

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Scars Upon My Heart

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