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Regeneration

Regeneration

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Published by Michael Daniel

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Published by: Michael Daniel on Jun 08, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/08/2014

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Michael DanielUnit D – “Regeneration” by Pat Barker 3/2/2007“Regeneration” is a novel about power and resistance to it. It is set in World War I England and it centers on the experiences of Dr. Rivers, a military psychologist. Dr.Rivers treats patients using Freudian psychoanalysis. His patients experiencehallucinations, and various psychosomatic symptoms such as mutism. Sassoon is anofficer who refuses to fight on principle and shows no signs of insanity like Dr. Rivers’sother patients do. Dr. Rivers establishes himself as a fatherly (or in some cases motherly)figure in order to get his patients to talk about what happened to them so that they canovercome their symptoms and return to the war. In one case, a soldier was sent to him to be cured of homosexuality. This particular patient was not insane, but he broke a statemandate that all soldiers be heterosexual. All of River’s patients need to return to the war  because the state tells them that it is wrong to not fight in the war. In the end, evenSassoon acquiesces to the state’s mandate that he fight.This novel drives home the message that concepts of power begin in the family.The trenches and the patients relationship with Dr. Rivers is constantly being compared tothe relationship between a child and their father or mother. As the novel goes on itillustrates how the state imposes its will on the sex lives of its citizens. Dr. Rivers tellsSassoon to keep his private life private or else he could be punished for havinghomosexual tendencies. A soldier is sent to a psychiatric hospital to be cured of homosexuality. A woman is scolded by a doctor when her abortion gets botched. Dr.Rivers theorizes that there is a kind of biblical contract where people pledge undyingallegiance to a state so that some day they can be part of the state and others will pledge

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