Regeneration

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Main Ideas

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Main Ideas Key Facts

full title Regeneration

author Pat Barker

type of work Novel

genre Historical fiction; war novel

language English

time and place written 1990–1991; Durham, United Kingdom

date of first publication 1991

publisher Viking

narrator An unknown, omniscient narrator

point of view Third person omniscient; the narrator is not present or obtrusive in the text, yet is able to know the thoughts and feelings of each of the characters

tone Matter-of-fact, realistic, and resigned; the narrator does not gloss over details or make them any more palatable for the reader

tense Immediate past

setting (time) 1917, near the end of the World War I

setting (place) Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland

protagonist Dr. Rivers

antagonist Madness; Rivers and his patients must fight against the war neuroses in an attempt to heal, but first they must determine what the madness is

climax Rivers witnesses Dr. Yealland's electro-shock therapy, reflects on his relationship with Sassoon, and is forced to come to terms with his own role as a doctor and the control he wields over his patients

falling action The Board finalizes Sassoon's decision to return to active military duty in France; Sassoon leaves and Rivers reflects on how he has been changed by his patient

themes Madness; love between men; parenthood; duty

motifs Regeneration; emasculation

symbols Mutism; trenches; the graveyard

foreshadowing Pointing out the flooded cave on their walk foreshadows that the cave is where Rivers will find Burns in the storm; the dreary, empty hallway at the National Hospital foreshadows the frightening treatment Rivers later witnesses there