Sassoon comes to Rivers's office for his appointment. Sassoon asks for a room change; he cannot bear his new roommate, who believes that everything is done by the grace of God. Sassoon is annoyed by what he perceives to be his roommate's complete disassociation with reality.
Sassoon tells Rivers of some of the hallucinations he has had. They have not been frightening, but Sassoon considers them irrational. He sees his dead friends coming to knock on his door. They are puzzled by Sassoon's presence in the hospital when there appears to be nothing wrong with him. Sassoon is troubled by these hallucinations, and he gives Rivers a poem that he wrote about them. Sassoon feels guilty for abandoning his men. Finally, he tells Rivers of his decision to go back to the front. Rivers admits that he is pleased by Sassoon's decision.
Regeneration is primarily structured around the consciousness and experiences of Rivers, who is the link that connects all the patients together. It is through his mind that ideas and beliefs are reflected. By choosing Rivers as the central protagonist of the novel, Barker forces a comparison between the past and the present. Rivers, a good thirty years older than most of his patients, was brought up with a Victorian education. Raised by an Anglican priest, Rivers was taught not only a strong belief in God, but also a deep respect for order and authority. He recognizes his duty to be that which he has agreed to do; he does not accept that changing one's mind should have any effect on honoring one's duty. However, as Rivers treats his patients and learns more and more about the horrors of war, he begins to question his existing values. Though Rivers will not admit it to Sassoon, he cannot see that anything could possibly justify such mass destruction of a generation of young minds and young men. As a protagonist who is also a scientist, Rivers's keen observations allow us an insight into the moral and societal dilemmas he faces. In Rivers, traditional values and modern reality clash uneasily.