“Fear, tenderness - these emotions were so despised that they could be admitted into consciousness only at the cost of redefining what it meant to be a man.”
Regeneration is a story inspired by true events of World War One. Centres around the now famous war poet, Siegfried Sassoon, and his inspiring of Wilfred Owen, the story takes place in a hospital called Craiglockhart, for those suffering shell shock, PTSD.
It is a story of intricate characterisation, the horrific consequences of war, and the internal conflict each character faces. Everyone faces different tribulations and struggles that appear impossible to overcome, yet they can unite over their experiences, and it is what forges them into brothers.
“You know you're walking around with a mask on, and you desperately want to take it off and you can't because everybody else thinks it's your face.”
Sassoon is the central character. He wrote The Declaration, which criticised and discredited those causing the war, proclaiming that it could have been ended, and was not fuelled by incessant greed. Yet, he faces the trial of facing heavy opposition who can send him far away, and the guilt of leaving his men on the front line.
It Is a story of moral dilemmas that plagues all, especially that of William Rivers, the doctor, who wishes to ‘regenerate’ those in his care, but only to send them back to the front line, to almost certain death. This was emphasised by the subtle and smooth prose that allowed ideas, themes and undertones to evolve and naturally present themselves to the reader, depicting realistic and believable mentalities to the characters.
“A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance.”
Regeneration was a haunting yet revealing story that was brilliant in presenting both the horrors of the war, but the reasons of why people fought, and how it formed bonds and inspiration. Focusing on Sassoon, it was amazing to find out how and why he used poetry in the way he did to portray such powerful visions of the reality of war.