Pat Barker. Essay

1264 words - 5 pages

The experiences and stories of Regeneration are greatly inspired by historical events, sociological influences, and the family history of the author, Pat Barker. Bringing real life poets and their experiences together with a fictional plot surrounding the Great War, Barker was able to produce a novel from an intriguing blend of fact and fiction, one that conveys several aspects of history and pieces them together with first hand knowledge from her family. Tying both the horrific stories from her grandfather in battle, and the familiarity that her husband had with a man in the field of war neuroses, Barker was able to create a novel confronting the psychological effects of World War I.Born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943, Barker endured a childhood of forlorn, one without a father. As an infant, Barker's father was a pilot in the Royal Air Force, but did not survive War World II. Instead, she was forced to face the consequences of war at an early age (Carson, 1997). Barker was brought up mainly by her grandparents, and aside to her father's presence in war, she was exposed to the stories and scars of her grandfather, resulting from the First World War. This was described in an interview with Narins (1997) when Barker had answered, "My grandfather first ignited my curiosity about the war, plying me with tales of his military exploits while toying with his old bayonet wound."(p.11). This response by Barker describes how her grandfather was such an important figure in her life. His actions and stories lighted way for Barker to be intrigued by the Great War, and later they inspired her to write a story such as Regeneration. Together, the absence of her father, and the stories and wounds of years of fighting, made early and lasting impressions on the young Pat Barker on the penalties and outcomes of war.In 1814, the "war to end all wars" began, proving nothing of its name. When war broke out in August 1914, France, Britain and Russia were allied against Germany and Austria. The Germans attacked France through southern Belgium, aiming to capture Paris in a swift "knock-out blow". The French Army stopped the Germans along the River Marne north of Paris, helped by the British Expeditionary Force that rushed across the Channel. Both sides dug in, creating lines of muddy trenches. These were defended with barbed-wire fences, land mines, artillery and murderous machine-guns. On each side, the generals would plan attacks to try to break through the enemy front line. First, they would shell the enemy lines to weaken their defenses, and then the infantry would be sent out of their trenches into "no-man's land". These attacks cost hundreds of thousands of lives to shift the boundary just a few miles. Only in the autumn of 1918 did the allies finally break through (Ellis, 1976). The warfare used during the duration of the Great War was well known as trench warfare. What is feared in the conditions of trench warfare is not the actual danger, but the prospect of being...

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