Pat Barker's Regeneration
In her novel Regeneration, Pat Barker uses character development to emphasize the various themes in the novel. Pat Barker includes Robert Graves, a well known poet and writer, as a secondary character in a fictional setting. We are first introduced to Robert Graves on page five, where he meets with a very good friend Siegfried Sassoon in the lounge of the Exchange Hotel. During their conversation, they express, through their actions and language, a deep love for one another. In Barker's Regeneration, the importance of love and intimate friendship between men during war develops from the relationship between Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon.
As Miranda Seymour tells us, Robert Graves was born in Wimbledon, near London. He was the first born son to Amalie von Ranke Graves and Alfred Perceval Graves. He was a handsome little boy with wide gray eyes and black curly hair. He attended seven different schools throughout his life. As a child he attended Wimbledon branch of King's College, but then was removed for using inappropriate language. He then was sent to Rokeby and made his name as a quarrelsome bully. Soon there after, he attended a school near Rugby "where he learned the forceful style of English which enabled him to appeal to a lay audience even with the most obscure subjects" (Seymour). Finally, his last preparatory school was Copthrone which was located in Sussex (Seymour). In 1913 he received a scholarship to study at St. John's College, Oxford but soon after, in 1914, he enlisted as a Junior Officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers ("Robert Graves").
As a solider in World War I, Graves became injured in the battle of Somme. During his recovery, he published his first poetic collection, Over the Brazier. Although confused about his sexuality as an adolescent and about his innocent crushes on boys, he married, at the age of twenty-two, the eighteen-year-old Nancy Nicholson with whom he had four children. With the war memories haunting Graves, he and his wife moved so he could go back to Oxford to teach at St. John's College. Though he was a teacher and a writer, Robert Graves considered himself a poet. According to Graves a poet is "one who uses all the resources of language and his own talent to articulate man's overcoming of the cruel face of one's historical period" ("Biography"). The early poetry of Robert Graves' deals with natural beauty, rustic pleasures, and the consequences of World War I. Graves' early poetry was a way for him to overcome his nightmares, hallucinations, and tortured memories of death from his war experience ("Biography"). This early poetry was considered to be Georgian, lyric poetry while maintaining the late-romantic style ("Graves"). Over the Brazier and Fairies and Fusiliers gave Graves the reputation as an accomplished war poet ("Robert Graves").
Later, Graves' writing changed style to terse and ironic poems written on personal themes. This significant change was...