Death by the millions. War; caused by the petty disagreements of those in power; fought by the brave young men that had no other choice. No one truly wins a war; it does not decipher who is right, only whom is left. The horrors of war are devastating; both mentally and physically. The horror is not only ever present during life on the Frontline, it lives on in the survivors guilt. I believe
the horror of war is not only represented in the soldiers, we are all too quick
to forget about the feelings of those at home, the friends and families, and
the effects the war had on them.
The Physical effect of war is one of its most poignant horrors, and probably its most acknowledged. We aren’t privy to this sort of imagery in Regeneration, it’s shown once when Sarah Lumb stumbles upon the amputees hidden around the back of the hospital “in the shadows”; out of sight, out of mind; almost. In my opinion, I believe this scene, although uneasy and distressing, may be one of my favourites, as it acknowledges not only the human cost of war, but also the fragmented men left behind. Barker draws constrast to the “shadowy figures” with the dazzling effect of the sun upon then; I believe she is trying to contrast what they have become with whom they once were. The light is a symbol of purity and peace, their inner spark has been dimmed into a dark despairing turmoil. There is no future for these men, the war has stolen this from them. Sarah then comments upon their attire, “the trouser legs sewn short; empty sleeves pinned to jackets” as a subtle hint towards their mutilations, making us recognize their losses, inflicting guilt upon us, which is true to her almost shocking style. She notices a singular man who’d “lost all his limbs” and” seemed to have left all of his blood in France” and is shocked at what she sees. I believe this shows the true horror of war to these men, the men that had lost everything, what life is there for a man that cannot do anything for himself? At this point in time it was integral for a man to care and protect and almost take charge over his family, how would this man do so? I also believe the fear in those “blank stares” when she notices them is heart-wrenching; they do not wished to be seen in this way, they are afraid of what the society that inflicted this upon them may think. This could also be a reference to how bleak their futures are of a result- these men physically paid the cost for other people’s battles.
Neurasthenia and the mental affect of war is a lesser considered but equally if not more poignant horror. Examples of this are rife in Regeneration, I believe that Regeneration is deliberately set in a psychiatric hospital, as this emphasises some of the key elements of the First World War. I believe that the mental effects of war are highlighted mostly in the character of David Burns; a patient at Craiglockhart War Hospital; I believe this to be more heart wrenching as Burns is based upon a real patient as noted in...