The Horrors Of Healing In Pat Baker's Regeneration

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Pat Baker’s historically accurate novel Regeneration gives its readers a glimpse of what soldiers during World War I had to go through. More importantly, it shows them the horrors of trench warfare, which was characterized by the soldiers’ development of shell shock. Fortunately for the soldiers, W. H. Rivers is tasked with helping them out and through him the process of regeneration, and by extension, healing is also introduced into the story. Baker doesn’t only use just Rivers to portray her theme of healing, but she also uses Yealland, Rivers’ counterpart as well. She also smartly uses the title of her novel in order to give the reader a sense of anticipation about the theme of her work. Symbols are also seen throughout the novel that further supports her point. Baker uses…show more content…
Although both of them effectively treat their patients they both go about their business in very different ways. Rivers liked to treat his patients as individuals and showed them such patience and kindness that he was able to win over their respect. Yealland in contrast treated all of his patients the same and usually earned their obedience through intimidation. Ultimately these two were able to heal their patients, but how much Yealland’s methods truly helped his patients was never explored.
In contrast to Yealland’s electric shocks, Rivers opted to talk to his patients and use a combination of talk therapy and transference in order to heal them. Rivers stressed the importance of acknowledging their feelings and that it was okay for them to feel empathy for their fellow countrymen. Rivers’ personalized way of treating his patients usually left them viewing him as either a father or mother figure (transference). Historically, Rivers’ methods of treating his patients were viewed more favorably than Yealland so that should tell the reader all they need to know about whose methods were more

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