ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.

Essay by   •  December 22, 2010  •  Essay  •  2,466 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,590 Views

Essay Preview: A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.

Report this essay
Page 1 of 10

Barker has written Regeneration laid in England in 1917, the novel is populated by a mixture of real and imaginary people. One of the real characters is the soldier and poet, Sigfried Sassoon. We meet him after he has been awarded a medal for heroism in WWI, and has publicly denounced the war as one of aggression and conquest in defiance of military orders. Instead of having a court martial, he is sent to Craiglockhart Hospital to be treated as a \"shell shocked\" casualty by Dr. William Rivers another real character. Craiglockhart was what we today would call a neuro-psychiatric hospital, and Rivers is a practitioner of psychoanalysis. His job is to get men well, by carrying out particular methods such as getting the men to recall their disturbing events and then to speak about them, so they can return to the front. Sassoon, Rivers, and other real and fictional characters are interwoven in this tale.

The experiences and stories of Regeneration are greatly inspired by historical events and sociological influences. Bringing real life poets and their experiences together with a fictional plot surrounding the great war, Barker has been able to produce a novel from an intriguing blend of fact and fiction, one that conveys several aspects of history.

Strange Meeting on the other hand is set against the horrors of the First World War, this novel portrays the friendship of two young officers. Hilliard is a veteran of combat, a reserved and isolated young man who prefers the stark reality of the front line "why had it been so easy to sleep up there, to sleep through the noise of guns?", where he follows orders and makes only simple decisions based on life or death, to the political and social complications of his previous existence in England. Hill presents the characters as more positively, psychologically affected by war, from which a main character John Hilliard grows as a person and learns to love as a result of learning to communicate, speak and express himself freely , as at the beginning of the novel he is portrayed as detached and unable to feel or relate to those around him, (primarily his immediate family). Comradeship between Hilliard and Barton, (another central character) appears to be the most prominent component in the novel; however the exploitation of the silenced youth is also explored throughout the novel.

He had been unhappy at home, where he could not talk to no one, nobody knew."

Both Regeneration and Strange Meeting provoke an anti war attitude through the indirect or not so indirect emphasis on silencing. In the first few chapters of Strange Meeting Hill presents us with Hilliard who is clearly presented as detached, withdrawn and repressing emotions. This is reflected through Hill's use of narrative, we do not experience a lot of Hilliard's speech, such use of narrative is vital to represent the lack of speech on Hilliard's behalf. The narrative is full of descriptions of sound and listening "..where old men aired their military opinions and he could not join in, just sit there,"....

"He had argued twice, bitterly, with his farther. But after that, stayed silent." Within the first few pages Strange Meeting we experience Hilliard suffering with nightmares of his experiences in the trenches, his suffering is in silence, as he wakes, crying out from a nightmare but is worried any one may have heard him "He sat up quickly, to shut out the sound of his own heart, thumping against the pillows..." The very thought that the stereotypical soldier could be thought of as being scared certainly implies that there is something exceptionally fear-provoking about the hostilities of war that are shown in the novel.

Similarly Regeneration introduces us to a character very similar to John Hilliard.. Whilst the novel is set in Craiglockhart we are introduced to patients attending Craiglockheart, who are gravely wounded in spirit if not body; sometimes they are tormented by their nightmares, revulsions, mutism, stammering, paralysis, especially the conscious closure of the peoples eyes on the horrors of the war. One in which is Billy Prior, who when first introduced is suffering from mutism, although Prior's silence is more severe than Hilliard's in Strange Meeting , it is implied that Prior's mutism is by choice, like that of Hilliard's in Strange Meeting . Further more Hilliard and Prior are very similar in terms of their inability to communicate with their families. As a soldier who has had a difficult life both at war and at home, Prior is a conflicted and complicated character. From what we know, Prior is entirely fictional, which frees Barker from any constraints linked to Prior\'s beliefs, past, or future. As a result, Prior is deeply nuanced in his thoughts and reactions

We receive a glimpse of Prior\'s past when his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Prior, come to visit Craiglockhart. Prior\'s conflicted nature is not surprising, considering that his parents come from such differing views with regard to their son\'s well being. Prior's father is a slightly hardened man and would have preferred if his son didn't join the army "I'm not proud. He should've stuck with his own ".

It is also implied that Prior's father almost resents his son " He seemed to have no feeling for his son at all, except contempt". Whereas Prior's mother is a softer woman

Who seems to care for her son and is proud of him joining the army " she was determined he was going to get on.

Such emotional conflict clearly causes Prior stress; he develops a physical asthmatic reaction to their visit. This is the way in which Barker presents the detachment of Prior to his family as does Hill with Hilliard in Strange Meeting.

Hilliard's silence becomes prominent when he attempts to regain a bond that himself and his sister once maintained. However he is unable to speak with her the dialogue in the small bit of speech between Hilliard and Beth (sister) remain extremely formal, not dialogue that would be considered of brother and sister. Hilliard is unable to speak with his sister, she had not experienced the horrors of the front line or the re-occurring nightmares due to the horrors, and ironically Hill gives u s a glimpse into the life Beth has been pursuing in the absence of her brother,

"but she had busy, going out to lunch with their mother, helping with twice a week at parties for soldiers on leave, leading a social life." The life Beth leads contrast with great irony to the life that Hilliard leads, as Beth's life back in England appears to reflect the great patriotic country. Who celebrate the honour and absence of their men, it also presents

...

...

Download as:   txt (14.3 Kb)   pdf (155.6 Kb)   docx (14.8 Kb)  
Continue for 9 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.. ReviewEssays.com. Retrieved 12, 2010, from https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/A-Compare-and-Contrast-Essay-on-the-Presentation/25373.html

"A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill." ReviewEssays.com. 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/A-Compare-and-Contrast-Essay-on-the-Presentation/25373.html>.

"A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.." ReviewEssays.com. ReviewEssays.com, 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/A-Compare-and-Contrast-Essay-on-the-Presentation/25373.html>.

"A Compare and Contrast Essay on the Presentation of Words and Silence in the Novels Regeneration by Pat Barker and Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.." ReviewEssays.com. 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010. https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/A-Compare-and-Contrast-Essay-on-the-Presentation/25373.html.