Religion in Pat Barker's Regeneration

analytical Essay
1756 words
1756 words

Religion in Pat Barker's Regeneration In Pat Barker's novel Regeneration, one of the main characters, Dr. Rivers, is presented with a patient who is not mentally ill at all, but very sane. In trying to "heal" this patient, Rivers begins to have an internal conflict about the job he is doing and the job he should be doing. He is fighting with himself until on page 149, he is in a church where they are singing a very popular hymn, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." At this point, Rivers is able to begin resolving his conflict. By using this hymn, Barker is able to emphasize one of the novel's theme: in times of war, reflection on religion not only brings peace to a country, but can bring peace within yourself. The author of the famous hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way" is William Cowper. He was born to John Cowper and Ann Donne on November 26, 1731. In 1768, Cowper moved to Olney in Buckinghamshire ("William Cowper"). Three years later, he started what would be known as the "Olney Hymns," but because of severe melancholy, Cowper did not finish this work until 1779. The very last hymn in this book is "Light Shining out of Darkness" (Cowper). This hymn is the one that most Christians all over England would know as "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." Even though the hymn may not have been as popular among the soldiers on the battlefield, according to Alan Wilkenson's book, The Church of England and the First World War, "[a]t home, 'God moves in a mysterious way' was a very popular hymn" (157). Historians did not comment on why this particular hymn was so popular during the war. However, the verses in the hymn remind Christians that God is watching over them, and that He has a purpose for everything He does (Cowper). This idea may have provided some reassurance to the families and friends of soldiers on the battlefield. Those with loved ones serving their country may have found comfort knowing that God had a plan, and that He was watching over their soldiers. Other hymns, as well as religion in general, were an important part of the soldiers' and officers' lives. Over forty million prayer books, hymn books, and Bibles were distributed among soldiers during the first two years of war by several different agencies. Many of the books had the typical inscription: "Please carry this in your pocket and read it every day" (Wilkinson 153).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how in pat barker's novel regeneration, dr. rivers is presented with a patient who is not mentally ill at all, but very sane.
  • Describes of the famous hymn "god moves in a mysterious way" as william cowper.
  • Explains that hymns and religion were an important part of the soldiers' and officers' lives during the first two years of war.
  • Explains that religion was an important part of daily life in england during the great war. it was easier for soldiers to feel connected to home and families.
  • Analyzes how barker eloquently emphasizes the importance of religion in her novel on page 149, when chapter fourteen opens with dr. rivers in church hearing the announcement, "hymn no. 373."
  • Analyzes how the hymn, which defers all understanding to god, affects rivers' character in the novel.
  • Analyzes how rivers' religious experience becomes a turning point in barker's novel because it eventually leads to him finding peace within himself after much thought.
  • Cites bbc's "battle of the somme: 1 july-13 november 1916."
  • Analyzes how dr. rivers' new perspective on his job is exemplified through siegfried sassoon, who helps him understand how he can finally obtain peace.
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