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Questions & Answers

In Regeneration, What do you learn about the relationship between officers and men? What effect does the war have on masculinity? Why does Rivers wish he was young enough for France?

The relationship between the officers and men was extremely interesting and unexpected!

Normally it would be expected that the war would bring out the ‘masculinity’ in the men. Masculinity refers to the socially constructed idea of ‘manliness’. This ‘manliness’ or ‘masculinity’ was expected to be enhanced through the brutal episodes that the soldiers would go through during the war. However, the situation in actuality turned out to be quite different. The bond between the officers and the men became more domestic, caring and affectionate, rather than becoming harsh or brutal. The war brought out the best in the men instead of boosting their socially constructed expectations of ‘masculinity’. 

The passage also highlights the unrealistics expectations that the young boys had from the war they were about to enter. For them it was expected to be an adventurous and thrilling experience. The writer at the same time implied that, little did they know, war was absolutely synonymous to death, destruction and brutality and nothing else.

On the other hand, Rivers envied the young soldiers leaving for the war. Here an allusion is made to the existence of homosexuality in the individual, as war meant that the soldiers would happen to be around other young, able and strong male soldiers. This is something Rivers yearned for and therefore wished that he were ‘young enough for France’.

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