In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant phsychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim. It is one of the most amazing feats of fiction of our time.
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Siegfried Sassoon, a noted British poet, was also a soldier in World War I. The text which opens this chapter comes from a letter Sassoon wrote to members of the House of Commons. Though this novel is fiction, it is heavily inspired by Sassoon's real experiences as a result of penning this letter. (This annotation contains an image)
A "conchie" is a slang term for a conscientious objector. Which of the following is the best statement of why Sassoon objects to the war?
Which of the following does Graves' statement imply?
The MC, or Military Cross Ribbon, is awarded to members of the British armed forces who demonstrate extreme courage in an active battle situation. In 2007, Sassoon's MC medal was found in an attic in Scotland. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Sassoon's attitude in this passage can best be described as
"Shell-shock" is a term coined during World War I to describe the reaction of soldiers to the horrors of battle they witnessed. Symptoms can include panic attacks and insomnia. During WWI, many people thought shell-shock was simply a ploy to be removed from battle; as a result, British armies ordered a few days rest for soldiers who were suffering, but refused to formally diagnose soldiers with the condition in the public eye.
For which of the following groups of people does Sassoon feel the most sympathy?
The highlighted line contains an example of a simile. Click the link below for a definition of simile. What qualities of the passage are highlighted by comparing it to a trench? (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following words describes how Rivers feels about his patients?
Sometimes in literature, the author gives you enough information to infer something about a character before he or she actually says it. The image below depicts the bones in the human arm. Find the radius and ulna. What can you infer about Burns from the description of his arm? (This annotation contains an image)
The point of view of this novel is third person omniscient, but the bulk of the novel focuses on Sassoon's and Rivers' thoughts about the events of the plot. What is the main effect of this choice?
Bertrand Russell and Ottoline Morrell were two prominent British pacifists, famous for their anti-war activity during World War I. Russell was even jailed for his public anti-war speeches. It is believed that Sassoon penned his Declaration at the urging of these two friends of his. (This annotation contains an image)
Although it has been revised since this early draft, this is one of the historical Sassoon's poems, entitled "The Rear Guard." Which do Sassoon and the soldier of this poem have in common?
The treatment described in this paragraph is called "exposure therapy." The concept behind the treatment is that by familiarizing the patient with the conditions which cause his fears, he will become used to the stimulus and his anxiety will gradually lessen. Exposure therapy is a popular form of treatment for patients suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Which of the following best describes the conflict which Rivers feels in regards to Sassoon?
Sigmund Freud, a German psychologist, believed that dreams were a form of wish fulfillment and that analyzing them can reveal aspects of the dreamer's unconscious thoughts. What is Anderson's attitude toward Freud's theories? (This annotation contains an image)
Anderson regards therapy with
How do the speaker of "The Wound-Dresser" and the boy described in this paragraph present contrasting views on a similar situation? Cite evidence from the novel and poem to support your response.
Click the link below to read "The Wound-Dresser," a poem by Walt Whitman. Use the poem to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
Notice how Sassoon's speech starts to change during this conversation, and when it returns to normal. What might be the cause of his suddenly appearing stutter?
The simile comparing the sound of the branch to a machine gun is most likely included to convey which of the following?
Why does Burns "listen for the whine of shells"?
Click the link below for a definition of symbolism. What symbolism might be contained in this scene? (This annotation contains a video)
Use the "define" tool to look up supercilious. Which of the following is the best synonym for supercilious?
"Analgesia" refers to the inability to feel pain. Painkillers, such as aspirin, are called analgesics because they combat pain. What does Rivers' statement confirm about Prior's sickness?
Golgotha is the site outside of Jerusalem where Jesus was said to have been crucified. Why does Sassoon compare his war memories to Golgotha? (This annotation contains an image)
"Regeneration" means bringing something back to life. The title of this novel most likely refers to the symbolic regeneration of __________.
Rivers worries that encouraging his patients to address their fears and give in to their emotions will have which of the following effects?
In this line, Barker employs a metaphor to describe Prior. What qualities are highlighted by describing him this way?
The term "propaganda" refers to communication- traditionally commissioned by the government or a powerful group of people- meant to influence the population's attitude about a subject. What is Prior's opinion about the propaganda he was taught? (This annotation contains an image)
This line implies which of the following?
Carpenter's book "The Intermediate Sex" was one of the first texts to publicly address homosexuality in society in a positive light. (This annotation contains an image)
Rivers ________ Sassoon.
Explain how the idiom "neither fish nor foul" applies to Prior.
An idiom is a phrase with a figurative meaning which is different from the literal words. "Neither fish nor fowl" is an idiom which means that a thing is not easily identifiable.
Charlie Chaplin, often considered one of the most important figures in the film industry, was an actor during the silent film era. Chaplin's films were primarily comedic. Although the men would not be watching the film featured below, as "The Kid" did not come out until 1921, it is representative of the type of film Chaplin made. (This annotation contains a video)
It is implied that Prior's asthma is tied most closely to his stress over
"Transference" is a psychological phenomenon in which a person transfers their feelings for a particular person onto another- usually someone who reminds them of the original person in some way. A negative transference would be the transferring of negative emotions, such as anger or fear.
Why does Rivers feel uneasy about Prior reading his book?
In these lines, Prior quotes Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Click below to read the full text of the poem and use it to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
From what we know about his character, why does Prior think that "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is "rubbish"?
Like Sassoon, Rivers also has occasional speech issues. What other similarities do you notice between the two characters?
From a narrative perspective, what is the purpose of including the text of Rivers' report?
Part 1 Quiz
Click below for a definition of irony. What is the irony of Brock's final statement? (This annotation contains a video)
This line contains an example of a(n) _______.
Use the image below, of a soldier in a trench at the Battle of the Somme, to help you visualize this scene. (This annotation contains an image)
Click the link below to read Sassoon's poem, "The Death Bed." (This annotation contains a link)
Owen's description of war in this paragraph characterizes it as something
Like Sassoon, Wilfred Owen was a British soldier and poet who is best known for his anti-war poems such as "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth." Owen considered Sassoon to be his mentor, and his influence is heavily seen in Owen's poetry. (This annotation contains an image)
Use the "define" tool to look up callous. Which of the following is the best synonym for callous?
What does Prior mean by the highlighted statement?
Fifty-nine thousand British soldiers were killed in the Battle of Loos, which took place in 1915.
By "fixed him," Sarah's mother most likely means which of the following?
During World War I, many British women worked in munitions factories, where they worked long hours to assist in the production of supplies for the troops. Although they were still paid less than a man would have been, munitions jobs were coveted because women earned twice their normal wage during war-time. (This annotation contains an image)
"Par for the course" is another idiom, meaning that something is expected in a given circumstance.
From his description of mutism, what is Rivers implying about Prior?
The Grim Reaper, a personified version of death, and Father TIme, a personified version of time, are often depicted holding scythes, which they use to harvest the lives of men when their time is up. (This annotation contains an image)
In what way does this moment symbolically parallel a larger theme of the book?
Duckboards are platforms made out of wooden slats which are built over muddy ground to create a passageway. In WWI, much of the fighting relied on trench warfare which is the digging of trenches for armies to use as a shelter or protection for attack. This technique placed the soldiers in mud and sometimes poorly constructed tunnels. (This annotation contains an image)
From a narrative standpoint, this flashback was included in order to do which of the following?
The term "couvade" refers to a "sympathetic pregnancy" displayed by males in some cultures when their wives or partners are pregnant. Men suffering from couvade syndrome may gain weight or experience pain, fatigue, or nausea.
Explain Rivers' observations about the effect of war on traditional gender roles. Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. That same day, the United States declared that they would continue to remain neutral. (This annotation contains an image)
What is "this" that Madge refers to?
The metaphor employed in this line is meant to convey which of the following ideas about Sassoon?
An internal conflict occurs when a character battles against his or her own conscience. What internal conflict is Rivers facing?
A bayonet is a knife or blade specially constructed to fit over the barrel of a musket. It is used for hand-to-hand combat. (This annotation contains an image)
The idiom in this line implies that Willard is __________ with the incident which just occurred between himself, River, and his wife.
The sculpture below depicts the myth of Hercules and Antaeus. Use the image to answer the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
In what way could the statue from the last annotation be said to represent the same struggle the soldiers at Craiglockhart are experiencing?
The final version of Owen's "The Dead-Beat" can be read at the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following best describes the source of Prior's animosity?
Wartime correspondence was censored in order to avoid the possibility that a letter might be intercepted by the enemy. The image below depicts an example of a censored letter. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is most likely the source of Burns's nervousness?
Trappist monks refrain from idle speech, speaking only when absolutely necessary. As a result, popular legend about them is that they take a vow of silence.
Why does Prior feel that the general public is "from one planet," and that he is from another?
Notice the rapid narration in this section- Rivers moves from patient to patient to patient. In this section, the focus is on Rivers and his well-being, rather than that of the patients.
Although Rivers' psychosomatic symptoms don't occur because of his experience on a battlefield, how are they still similar to those suffered by the men in Craiglockhart?
The ellipses at the end of this paragraph are meant to signal which of the following?
Lady Bracknell is a character in Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest." She is known for her strict adherence to social codes, even in situations where such adherence is utterly absurd. Why does Rivers brand the CO's comment as "Lady Bracknellish"?
Part Two Quiz
Sassoon symbolically equates Rivers' departure with which of the following?
The Battle of the Somme, which took place between the British/French armies and the German army for five months in 1916, is one of the bloodiest battles in history. From July 1 to November 18, over one million men were killed or wounded.
In this sentence, the phrase "he had, in a way, just killed" refers to which of the following ideas?
In the Book of Genesis, two creation stories can be found- both of which suggest that an omniscient God created the world and humanity, wholly intact, in a matter of days. Darwin's theory of evolution is seen in some circles as a direct contradiction of- and therefore a threat to- religion. What does Rivers' father's anger reveal about his personality?
"Anthem for Doomed Youth" is one of Owen's most famous poems. Read the finished product at the link below, and use it to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
How does Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth" display the anti-war stance embraced by Sassoon in this novel? Cite evidence from both the poem and this novel to support your response.
Use the "define" tool to look up shirking. Which of the following is the best synonym for shirking?
How do these sentences demonstrate a shift in Prior's view of Sarah from the one he held earlier when they were at the beach?
Which of the following is this allusion to the Bible meant to convey?
This line contains an example of personification, which is defined in the video below. How does describing the sea in this way downplay the significance of the statement's literal meaning? (This annotation contains a video)
What does this idiom suggest about the relationship between Burns and his parents?
Why is asking if Burns had any newspapers "a silly question"?
The video below comes from "Downton Abbey," a television series set during World War I. Watch the video to gain insight into the reference made in this line. Then use the video to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
The white feather is meant to have which of the following effects on the person it is handed to?
This statement reveals Rivers' sympathies to be
In what way might this moment represent a turning point in Burns and Rivers' relationship?
How does Burns's attitude toward being injured display irony?
Explain how the statement "the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay" applies to Burns.
The reference to the yoke in this line invokes a metaphor in which Rivers compares himself to which of the following?
Dynamic characters are characters who undergo a significant change as a result of the events of the novel. How does this paragraph reveal Rivers to be a dynamic character? What other characters can be classified this way?
This poem by Sassoon is entitled "Sick Leave."
How does the poem "Sick Leave" explain Sassoon's decision to return to the front?
Part Three Quiz
Ava's simile describing how men love women is
What does Ada's decision to convert her family's religion in order to move them to a church in a "very nice neighborhood" reveal about her character?
Graves's anger at Sassoon is a result of which of the following?
Abortion was illegal in the United Kingdom until 1967.
Rivers is __________ Sassoon about being open about his private life.
The phrase "tilting at windmills" originated in "Don Quixote;" it is an expression which means "fighting imaginary enemies." What "imaginary enemy" does Rivers tell Sassoon he is fighting?
Both answers to this question- yes or no- come with negative consequences for Prior. What is his conflict?
Which of the following does Prior associate with home service?
Which of the following details about Sassoon is revealed through his discussion about Charles Mercier?
Notice Prior's mixed feelings about not returning to battle. How does he both celebrate and lament this fact?
Authors employ indirect characterization to reveal details about the personalities of their characters. This is achieved through making comments about their physical appearances, their thoughts, their speech, or other character's reactions to them. How does the author indirectly characterize Sarah's mother in this passage?
Which overall theme is best depicted in this paragraph?
Brock's comment conveys which of the following tones?
These lines are key to understanding Rivers' character. What are his personal thoughts about his role in Sassoon's "recovery"?
In literature, authors often make use of foils- characters who are similar in one or more ways, but distinctly different in other regards. By juxtaposing the two characters, the author calls attention to their differences. As this chapter progresses, keep an eye out for how Rivers and Yealland act at foils.
Yealland addresses his patients with which of the following tones?
In 1997, a film version of "Regeneration" was released in the United Kingdom. Click below to see this scene as it was depicted in the film. Then use the video to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
How is the film version of this scene able to emphasize the emotion of this scene more than the print version can?
Yealland's behavior towards Callan indicates which of the following?
How has the experience with Yealland affected Rivers?
Whose words is Rivers attributing to this soldier?
Which of the following aspects of his dream is most disturbing to Rivers?
Using the define tool for help, which of the following is the best synonym for "self-laceration"?
What is ironic about Head's realization about the study of foreign cultures?
"Counter-Attack and Other Poems," Sassoon's fifth collection of poetry, was published in May of 1918. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Rivers protecting Sassoon during this discussion?
How would you describe this moment? A flashback? A hallucination? Something else?
How has Rivers' understanding of his role in his patients' lives changed as a result of his experience with Sassoon?
Part Four Quiz