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Paper Topic:

Rebecca Wests `The Return of the Soldier`

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The Return of the Soldier : A Literary Response to a Social Dilemma

The effects of war , any war , are devastating . The damage to life and property sustained by both warring sides is irreparable , the losses are lamentable . Moreover , the changes it effects cover not only physical scars , but psychological and emotional ones as well . The novel entitled The Return of the Soldier ' written by Rebecca West , explores the effects of World War I on British society . It illustrates

the trauma of war and how this trauma radically changes societal perceptions and societal norms

The novel centers on the psychological incapacity suffered by most World War I soldiers : shell shock , an extreme trauma that affects the psychological stability of a person who underwent or witnessed severe war trauma . It is known today as post-traumatic stress dis

The novel opens with a conversation between Kitty and Jenny , who are both worried about the welfare of Chris Baldry , a rich man drafted to war like all other able-bodied men in his time . Chris fails to write home for two nights , and the women worry about such unusual behavior Later on they find out from a stranger , Mrs . Grey , that Chris suffers from shell shock , and has lost his memory of fifteen years . As a result his perceptions and emotions are in a different state . He is living in the past . He thinks he is twenty-one years old , and not thirty-six . More importantly , he has no memory of his wife Kitty , and no affection for her as well . He is instead Customer 's last name 2 in-love with a woman he met fifteen years ago , a woman named Margaret Allington who is actually Mrs . Grey . Although Chris acknowledges the fact that he is not well , he prefers to nurture the feeling he has for things and people he is endeared to fifteen years ago . Kitty suffers the emotional pain the situation causes her , but Jenny , on the other hand sees the virtue in the whole situation . Mrs . Grey , who is repugnantly poor and physically unkempt , eventually earns a dignified place in Jenny 's heart . However , the continuous search for a cure leads the Baldry household to the expertise of a psychiatrist named Dr .Gilbert Anderson , who provides the answer to the cure with the help of Mrs Grey , who provides the key to unlocking Chris ' suppressed memories . Upon learning that Chris and Kitty lost a son years ago , like she did , Mrs Grey suggests that they use the memory of the boy to bring Chris back to his old self . The novel closes with Jenny and Kitty observing from afar that Chris seems cured , after Mrs . Grey reveals the memory of his dead son to him

Rebecca West reveals many issues in this novel . However , the most important one , the issue that bears much weight , is how , as mentioned earlier , societal norms and societal perceptions are changed in English society . It is in...

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