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Regeneration focuses on troubled soldiers mental states during WW1 The Craiglockhart setting allows Barker to explore the psychological effects of warfare on men who went to fight and also their feelings about the war and the militarys involvement in it While the focus of the novel is firmly on the male perspective indeed Barker claimed she had partly chosen this novel to prove she could do men as well as women there is a small but important female presence When WW1 began in 1914 women in Britain were still very much the oppressed gender Campaigns for women to be allowed the vote were well established It was only one year previously that Emily Davison had thrown herself under the Kings horse at the Derby but no votes were to be awarded until after the war and even then only to women who owned their own homes or were married By introducing Sarah Lumb and her friends Barker allows a female perspective to be considered in yet another male dominated situation ie the war With conscription removing nearly an entire generation of male workers to battle a large gap in the countrys workforce appeared a gap made larger by the increasing demand for ammunition created by the war effort The people who filled tese gaps were mainly lower class women who took the places of their fathersbrothersuncles who had gone to the front lines It comes as no surprise to readers of Barker that this is the group of women chosen to focus on as it is representative of the gritty coarse spoken and northern women of previous novels Until the war began Sarah was employed as a ladys maid a job which her mother Ada considered suitable and which earned her 10 bob per week The financial pull of the munitions factory was too strong for Sarah and her friends however The hours may have been long 6 days per week 12
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