Compare the characters of sassoon and prior with particular reference to their attitudes to war

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War is a situation which can bring about huge changes in attitude and opinion for all involved, be it civilians or those in the military, due to social issues at the time or even due to the personal issues of all involved and how their attitude towards a war situation is likely to be influenced by previous experience. This essay will look at how Barker uses her novel to analyse the development in the respective attitudes of the two main characters, Sassoon and Prior, and how various factors at the time affected the way they thought and behaved. We initially learn of Siegfried Sassoon when Rivers reads his declaration against the continuation of the war. This declaration led to Sassoon being labelled by the military authorities as being shell-shocked, a label which was meant to discredit his very honest and potentially dangerous views. An immediate impression the reader gets of Sassoon is that he is very determined, and even his best friend, Graves, is aware of the danger Sassoon is putting himself into in order to air his views publicly via a court martial. This sense of determinism is also present in Prior and his reluctance to discuss his experiences of war. Sassoon seems very eager to express his opinions and emotions and also appears somewhat fearless, whereas Prior is dead set on hiding his emotions as well as possible and in a way, denying the fact that he has an illness in his need to return to conflict despite his apparent fear of death. Sassoon objects only to the sheer horror of the war, is not a pacifist and does not have any religious reasons to oppose the idea of conflict, giving him a very realistic edge and suggesting that his opinions stem only from experience. Sassoon and Prior are similar in the sense that their attitudes towards war have both been influnced by their own experiences; in Prior’s case it is his experience of emotional abuse from
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