The Return of the Soldier

by

Rebecca West

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Shell-shock Term Analysis

The term shell-shock was coined during World War I to describe various psychological and physical effects resulting from shell bombardment on the battlefield. Such effects could include panic, tremors, nightmares, mental distress, visual and other sensory impairments, and even memory loss, as happens to Chris Baldry. Today, the term shell-shock has generally fallen out of use, as the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the preferred way of describing such symptoms.
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Shell-shock Term Timeline in The Return of the Soldier

The timeline below shows where the term Shell-shock appears in The Return of the Soldier. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Social Class, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Traumas of Modernity Theme Icon
...the accusatory way Kitty begins interrogating the woman. When Mrs. Grey says that Chris has “shell-shock,” Kitty doesn’t react. When she asks how Mrs. Grey knows all this, Mrs. Grey claims... (full context)
Social Class, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
...her there. Kitty continues to disbelieve Mrs. Grey, saying that the telegram mentions nothing about shell-shock. Mrs. Grey admits there was a letter as well, but then she rushes for the... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Nostalgia, Escapism, and Reality Theme Icon
The Traumas of Modernity Theme Icon
...by Frank Baldry, a clergyman cousin of Chris. He informs Jenny that Chris has suffered shell-shock and is in “a very strange state.” Chris had telegrammed Frank at Ollenshaws, a place... (full context)