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The Marxist Journey In The Wars By Timothy Findley

2302 words - 10 pages

The Wars written by Timothy Findley shares a great relation to many of the ideas surrounding postmodern society, thus implementing many of the prominent ideas of the time around politics and societal norms into the plot of the story itself. Findley successfully depicts the plot of the novel taking place in the early 1900's; a time in which the western world was emerging from an industrial revolution, bringing radically foreign ideas on politics in the world, including the materialization of the Marxist political theory. The seemingly negative reception of the Marxist theory has denied it the right as a valid political view. One thing that cannot be denied is that a majority of the foundational ideas of the theory, describe basic human society and nature very accurately, which is something Findley explores in depth. The ideologies of power, class, and struggle are key factors in Marxism. These are the ideas that usually dictate; many of the actions that we make as people and in the journey's that we encounter in our lives. "Marxism attempts to reveal the ways in which our socioeconomic system is the ultimate source of our experience" (Tyson 277). The protagonist in The Wars ,Robert Ross, is an example of this experience. He is a young man from an elitist family that encounters these ideologies throughout his journey. The archetypal journey of Robert Ross in The Wars contains many elements of political theory from Marxism, showcased through the class system, the distinction between the oppressors and the oppressed, and the revolutionary actions that occur.
Robert Ross’ is introduced to characters with varying outlooks on the world, based on their own social and economic backgrounds. The soldiers around Robert Ross differ greatly, including in military rank: the privates, the commanders, and the lieutenants such as Ross himself. Military rank becomes an important part of the socioeconomic system in place during war among its participants, creating the normal division in society that is identified between the bourgeois and proletarians. The first identification of the division between classes occurs with Ross leaving Canada for England and the war. Ross makes his way to Europe for the war by way of boat. The boat is able to mirror the societal values of the capitalist system as we see class separations with the lower ranked soldiers treated much worse than the first class:
nothing had prepared them for the for the airless jamming of their quarters underdecks. The makeshift latrines and showers were virtually open forums where privacy was unheard of. Men unable to find a space at the trough like urinals simply turned aside and aimed at the bulkheads. Portholes were closed and locked against the cold. The air was blue with smoke and this plus the tremendous heat from the boilers drew off the oxygen (Findley 52).
They were stuck in close quarters without adequate living spaces. The conditions of these men were comparable to that of...

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