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The War Within The War By Timothy Findley

2161 words - 9 pages

Austin Whitnell
Dragicevic, I.
ENG4U1-09
March 27th, 2014
The War within the War
The Struggles in life is something everyone is faced with whether it is physical, emotional mental or personal struggles. These struggles are capable of shaping an individual’s personality and outlook on life. Timothy Findley’s novel The Wars, shows that struggles lead to the character’s ultimate inner struggles, outer struggles and self-discovery. War exists in a person’s physical and psychological aspects. In The Wars, Robert Ross goes to war and fights a personal and physical battle.
In the novel The Wars, Robert Ross is a sensitive nineteen year old boy who experiences first-hand the horrors of battle as ...view middle of the document...

Part of you always stayed awake. Nobody dreams on a battle field. There isn't any sleep that long."
(Findley93)

Robert exclaimed this while laying near the trenches. During the night sounds of rifles firing were able to be heard. They are constantly subjected to the sound of war as well as its dangers. When the trench had been slightly damaged by the artillery fired, Levitt showed signs of anger. Robert observed Levitt saw that he was at an edge of craziness, and in his voice that sounded unstable. These young men changed as they experienced more of the war. Findley demonstrates how war greatly impacts a single persons mind and behaviour.

Findley accurately portrays the effects of war on human behaviour. Soldiers can be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life. It can be developed when a person is exposed to "a traumatic, stressful event". Military personnel just like Robert in war zones frequently have serious reactions to their traumatic war experiences. War brings many harmful changes to human behaviour that can lead to dangerous acts that affect one's physical and mental health. Furthermore, experiencing this leads to Robert’s inner struggles in coping with the war.

Robert’s mother Mrs. Ross has had an effect on Roberts’s mental state as well. To best understand Robert's relationship with his mother Mrs. Ross, one must look at their relationship from the perspective of Mrs. Ross. It is her interpretations and ensuing reactions to the tragic events of the novel that reveal the most to the reader about Robert's relationship with her.
Mrs. Ross is portrayed as an adamant women in the beginning of The Wars, however as the story progresses, her control is broken by various tragedies within the family. Robert's relationship with his mother prior to the death of his sister Rowena seems normal in the sense that Mrs. Ross shows her motherly concern for Robert when he was in need of support and Robert shows his mother the respect that she deserves. It is under the circumstances that Mrs. Ross' relationship with her son turns into a desperate struggle due to the death of her daughter Rowena and husband Thomas Ross.
After Rowena’s death the Ross family seems to be broken and frail. Robert had been closest to Rowena, and for this reason Mrs. Ross decided that he should be the person who would take responsibility of killing the rabbits. Mrs. Ross' decision to weigh down Robert with this cruel act, and failure to do so lead to Mrs. Ross telling Robert what she ultimately thinks of their mother-son relationship.
You think that Rowena belonged to you. Well I'm here to tell you, Robert, no one belongs to anyone. We're all strangers. You here that? Strangers. I know what you want to do. I...

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