"The Wars" By Timothy Findley Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

In the novel "The Wars", Timothy Findly suggests that as a person is tested in life, there response to compelling circumstances show the nature of their character, the innocence or brutality with in them. Robert Ross, is the main character in the novel and goes through many character testing events throughout. war inherently changes people and Robert is no exception.Rowena is Roberts handicapped older sister, she is a symbol of purity and innocence to Robert, and anchors him to kindness and compassion. Rowena is closely associated with the colour white, she is pictured with "white rabbits" and even at her funeral her "coffin [is] white'' in a blanket of snow. Roberts love for Rowena keeps him pure and focused and this is why he cares for her, Without Rowena Roberts life would have little direction, When Rowena dies, Robert is heartbroken, he feels responsible even tho his younger brother was to be watching her at the time. "She fell." Robert felt that if he wasn't "making love to his pillows" he would have been there to stop this and his sister, the only person he ever loved, would still be alive. After her death Robert is confused and feels he must join the army to fight in Europe in an attempt to help the world regain the innocence it lost with Rowenas death.The response to death tests the character of Robert throughout the novel; no more so than when he is the one who must kill. Robert is an innately kind person despite the fact he has had very few normal relationships. Everyone he has ever loved either can not return the sentiment or dies and leaves him alone in the world yet again. His first experience of lose is when his sister dies and he deals with this by going to war, and find what it is to be a man. This reaction is not unreasonable it just shows Robert is striving to be an outstanding citizen and deal with his loss. When Robert is on the boat to Europe, he is ordered to shoot a horse injured during a storm at sea. Robert is deeply conflicted, as an animal and nature lover, destroying something he cared for and attended to left him deeply torn. Roberts innocence is shown when he questions, "what ever it [is] you kill in wars," buy having to redder to "Chums" and an image of "a cowboy shooting a horse behind the ear" when it came time to kill the injured animal. Robert has no idea how to kill another living thing and it pained him to do so. Having to shoot the horse left him not only emotionally damaged, but physically as well, Robert injured his legs and had to be moved to the sick bay along with his good friend Harris. The already strong relationship between Harris and Robert only strengthened when they spent time in the Royal free Hospital. As Robert recovered Harris' only worsened, Robert continued to visit Harris, and began to love him like a brother, but Harris worsened and eventually passed, Robert grieved by spreading Harris' ashes in the water he spoke so fondly of. However, war changes Robert and he stops making level headed...

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