The Wars 2


The Wars 2 Essay, Research Paper

The Wars

Many people say that the metal of a man is found in his ability to keep his ideals in spite of anything that life can through at you. If a man is found to have done these things he can be called a hero. Through a lifelong need to accept responsibility for all living things, Robert Ross defines his heroism by keeping faith with his ideals despite the betrayal, despair and tragedy he suffers throughout the course of The Wars by Timothy Findley.

Many times throughout Robert s life, all those whom he thought were close to him, while he tried stick to his ideals, had betrayed him. When Robert lost Rowena, he felt that he had failed at his duty and he feels he must make up for it by joining the army. Expecting love and support from his parents, his mother verbally slaps him in the face. I know what you want to do. I know you want to go away and be a soldier. Well you can go to hell. I m just another stranger (p28). Captain Taffler also betrayed Robert, even though he didn t realize it. Robert set him up as a role model to emulate during the war, but once he found out that he was a homosexual, Robert s ideals of people he looks up to in war were crushed. He picked up a boot and held it in his hand. Its weight alarmed him and the texture of its leather skin appalled him with its human feel. He through the boot across the room and shattered the mirror (p45). Finally, Robert was betrayed by his own love for others. By keeping faith with his ideals, he left himself open to the emotional scarring that was caused by the loss of all his good friends. He was betrayed by his love for Rowena, his love for Harris, and also, his love for Rodwell.

Through despair, Robert forces himself to keep with his ideals, which shows just how strong his resolve is. When Robert was in despair, he took his mind off his problems by keeping himself busy. After losing Rowena, Robert decides to join the army to replace taking care of Rowena, by taking care of the human condition. Later when Robert loses Harris, he busies himself by performing the last rites over his good friend. This is not a military funeral. This is just a burial at sea. May we all remove our caps? (p107) Later when Robert is attacked in the bath house, he finds that he is still trying to protect Rowena. He does this by lighting her pictures on fire to remove her from this cruel world. Robert sat on the mutilated mattress and opened his kit bag. Everything was there including the picture of Rowena. Robert burned it in the middle of the floor. This was not an act of anger but an act of charity. (p172) These show that even through despair, Robert manages to stick to his ideals.

In the face of tragedy, Robert manages to hold true to his ideals. When Robert and his men where stuck in the hole, Robert manages to help him men escape. When he fears being attacked, he quickly shoots the German who is watching them. He would always live to regret this mistake. The sound of it would haunt him to the day he died. (p130) Not long after that, when Robert tries to free the horses, he gets caught in a burning barn. Finally as they manage to get Robert out of the barn, half burned, he still cares more for the sake of the animals over his own. Robert was herd to say with great clarity: The dog. The dog. And then he lost consciousness. (p185) Even in the face of death, and the tragic outcome of his fate with the horses, when he is offered a way out of life and suffering, he refuses to take it when it is offered by Marian Turner. I will help you if you want me to. And I knew he understood because he said: Not yet. (p190)

Through out his life Robert faces many trials and tribulations faced in betrayal, despair and tragedy. Even through all this adversary, he still manages to stick to his ideals strongly, which in turn makes him a hero.

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