Timothy Findley


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does anyone know of some major symbols and imagry in "Pilgrim"?

>>By pilgrimbio   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

Does anyone know the symbolism of the red moon rising in The Wars?

>>By Lisa   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

the red moon rising symbolizes fire. It's a foreshadow of what is going to happen to Robert.

>>By lou   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

I need to know the importance of the animals in "not wanted on the voyage." Can anybody tell me where to look?

>>By jill   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

HEy, can anybody send me a preview of the book the telling of lies?

>>By Paula   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

the answer to all the questions of our world will never be truthfully answered so why even try!!

>>By smashing   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

Do you know where can I get an essay or something related to T. F.'s Pilgrim? I am doing a work on this book...

>>By J. C.   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

does anyone know anything about the wars...im screwed for my report

>>By sporky   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

anyone know anything about the Piano Man's Daughter? i have an oral essay to write!

>>By a_KiSs-L   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

Charlie is trying to decide whether he wants to have kids or not because if his mom has epilepsy then he's afraid of passing it on to his own children.

>>By kat   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

i need some help on the wars and the symbolism of earth, air, fire and water. if anyone has any ideas i'd appreciate the help. please email me at foxy_dee3@hotmail.com. i have a few things so far if anyone needs some info...

EARTH - "The mud. There are no good similies. Mud must be a Flemish word. Mud was invented here. Mudland might have been its name. The ground is the colour of steel. Over most of the plain there isn't a trace of topsoil: only sand and clay." (p.76)

AIR - the air is tainted with the smell and taste of gas

FIRE - Its effect on Ross is the destruction of his control over his own life and his independence, which is then replaced by fear and helplessness. All he hears and all that surrounds him is war. Along with mentally destroying him, fire destroys him phyisically. After he is severely burnt, he is forced to rely on other people to help him, which results in a loss of the independence he valued so highly.

WATER - Ross almost drowns in the dike

>>By foxy_dee   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

The comments on this page are a true reflection of the quality of students we are expected to educate. Take time to read Findley and you may even learn some new vocabulary!!!

>>By teacher   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

Findley is able to intertwine the story of Timothy's story with the story of a war. He manages to make the story about Robert Ross - a soldier... not about the war. One of the reasons that this work is considered a masterpiece is, Findley managed to write a story that can be related to any time, any person, any "war". He allows you to use your imagination and own personal experiences to add to his story - making it more realistic for you, the reader. It is not definitive.

>>By *****   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

his novel are amazing...you people should read the Wars, may be that would open up your eyes

>>By a.k   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

The context of the book is amazing, it reveals the traumas that soldiers had to endure. As for the immature lil "cock suckers" maybe if you actually read the book, or any book for that matter, your vocabulary wouldn't consist of such words.

>>By lil' K   (Tuesday, 4 Feb 2003 02:30)

I noticed a lot of comments on this page about why people dont like "The Wars". Mainly because of the "gay scenes". This is not a book that we should be forced to read. No one should be forced to read any book or play, unless they want to. Half the point of reading is enjoying the book at the same time, but when reading is forced upon you, fun is non-existent. I personally dont like the book, but a lot of people do, and i understand their reasons. And to all you people that want help, READ THE BOOK! the sooner you get it over with, the sooner u wont have to ever read it again!

>>By m-dotter   (Friday, 14 Feb 2003 01:48)

Regarding "The Wars:"
Does anyone know the significance of the epigraph, in relation to the story?
It reads: "In such dangerous things as war the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst."

>>By E 1   (Friday, 14 Feb 2003 17:07)

My grade 11 class is working on The Wars, and I swear we are delving farther into the book then humanly possible. :) However, it is definately worth it, because this book is truly amazing.

To get to the point though, I am writing an essay on how Robert Ross exemplifies and defies the characteristics of a hero. Charming topic, I know. :) However, I need outside sources, and it is the hardest thing to find literary criticism on this topic in particular. Any help with books or websites would be greatly appreciated. Also, personal opinions are welcome.

I was thinking of relating Robert Ross to other questionnable heroes, like........ William Wallace, Beowulf and Sir Gawain... sound good? :)


>>By Taz   (Tuesday, 18 Feb 2003 19:06)

The Piano Man's Daughter it a very interesting book. Does anyone know the symbolism of fire in this book?

>>By cloudedleopard   (Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 23:45)

I've been reading the book "The Wars", and I've noticed there have been many memories from his past portrayed in the novel. I know there is a common theme between his dreams and memories, but I can't seem to figure out what it is.

>>By Marshall   (Thursday, 27 Feb 2003 16:25)

Very intense book, there is much symbolism which highlights the the themes, he also uses the relationships between the the secondary themes to highlight the themes of the novel, by reading the book twice you can maybe catch onto things you didnt before. Every time TF refers to nature there is an element of symbolism..If you recognize some important themes please give us some insight!

>>By Nadya   (Tuesday, 4 Mar 2003 19:14)

does any one know any really great web sites that will give me a synopsis of the major events in the Piano man's daughter? and is hter a movie? well...i know there is a movie, but i think it was a TV moive....has anyone seen it?

>>By Shivani   (Monday, 17 Mar 2003 05:35)

I think that Timothy Findley is an exceptional writer!!! The development of the characters and the realism that his story brings allows one to truely capture the affects of war. The man has done his reaserch!!!

>>By zee   (Sunday, 23 Mar 2003 04:30)

I think that Timothy Findley really screwed a lot of us over by writing The Wars. If he never wrote this book none of us would be here complaining about it.

>>By Caloubanation   (Saturday, 19 Apr 2003 14:38)

Good frickin point...I like how Caloubanation thinks

>>By GWÆ_Houston   (Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 01:01)

Themes in The Wars:
-Fire- symbolizes the distress of war and all of its destruction
-Birds- warn Robert of danger
-Rabbits- symbolize Rowena and innocence

>>By Hammurabi   (Monday, 28 Apr 2003 00:59)

The great destruction WAR brings to Us .

>>By mano   (Monday, 28 Apr 2003 17:52)

I searched the Net and this is what I found about The Wars. I am in the middle of writing an essay about this book; how the choices we make defines who we are. Specifically how Robert's choice of going to war defines who HE is. Anyway - u can get back to me if u wish: ebony_topaz@yahoo.ca. PEACE.

The Structure of The Wars
The time sequence in this novel varies in that it tends to jump from one person's opinion of Robert's situation to another. Otherwise the novel would be much too depressing to read. The author switches from a war scene to a lighter subject in order to grasp the reader's attention and keep the novel interesting. It is not a story of orderly sequenced events but a story of action. It discusses what is happening as it happens.
The pieces of the "puzzle" come from the different characters' opinions of a particular situation. The story is continuous but each character explains the particular event from his/her point of view.
The novel begins in the same manner as it ends. However, the ending is more detailed. As the characters give their personal view of Robert, more is learned about him. For example Juliette explains her feelings towards Robert's temper: "His temper, you know, was terrible. Once when he thought he was alone and unobserved I saw him firing his gun in the woods at a young tree. It was a sight I'd rather not have seen. He destroyed it absolutely." We feel the author does this in order to keep the novel interesting to the reader. His technique works well in keeping the novel pleasing to the reader.
PAGE Reference to literature, etc. Description
12 & 164-5 "Keep Your Head Down Fritzey Boy" Song: "Fritzey Boy" refers to a German soldier.
12 "Tea-Dance partners do the Castlewalk to orchestras of brass cornets and silver saxophones" A Dance most popular in the early 1900's.
33 "Clifford also knew an obscene version of 'Oh, Susannah!', which he sang in a high, clear tenor with exactly the same pitch of intensity he'd just applied to the Old kml;Hundredth." 'Oh, Susannah!' is a song sung by young children.
72 "On the outskirts of town there was an asylum for the mad- (Van Gogh had been one of its patients)." Van Gogh painted many impressionistic pieces, which included many natural settings, flowers, and portraits.
86 "It contained a panel of stained glass." These fragments were from a church, and were mainly religious pieces.
Findley's research included reading letters from his uncle who was in the war. His uncle mentions a dugout with a stain glass door.
45 "Taffler had long since gone and the rumour was he'd been returned to France, although his picture appeared in the Canadian Illustrated..." Canadian Illustrated was a Canadian magazine
35 "Clifford sang. 'Bring me, oh bring me a cup of cold water, and cool my temple...'" This is a song
56 "Any storms that troubled it got there by way of Joseph Conrad and the Boys' Own Annual." Joseph Conrad:
Jòzef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowsi(1857-1924). A Polish writer who joined the British Merchant Navy in 1886.
57 "...four blond men stood up and sang and thumped the entire score from Pinafore."
Opera that opened in the late 1800's. Written by Gilbert and Sullivan.
65 "...he remembered that somewhere in Chums-as a boy-he'd see a picture of a cowboy shooting his horse behind the ear." This painting represents the only horror Robert has ever actually faced. It shows his inexperience.
69 "He read her Huckleberry Finn." Huckleberry Finn was a classic, and was read often during those times.
89-90 "...by quoting Clausewitz as follows: 'Clausewitz says the true basis of combat is man to man. He says for that reason an absurdity...'" The horror of combat is being pushed to the background by Clausewitz, as man to man combat is truly a horrific thing.
92 "That way, he says, the whole war can be carried out as a serious, formal minuet..." The description of war as a thing of beauty is a common method of glorifying the horror.
141 "Oh! I had bits of Montervedi-Mozart-Bach all jumbled up." Montervedi, Claudio Giovanni Antonio (1567-1643) Italian Composer.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-91) Austrian composer.
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) German Composer.
155 "...said it sounded like the chorus from the Trojan Women." A musical written by Michalis Cacoyannis.
162-3 "A gramophone began to wobble out a song. 'Lil-Lil- Picadilly Lil-sitting on the hill-spooning with her honey-on a bright and sunny afternoon...'" A gramophone was used to listen to recorded music before the invention of CD's.
Findley's The Wars is full of references to art and literature. By doing this, Findley has contrasted the beauty of art with the brutality of war.
The theme of fire in the novel The Wars, by Timothy Findley, conveys a feeling of pain and emotional distress. Here are several examples which support this theory (quotations are from the Penguin edition of The Wars [1983]):
1. Page 18..."Robert looked to one side from under the peak of his cap, hoping that no one had seen him flinch from the steam or stepping back from the fire. He was wishing that they would leave. His shoulders hurt. His arm was sore. There were bruises on his back. He ached. He wanted all the others who had got off the train to depart the station before him." This simply conveys the physical and mental pain which Robert experiences.
2. Page 26..."For a moment she stood there, holding her hands in tight against her body as if for some reason Robert might take these possessions away from her. The glass and the cigarette were perhaps some sort of tangible evidence she was alive." Of course, the reference to fire was in the form of the cigarette. This emotional distress shown by Robert's mother is a result of her finding out that Rowena was dead, and that she did not know how to cope effectively with the situation.
3. Page 46..."and he stood and he stared as he passed the fires of his father's factories, every furnace blasting red in the night...What were all these fires - and where did his father and his mother sleep beneath the pall of smoke reflecting orange and yellow flames?" This reflects Robert's distress about the immense destruction that occurred during World War I..
4. Page 65..."The air in front of him was filled with little fires but the horse was not dead." This shows the intense emotional distress that Robert experienced when he had to slaughter the horse but did not want to.
5. Page 66..."Shall I light us a lantern, sir? Said Regis. 'No,' said Robert. 'Not for a moment anyway.'" This exchange over the lantern occurs just after Robert kills the horse, and he does not want to observe the deed that he has just committed.
6) page 108..."At exactly 4 am on the morning of the 28th, the Germans set off a string of land mines ranged along the St. Eloi Salient. One of these blew up the trenches five hundred yards directly in front of the stained glass dugout. The blowing of the mines was a signal for the artillery to start firing and the whole countryside seemed to jump into flames...In it, 30,000 men would die and not an inch of ground would be won." This quotation illustrates the power that the opposition had, and how it would try anything to win the war, even if it meant taking the lives of those they were fighting and those that they were not actually in combat with. It also illustrates the desperation to win the war, even if it meant inch by inch, little by little. This is also illustrated on page 132 - "Fire storms raged along the front. Men were exploded where they stood - blown apart by the combustion." As well, page 173 - "There was so much screaming and so much roaring of fires that Robert couldn't hear the planes when they returned or the next string of bombs when they fell." Finally, pages 185-186: "The roof...went up in seconds like a tinder box. Within less than a minute of the fire being set, the rear portion of the roof fell into the barn...onto the backs of horses...Robert began shouting 'I can't! I can't! I can't!' and by the time Mickle realised that this meant "I can't open the doors," it was too late....There were flames all around them and his (Robert's) clothes were on fire....The dog was never found." This symbolises that Robert was more interested in life than death and would help someone/something if he could, but he had to learn this by serving in the war, living in a life with deadly risks and few second chances.
The following additional material was submitted by Candace Robicheau who was unable to attend all of the group meetings. In the class discussion of this topic, it emerged that Ms Robicheau had views that were somewhat different from those of others in the group. For this reason, some of her suggestions are recorded separately below in my opinion, the theme of fire has to do with devastation , both mental and physical. There are numerous examples of this in the novel (Candace Robicheau).
pg. 28- After a long silence Mrs. Ross dropped the cigarette and used her toe to squash it out- grinding and twisting it until it was just a mess of juice and paper, torn beyond recognition.
In this quotation the cigarette that Robert's mother is butting out seems to represent the tragedy of death that will occur later on in the novel when Robert joins the army and witnesses the dismembered bodies of his fellow troops that were blown up in the battle field.
pg. 45-6- ..., frozen fingers of nameless rivers, heralded by steam and whirling snow, the train returned him to his heritage of farms...
The steam from the train could signify the anger that was built up inside of the soldiers after witnessing the death of some of their fellow troops and then having to leave their corpses unburied, while they moved on in hopes of winning the war.
pg. 46- ...- and he (Robert) stood and he stared as he passed the fires of his father's factories, every furnace blasting red in the night...- and where did his father and his mother sleep beneath the pall of smoke reflecting orange and yellow flames?
This quotation refers to the destruction of buildings and homes while the Great War was happening and how thousands of innocent lives were taken by the opposition. It is also in reference to the worries that the soldiers had, such as whether or not they would return home alive and whether or not their families and friends were safe and well.
pg. 54- She (Robert's mother) treated the cigarette like something she'd found and looked at it much to day: whatever made me think that this was mine?- and threw it away.
This quote seems to illustrate the emotional problems that Mrs. Ross faced when Robert left for the army- she feared for his safety and well-being and so, she seemed to be ill-at-ease because instead of losing one child, the future may hold that she would in fact lose two- Rowena and Robert, whose chances for surviving the war are slim.
pg. 55- She treated the cigarette like something she'd found and looked at it much to say: whatever made me think that this was mine?- and threw it away.
The cigarette refers to Rowena who is now dead and Robert who is fighting in the war and may not return home safely. It also refers to Mrs. Ross's sadness towards the death of her daughter and the fact that she dislikes Robert being in the army.
pg. 72- Houses, trees and fields of flax once flourished here. Summers had been blue with flowers. Now it was a shallow sea of stinking gray from end to end. And this is where you fought the war.
This symbolizes, again, how thousands of innocent lives were taken, and how areas were forced to meet the fate of destruction, due to the war, and had as yet been unable to fix things back to what they were. The destruction of the buildings seems also to be in reference to the sadness and disturbed thoughts that people have when family and friends are in battle for the rights of their homeland.
pg. 82- On the far side he could see that the men and the wagons and the rest of the convoy were drawn up near fires and he just kept thinking: warm, I am going to be warm.
This seems to refer to the desperation that Robert and the rest of the troops have in order to remain alive.
pg. 178- The barns were a heap of burning rubble. So was the Signals Office. In the center of the yard, there was just a smoking hole.
The smoking hole may be a symbol of the thousands of people that were killed during the war. This quotation also refers to the destruction which occurred and how the enemy was ruthless enough to destroy any of its opposition, let alone anything that stood in its path, so that they could take over the country. This is also illustrated on pg. 180- The earth had baked beneath their feet....
HORSE, page nine à Without this horse standing on the tracks Robert never would have noticed the other horses in the train car.
DOG page nine à The dog was burying his head to protect his ears from the loud noise. The dog was also a companion for the horse.
CATTLE CARS page nine à The cattle cars are the place where the horses were being held when the fire broke out.
HORSES page ten à The horses that were stuck in the cattle car were obviously well groomed and maintained.
DOG page ten à The dog was a companion for Robert while rescuing the horses.
HORSES page ten à Rescuing of the horses left Robert and the horses as a legend.
DOGS page eleven à This reference was a violent, vicious look on dogs.
RABBITS page eleven à Rabbits were mentioned here as innocent and were the companions of Rowena till the end.
DOGS page eleven àThe dogs were represented as a nice family scene.
HORSES page eleven à The horses were represented as a nice family scene.
FOXTAIL page twelve à The foxtail was a sign of people overpowering the animals.
FURS page twelve à Furs were a fashion accessory.
HORSES page twelve à This reference for horses was showing the use of transportation and pulling the wagons.
PONY page fourteen à This pony is dressed in patriotic clothing which is a symbol for the war to come. Some of the soldiers are angry and others are frightened but you cannot tell which by looking at them.
RABBITS page fifteen àThe rabbits are a symbol of Rowena and her innocence.
DOG page fifteen àThe dog is a part of the family, a part of Robert's life.
HORSES page sixteen àThe horses are mentioned here again as the "legend"
HORSE page eighteen àThe fire horse was used as a reference to how the horse was used as transportation.
DOG page twenty àThis dog is one of the last things that Robert leaves to join the war. The color white of the dog is symbolic for innocence and nobility. Robert is innocent for he has no idea what he is getting himself into.
RABBITS page twenty à The rabbits are symbolic for Rowena after death.
DOG page twenty à This dog is seen as being lost. The appearance of this animal is describing how Robert feels.
PONY page twenty-one à The pony distracted Stuart from watching Rowena which led to her death. Remembering that Meggy is symbolic for patriotism is why Robert joined the war: to fight what killed his dear sister Rowena.
RABBITS page twenty-two à The rabbits are symbolic for Rowena.
PONY page twenty-two
Another reference to Stuart playing with the pony and not watching Rowena which led to her death.
RABBITS page twenty-three
The rabbits need to be killed because the innocence of the family is gone. Robert is chosen by the family to kill the rabbits against his will. By killing the rabbits it will help him get over the guilt that he feels about his sister's death.
RAM page twenty-five
This is showing how Robert is growing stronger.
RABBITS page twenty-five
The rabbits are symbolic for Rowena and how unfair it is that the rabbits are alive and she is not.
HORSES page twenty-eight
The horses were used for training in the military.
COYOTE page twenty-nine
The coyote is a dangerous animal and Robert runs with it despite the element of danger.
SQUIRRELS page thirty
The squirrel is food for a coyote.
RABBITS page thirty
The coyote preys on small animals and the rabbit and squirrel are small shows innocence.
COYOTE page thirty
A coyote is a wild animal.
GOPHERS page thirty
The gophers appeared to be insignificant.
OWLS page thirty
The owl was a food for the coyote.
COYOTE page thirty-one
We see a gentle side of the coyote.
PONY page thirty-one
Again we see a patriotic part of the pony. Monotonous work being done by countries.
INSECT page thirty-two
The coyote snapped at the passing insect, it was a nuisance.
DOG page thirty-two
We see this wild beast as if it were a kind, gentle pet.
COYOTE page thirty-two
The coyote notices Robert and wags its tail. We see the kind part of this wild animal yet again.
HORSES page thirty-two
Through the horses Robert meets Eugene Taffler and the two become friends.
HORSES page thirty-three
The horses are being brought in to be trained for the war.
DOG page thirty-three
The dog is symbolic for the enemy, the dog catches their smell and begins to sound vicious.
HORSE page thirty-four
The horses escaped and it was Robert's job to gather them and bring them back, when in fact Robert himself wanted to escape.
DOG page thirty-five
The dog is symbolic for companionship.
RATTLESNAKES page thirty-five
The snake is symbolic for evil.
HORSE page thirty-five
The horse here is used as transportation.
FOX page thirty-five
Robert got the feeling that he was chasing something and in this case it is a fox, which is known to be a fast animal.
COYOTE page thirty-five
The coyote hollowing reminds us that it is indeed a wild animal. Robert has a wild edge in him.
HORSES page thirty-six
The horses are seen as transportation.
DOGS page thirty-eight
Dogs are seen as companions.
HORSE page thirty-eight
The horse was seen as a companion here.
HORSE page forty-four
At this part of the novel Robert and a few other soldiers visited a whore house. The animals were used for symbolism for sexual positions.
HORSE page forty-six
The horse was used here as transportation and was also used to show how cold it was on that day.
CATTLE page forty-six
The cows were still out despite it being night.
DOG page forty-six
The dog was used here as a distraction to show how not all animals are asleep at night.
BIRDS page forty-seven
The birds are seen here as a symbol of hope. There is a rumor that the troops will be sent home early.
HORSE page forty-eight
The horse was used as a happy animal, to tell Robert a story and take his mind off of the pain. This was a bonding time for Robert and his father.
HORSES page fifty
The horses are symbolic here for how the soldiers feel as they are being loaded on the ship.
SQUIRRELL page fifty-four
The squirrel is used as a fashion accessory at this point when Mrs. Ross is upset about her son being off to war. This shows the power of humans over animals.
SHEEP page fifty-five
The sheep here is a religious animal belonging to the flock of the Lord. In a symbolic sense Mrs. Ross is thinking of her son being a sheep in the flock of the army.
HORSE page fifty-seven
The horses here were used as an escape from the troubles that were going on deck with the soldiers trip over to Europe to fight in the war.
HORSE page fifty-nine
The horses on the ship were kept in a confined area. Robert at this time became in charge of the well being of the horses.
HORSE page sixty
The horses smelled and no man wanted to get close to them. This led to the horses not getting taken care of in the way that they needed to.
MEN and ANIMALS page sixty
It is in disgrace to the men that they are transported on the same boat as animals. This shows that the men feel that they are more powerful then the animals.
FLIES page sixty
Despite their size the flies can be a nuisance to the horses.
RATS page sixty
Although the rat is small, they were a nuisance for the men needing to hide hay from the rats.
HORSES page sixty-one
The horses were in a sense a nuisance for the soldiers. They carry diseases and not many soldiers came in contact with the animals although they needed to have more contact to take care of the animals. The horses were not given the care that they needed.
SPIDER page sixty-one
The spider here was symbolic for being care free.
HORSES page sixty-two
Again Robert is faced with the responsibility to shot an animal against his will.
RATS page sixty-two
The rats allow us to get in the mind of Robert. Although rats are seen as annoying creatures, Robert does not want to take the life of anything and leaves us feeling the fear he feels.
HORSES page sixty-three
This part in the novel describes how crammed the horses are in their stalls. This explains why the horse broke his leg. On deck the soldiers were crammed in the same manner.
RATS page sixty-three
The rats (as noted above)were surrounding Robert's feet as he was preparing to shoot the horse.
HORSE page sixty-four
The horse was fallen and looks at Robert. Robert begins to think about the dilemma of killing someone or something.
HORSE page sixty-five
This reference to the horse shows how hard it was for Robert to kill someone.
RATTLESNAKES page sixty-five
Snakes are symbolic for evil. Robert feels evil for killing the horse.
HORSES page sixty-six
The other horses begin to be upset from the sound of the gun of the injured horse dying. One person is almost trampled from the uproar.
HORSES page sixty-seven
The boat arrives in Europe and describes the work the horses need to do to make it to shore.
HORSES page sixty-eight
The horses were a rare sight at this time in Europe. People came out of their homes to see the animals. This brought joy to the people.
HORSES page seventy-one
The horses and men are on their way to the battle field. The roads are washed out describing weather conditions in France. One out of every five horses has a rider, implying that they are on the way to meet more soldiers.
BARN page seventy-two
Soldiers would sleep in any place along their travels. A barn was the ideal place for the heat of the animals would keep them warm for the night.
COWS page seventy-three
The cows are used here so that we meet the farmer. He was a French man who was angry that Robert was
HORSE page seventy-three
The horse is used as transportation here.
HORSES page seventy-four
The horse is used as transportation here.
HORSES page seventy-five
The horse is used as transportation here.
BIRDS page seventy-five
The birds leave a feeling of shock to Robert and the other soldiers. They are surprised that the birds survived the attacks. The birds are not seen and it is unclear what type of bird it is.
DUCKS page seventy-five
The birds are thought to be ducks because it is obvious that the birds are in a flock, and ducks travel in flocks.
HORSE page seventy-six
The horse is used as transportation here.
BIRDS page seventy-six
The birds flew away and left the soldiers feeling empty, for the birds were companions. The birds came back and the sound of their wings made him think of happy moments from his childhood.
HORSES page seventy-seven
Horses were used as transportation. As well the horses didn't want to stay put for the birds alarmed them. This is symbolic for the soldiers didn't want to stand still either. The horse is necessary to be at this part of the land, shows also soldiers with horses have power.
BIRDS page seventy-seven
Birds are mentioned to pass the time with thinking about the types of birds and not about the danger of the situation.
STORKS page seventy-seven
Storks were the only bird that one of the soldiers could remember. This could be due to the fact that storks are related to birth and the soldier wanted to be re-born to be out of the situation of war.
DUCKS page seventy-seven
Ducks are mentioned because they fly in flocks and the soldiers are still not close enough to know anything about the birds except they are in a flock.
HORSE page seventy-eight
The soldier and horse were soaked from falling through the dike.
BIRDS page seventy-eight
Robert heard noises but realized it was only the birds and not an enemy.
HORSES page seventy-nine
The horse's instinct was trusted more than man's for the horse is sensitive to footing. The horse is trusted for traveling.
BIRDS page seventy-nine
The bird cut in front of the horse and startled him. This shows that small creatures can startle large, can be symbolic for battalions.
BIRDS page eighty-one
The birds were clustered around bones.
CROWS page eighty-one
The birds were crows, which are similar to vultures. The crows were following the war for death as they are scavengers.
HORSES page eighty-one

The horse is used as transportation.
HORSES page eighty-two
We see that although the horse is a large animal it still finds it difficult to travel through the land.
HORSES page eighty-three
There are many horses and wagons present. This gives the reader the image of just how many men must be there compared to the horses.
CROWS page eighty-three
The crows are following the men and horses for they can tell that there will be deaths and food for them.
FARMHOUSE page eighty-three
We see that many homes have been destroyed by the war.
STABLE page eighty-four
The soldiers were responsible for cleaning the stables from the mess of the animals.
FARM page eighty-four
The enemy would pass over the area where the soldiers where staying.
LAMB page eighty-six
The lamb is a gentle animal, often used to describe personality.
DONKEY page eighty-six
The donkey is used to talk about an Egyptian God, brings on religion.
BUTTERFLY page eighty-seven
The butterfly is represented as a beautiful creature but is ugly and grotesque in the story.
SHEEP page eighty-seven
The sheep shows the fragile side of the soldiers.
TOAD page eighty-seven
The toad was one of the animals that Rodwell rescues. Although the toad is an ugly animal, he sees the importance of nursing it back to health.
BIRDS page eighty-eight
Birds were some of the animals that Rodwell took care of to bring back to health.
RABBITS page eighty-eight
Rabbits are also some of the animals that Rodwell is taking care of, makes Robert think of Rowena.
HEDGEHOGS page eighty-eight
The hedgehog was an animal that Rodwell was nursing back to health.
SALMON page eighty-eight
Salmon was a luxury food for the soldiers to eat.
CHICKEN page eighty-eight
Chicken was a luxury food for the soldiers to eat.
TOAD page eighty-nine
We see the sensitivity of the toad by looking at his eyes. Even though the animal is ugly and harsh it has a gentle side.
CHICKEN page eighty-nine
Chicken is a luxury food that the soldiers eat.
HORSES page ninety
The horses bring Rodwell to say "Any man whose love of horses is stronger then his fear of being an absurdity is all right with me."
HEDGEHOG page ninety
A pun is made in regards to the hedgehog, allows people to laugh through a hard time.
BIRD page ninety
The bird is mentioned to try to give another laugh to the soldiers.
TOAD page ninety
Shows that the bird, hedgehog and toad although very different stuck together when they were in need. These soldiers although very different will stick together.
TOAD page ninety-one
The toad is to be a character in a children's story. Despite being in a dangerous situation Rodwell is doing things he loves to keep him happy.
TOAD page ninety-two
It is said that Rodwell and the toad are similar. We sense the bond between the two not so attractive things.
TOAD page ninety-three
The toad is unable to sleep because of the battle and we see that the animal and the soldiers are disturbed by the same thing.
MONKEY page ninety-three
Robert was holding on for dear life to the bed and the motion was similar to the holding of a monkey's toe to a tree.
BIRD page ninety-three
Robert was holding on for dear life to the bed and the motion was similar to the holding of a bird's claw to a branch.
SEAL page ninety-five
The seal is a playful animal and it makes the soldiers remember their years before the war.
MACKEREL page ninety-five
Harris got lost in a school of mackerel, this is symbolic for the soldiers feel that they are lost in the army.
HORSES page ninety-six
Harris compares seaweed to a horse's tail and was scared he was going to die. Now the soldier has a hidden fear that he will die now in the war, with the horse at his side.
GIRAFFE page one hundred one
The giraffe is symbolizing the size of a son of a duke. This size being enormously tall.
BIRDS page one hundred five
This is talking about how it remembers the god times. Reflecting upon the past.
WHALES page one hundred five
FISH page one hundred five
FROGS page one hundred five
BIRDS page one hundred five
HORSES page one hundred six
RABBIT page one hundred nine
This represents one of the companions which Robert makes on the battlefield.
HEDGEHOG page one hundred nine
This represents one of the companions which Robert makes on the battlefield.
BIRD page one hundred nine
This represents one of the companions which Robert makes on the battlefield.
BIRD page one hundred eleven
This symbolized the last minute thinking on the side of Robert.
RABBIT page one hundred eleven
Rowena always looked up to Robert. He was her sole keeper. This represent in
HEDGEHOG page one hundred eleven
The actions resembled the moment at the time, how everybody was terrified.
FARMHOUSE page one hundred fifteen
It is a place in which they value. Therefore they want nothing to happen to it and will protect in any way.

HORSE-RAILWAY page one hundred fifteen
The men were as animals traveling on the same path.
BIRD page one hundred twenty two
This refers to rejoicing, when the Germans were going to attack
FROG page one hundred twenty three
The color of the frog, being pale, represents the color of the piece of clothing in which his mother might have worn.
BIRD page one hundred twenty seven
This shows the rejoicing. The birds were singing merrily as Robert rejoice.
WOLVES page one hundred twenty seven
The way in which wolves howl and bark resembles the same way Indians do to.
OWLS page one hundred twenty seven
The Indians hooted in the same manner as owls.
CATS page one hundred twenty seven
Robbers resembles the animation of a cat in the way they meow.
BIRD page one hundred twenty eight
BIRD page one hundred thirty-one
The bird singing depicts how Robert is feeling
RABBIT page one hundred thirty-three
HEDGEHOG page one hundred thirty-three
BIRD page one hundred thirty-three
TOAD page one hundred thirty-three
TOAD page one hundred thirty-four
Rodwell had bonded with the toad. He had taken care of it and wanted the toad to keep living (Rodwell later kills himself).
MICE page one hundred thirty-four
Rodwell can't understand the soldiers hatered for the mice and rats. He doesn't realize how much the soldiers abhor living with the mice and rats.
RATS page one hundred thirty-four
Soldiers detest the rats and mice.
TOAD page one hundred thirty-eight
Toad is described as "sentimental nuance, plain, grumpy..." See how much Rodwell liked the animals, perhaps the toad depicts Rodwell's mien.
BIRDS page one hundred thirty-eight
Rodwell sketched only animals.
MICE page one hundred thirty-eight
More sketches of animals.
RABBIT page one hundred thirty-eight
These sketches show how much Rodwell enjoyed animals.
HEDGEHOG page one hundred thirty-eight
Perhaps he preferred their company to humans.
TOADS page one hundred thirty-eight
More sketches, most are of toads. He seems to have a special attachment to toads.
FROG page one hundred thirty-eight
More sketches.
INSECTS page one hundred thirty-eight
More sketches
COWS page one hundred forty
The cows in the field help portray the spring season.
GEESE page one hundred forty
Part of the spring season. The geese are oblivious to the turmoil going on around them.
TOADS page one hundred forty-five
"Sketches of toads and things." This reinforces that the toads are dominant in Rodwell's sketch book.
RABBIT page one hundred forty-five
Another sketch
MOUSE page one hundred forty-five
Another sketch
FOXES page one hundred fifty
HORSES page one hundred fifty-three
Robert is running with the horses, this may allow him to release some frustrations (his leg injury etc.)
RABBITS page one hundred fifty-eight
DOG page one hundred sixty
White dog, purity, innocence. A white dog had left before Robert had for war, now another white dog has found Robert.
DOG page one hundred sixty-one
Robert leaves the dog. It served as temporary companionship.
HORSES page one hundred sixty-two
HORSES page one hundred sixty-three
HORSES page one hundred sixty-four
Soldiers are singing and drowning out the sounds of the horses. This may be an attempt to ease the pain and destruction of the war, the horses are a part of the war.
DUCKS page one hundred sixty-five
A sign that there is still life despite the war going on around them.
BLACKBIRDS page one hundred seventy-two
Their color may represent the color of evil, the evil of war.
BIRDS page one hundred seventy-three
The lack of the birds in this scene indicates that something is out of order, it makes Robert suspicious and astute.
RABBIT page one hundred seventy-three
The rabbit is innocent and does not suspect that anything is wrong.
HORSE page one hundred seventy-three
The horses begin to rear and Robert is thrown; the explosion has scared the horses.
MULES page one hundred seventy-three
The running around of the mules and horses shows how chaotic the explosion has made everything.
HORSES page one hundred seventy-four
Horse walking in circles shows that it is still rattled from what has just happened.
MULES page one hundred seventy-four
Animals begin to calm down and recover from the explosion.
HORSE page one hundred seventy-five
The war is beginning to take its toll on soldiers and horses.
HORSE page one hundred seventy-six
Horse is aware of the dead body, perhaps the horses never become immune or used to the death around them as the soldiers have.
MULES and HORSES page one hundred seventy-six
Robert wants to save the horses and mules from the danger he feels they are in. Robert may feel they are the only things left for him to protect.
HORSES page one hundred seventy-seven
Disobeying orders, Robert releases the horses. Is he trying to save the horses for them or himself?
MULES page one hundred seventy-seven
He releases the mules along with the horses.
HORSES page one hundred seventy-eight
The horses are frightened and begin running back into the burning barn. Robert silently encourages the horses to keep going.
HORSES page one hundred seventy-eight
The horses are dying despite Robert's attempt to save them. This may make Robert feel like feel helpless (he wasn't able to save his sister either).
MULES page one hundred seventy-eight
Same situation
HORSES and MULES page one hundred seventy-eighty
Robert has to kill the horses and mules just as he had to kill Rowena's rabbits.
HORSES page one hundred eighty
The horses have become a part of the war, along with the soldiers and machinery.
MUELS and HORSES page one hundred eighty
HORSE page one hundred eighty-two
Horse seems to be waiting for Robert.
DOG page one hundred eighty-two
Companionship for Robert. Dog is black which could symbolize danger near by.
HORSE page one hundred eighty-two
Seems the horse has been well taken care of.
HORSES page one hundred eighty-three
Robert empties the cars and proceeds to leave with over 100 horses.
DOG page one hundred eighty-three
Dog travels with Robert, a companion.
HORSES page one hundred eighty-four
The act of leaving with the horses is the beginning of the many interpretations of what Robert did.
DOG page one hundred eighty-five
Dog gives an alert signal to the danger they are surrounded by.
HORSES page one hundred eighty-six
Robert attempts to save a group of horses again, but fails.
DOG page one hundred eighty-six
The dog is killed in the fire and is never found.
CAT page one hundred eighty-seven
A white cat sits on the hospital steps, Robert is not expected to live long and this cat may be a sign that Robert will die with some peace from having tried to save the horses.
PONY page one hundred ninety-one
Rowena is seated on the pony. This is the life Robert once had, before the war.
The following three essays explore Robert Ross' relationships with his family members:
Robert Ross relationship with his mother, Mrs. Ross:
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 Timothy Findley's The Wars, yet as the story progresses, her firmness is broken by various tragedies. 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 needed (fainting after running around the block 25 times), and Robert shows his mother her due respect. It is in the face of unforeseen circumstances that Mrs. Ross' relationship with her son turns into a desperate struggle on her behalf for what was once a predictable and enlivening relationship.
After the death of Robert's sister Rowena, the Ross family seems to be broken. Family members question whose fault it was that she fell and who should ultimately be held responsible. Robert had been closest to Rowena, and for this reason Mrs. Ross decided that he was to be the one who would take responsibility of killing her rabbits. Mrs Ross' decision to burden Robert with this inhuman act, and his failure to do so lead to the most revealing monologue relevant to their 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 know that you're going to go away and be a soldier. Well - you can go to hell. I'm not responsible. I'm just another stranger. Birth I can give you - but life I cannot. I can't keep anyone alive. Not any more. (pg. 28)
The pessimistic tone of Mrs. Ross' monologue can be attributed to the fact that Rowena just died and that Robert has chosen to condemn himself to death, however it reveals much about her and Robert's relationship. Robert decision to enlist is not met with approval by Mrs. Ross. Her reaction is one of denial and failure as a parent. Her words, "..you can go to hell..", in reality show her true love and care for Robert, yet in a vulgar way. She cares so much for him that she can't bear the thought of him leaving (can't physically say goodbye), hence she directs her anger at him. Mrs. Ross' poor management of anger occurs throughout the novel, and each instance reflects directly on Robert's decision to enlist in the war.
The relationship between Robert and Mrs. Ross reaches it climax when Robert is reported 'missing in action'. The news of Ross being missing sends Mrs. Ross into hysteria show by her "... a final agonizing cry.." (pg.179) followed by her ensuing emotional blindness. Mrs. Ross can no longer face elements of life without her son and this concludes their relationship.

Robert Ross' relationship with his father, Thomas Ross:
Then Robert fainted. Just at the end of the 25th lap. Fainted and was down with jauntice.
His father got him through it.
He came up every evening after work and sat in Robert's darkened room and talked to him and told him stories. None of the stories had to do with running. These were tales of voyages and ships and how to ride a horse. This was the binding of the father to the son. When the ordeal was over - Tom Ross took his boy upstairs and watched while Robert stood in front of the old dark mirror, slipping out of his pyjamas and seeing that his skin was different now (a sort of ochre yellow). Robert smiled and was silent. He went downstairs in his dark skin and stayed that way for another day. Tom Ross understood, it seemed. He too smiled and was silent. (pg 48-49,The Wars)
From the very beginning of the story, Findley demonstrates the strong father-son bond between Robert and his father, Tom. Robert loved and respected his father very much, '..his father got him through it..'(pg.16).
Tom played an extremely important role in the life of his son. All the knowledge Robert had taken with him to war had come from his father. We realise how much Robert had missed his father during the War when his father shows up in Montreal to 'pass from hand to hand' a revolver and a hamper of food to him , "....the sight of his father had lifted his spirits immeasurably"(pg. 69).
Thomas Ross was both a mentor and a role model to Robert as he grew from boy to man. Robert trusted his father's good judgement many times throughout the story, he chose to do as he thought his father would have done. Likewise, Tom loved and respected his son a great deal. It was Tom who had taken the initiative to find out when Robert would be in Montreal so he could see his son, as fate would have it, one last time. It was also Tom who had taken the time to tell Robert how to ride a horse, a skill that proved very necessary to Robert during the time of war.
In the end, it is only Tom who comes to see his son's burial, "Mister Ross was the only member of his family who came to see him buried" (pg. 190). It is only Tom who cares enough to see a loved one laid to rest. Without the influence of his father, perhaps Robert would not have been such a great leader of his squadron and such a human and dedicated individual.

Robert Ross' relationship with his sister, Rowena:
In developing the relationship between Robert and Rowena, Timothy Findley introduces Robert's humane and sensitive characteristics. When Robert was young, he mistook Rowena for his mother because he often saw her smiling face peering down into his crib. To Robert, Rowena was a guardian, but eventually he considered himself her guardian. After Rowena's death, Robert was lost within himself. He no longer knew how to behave or what to feel anymore. It was as though he could no longer handle or deal with serious matters or think clearly. Timothy Findley puts this forward as one of the main factors that push Robert to join the army because he could never forgive himself for his sister's death. He felt as if it was his fault because he had not been there that day looking out for her as he usually did. He felt this guilt eating him inside for the rest of his life from that day forward. Robert reflects on specific moments they spent together throughout The Wars.
Yes , Rowena?
Will you stay with me forever?
Yes Rowena.
Can the rabbits stay forever, too?
Yes Rowena.
This was forever. Now the rabbits had to be killed. (pg.22)
Robert is never able to forget this conversation and the fact that he broke this promise by not being there to catch her when she fell. This changed Robert's whole perspective on life and his assigned role. He no longer appeared to have feelings anymore but no one knew how much remorse he felt inside. This could have been another reason for joining the war that he could just go away and everyone would either forget about what he did and be proud of in the end for being so brave. In a sense, a large part of Robert died that day along with his sister.
While attending Rowena's funeral, Robert saw a soldier standing there and he envied this man so much because after this day he could just walk away and leave all of this behind. This is what Robert wanted to do and it turned out to be the worst way to run away from all his problems.
Rowena's death constantly put stress on Robert, as we can see it hits him the hardest in the trenches or when he is on the battle field. Everything reminded him of his sister. One example was when Robert looked under Rodwell's bunk, "Robert looked. There was a whole row of cages. Rowena" (pg.87). As you can see Rowena was the first and only thing on his mind. Even the colour white would remind him of her because he could associate so many things since she was always dressed in white, her rabbits were white and her coffin was white. All of these memories haunted Robert more and more each day of his life.
Findley suggests in the latter part of The Wars that Robert is becoming mentally unstable. At times he can no longer function as a dedicated soldier or as a average human being. It is quite ironic that after Rowena's death, Robert wanted to join the army where death loomed on every horizon . If Rowena had still been alive Robert probably would have never enlisted in the army and his life would of been quite good but he can not go back and change things or live in the past and this is what made his life even worse off.

>>By Tanya   (Friday, 2 May 2003 18:17)

He smells like shit

>>By Ivannahumpalot   (Tuesday, 6 May 2003 04:04)

I do agree Ivanna....I anal raped him...and as soon as I pulled down his pants he smelled like shit...(anyone notice how much ass raping happens in this book...yaaaa babbbbyyyy..I like it like that)

>>By Mike Roch   (Tuesday, 6 May 2003 04:06)

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