Essays on The Wars by Timothy Findley

The Wars by Timothy Findley
Original title The Wars by Timothy Findley
Author Timothy Findley
Genre Historical Novel
Language English
Characters Robert Ross, Rowena, Mrs. Ross, Mr. Ross, Dr. Rivers, Captain Leather, Lieutenant Henshaw , Private McNair, Private Park, Private Wilson ...
Published 1977
ISBN 9780140067477
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The Wars is a 1977 novel by Canadian author Timothy Findley about the First World War. The novel follows the story of Robert Ross, a young Canadian officer who is traumatized by his experiences in the war. The novel is set in the years leading up to and during the war, and follows Ross as he enlists, trains, and fights in the trenches. The novel is interspersed with flashbacks to Ross’s childhood, which help to explain his actions and motivations.The novel opens with Robert Ross burning all of his personal belongings in a field. He then goes to a nearby farmhouse and kills the farmer, his wife, and their child. Ross is arrested and put on trial for murder. During his trial, Ross’s psychiatrist testifies that Ross is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and that the murders were a result of his experiences in the war. The jury finds Ross not guilty by reason of insanity, and he is sent to a mental hospital.The novel then flashes back to Ross’s childhood. Ross is the son of a wealthy family in Toronto. His mother dies when he is a young boy, and his father remarries a woman who is not kind to Ross. Ross is sent to boarding school, where he is bullied. He befriends a boy named Rowena, who is also an outcast.Ross’s father dies when Ross is a teenager, and Ross is sent to live with his aunt. Ross’s aunt is kind to him, and he falls in love with her daughter, Elizabeth. When Ross is of age, he enrolls in the Canadian Army to fight in the First World War.Ross trains in Canada and then sails to England to join his unit. He is put in charge of a group of soldiers, and they are sent to the front lines in France. Ross is horrified by the conditions in the trenches, and the constant shelling and fighting take a toll on his mental state. He becomes friends with a soldier named Alden, who is also struggling to cope with the war.One night, Ross and Alden are on patrol when they are ambushed by German soldiers. Alden is killed, and Ross is captured. He is sent to a German prisoner of war camp, where he is treated poorly. He eventually escapes and makes his way back to the Canadian lines.Ross is sent back to the front, and he takes part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The battle is a victory for the Allies, but Ross is badly wounded. He is sent back to Canada to recover, and while he is in the hospital, he learns that Elizabeth has married someone else. Ross is discharged from the army and returns to Toronto. He takes a job as a janitor in a mental hospital, and he meets a patient named Rowena. Rowena is the only person who seems to understand Ross, and she helps him to come to terms with his experiences in the war.The novel ends with Ross’s trial, and with him being sent to the mental hospital. Ross’s story is a powerful exploration of the effects of war on the individual. The novel is a classic of Canadian literature, and it has been translated into many languages.

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