Sanity vs. Madness in Timothy Findley's "The Wars"

1982 Words8 Pages
The title The Wars is referring not to the actual physical combats that took place during the war but to the internal, psychological battles that took place in the minds of the soldiers who suffered from the effects of violence and inhumanity during the war. Robert’s increasingly fragile frame of mind during the novel, and his difficulty in coming to terms with the world in which he finds himself, is indicative of this internal struggle. In a world polluted with madness and cruelty sanity is a questionable thing. The Wars illustrates what can happen to men and women whose destinies are determined by circumstances that are beyond their power and understanding. Experiences such as the loss of close relationships, the horrors of bloodshed and death and the changes in men for the worst can make any once normal man insane, just has it made Robert Ross insane. Throughout the novel we follow Robert Ross as he not only loses those he loves, but also with time, his own very mind. In the novel, The Wars, Robert Ross holds his relationship with his family dearly, but things quickly change for the worse as the war in the battlefront transitions into the war with himself. During the beginning of the novel Robert Ross lives a content and tolerable life with his beloved sister Rowena, his stern Mother Mrs. Ross, his lenient Father Mr. Ross and his brother. Roberts’s relationship with Rowena is one that he holds dearly. Robert acts as her guardian and sees her as the one pure thing in his life while the rest of his family sees her as an imperfection. With the loss of Rowena’s life, Robert blames himself and becomes saddened with disbelief and sorrow. Along with the death of his sister, comes his mother’s urges to kill the last remaining memory of Rowena, her rabbits. After Rowena’s rabbits are killed by a hired hand and Robert is left beaten up, his mother makes an
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