The Wars by Timothy Findley Essay

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Effects of the Loss of Innocence 11/11/10 The story of Robert Ross, in The Wars by Timothy Findley, is that of the loss of innocence. Robert grew up as the guardian of his disabled sister Rowena and, because of this, he finds a sense of safety and home in innocence, which he found in her. Throughout the novel Robert searches for this innocence that is his home and safety. However, in his search he loses his own innocence. Robert feels contaminated by his loss of innocence due to the war and so he dedicates his life to protect the innocence that he can find. Robert's home is not in his house or his parents, who he finds hostile, but in the innocence of his disabled sister. He makes himself her guardian from the outside world. "Rowena is ... never in photographs that are apt to be seen by the public. ... Robert has her picture on his bureau" (p.13 Findley). Robert is the only one in the family who really cares about Rowena: the others have accepted that she will not live long and that she is not such a worthy investment of their time. Robert and Rowena make a little family of their own, separated from the morals and the attitudes of the rest of the family. Robert finds a sense of home and safety in Rowena and in how innocent she is. After Rowena's death Robert feels as though he has lost his innocence. Robert blamed himself for her death. "It was Robert's fault. Robert was her guardian and he was locked in his bedroom" (p. 21 Findley). Robert's feeling that he has lost his innocence is only strengthened as the story progresses after Rowena's death. The scene most representative of this is when some of the soldiers go to Wet Goods, a whore house. Ella, the girl Robert was paired with in this scene, at one point said " 'This is what I'm paid for. To make ya happy. O.K.?' But how? Robert wanted to ask" (p. 41 Findley). Instead of being happy like the others

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