The Fog of Peception Between Friend and Enemy in The Wars by Timothy Findley

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Within his novel The Wars, Timothy Findley, deconstructs the concept of friend and enemy. Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstruction stated, “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consciousness or organization of a subject, or even of modernity. It deconstructs it-self. It can be deconstructed.” (Mapp, 781). Jacques Derrida believed deconstruction happens on its own, and therefore one does not need to consciously deconstruct a text, as it is an unconscious process that one need not deliberate. In the text The Wars, Findley makes the assumption that one’s enemy is their closest friend. Oxford Dictionaries defines the term “enemy”, as a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. Within a war the concept of friend and enemy is certainly evident; soldiers are deployed from all around the world fighting alongside their country and their allies, this being their “friends”, to ultimately defeat the “enemy”. In the text, the protagonist, Robert Ross and his men are commanded by Captain Leather to set up gun beds close to the German lines. While setting up, Robert Ross and his men are unmasked by the Germans, and after luckily surviving a gas attack, Robert Ross and his men encounter a German sniper sent to watch and kill them, who instead, ended up risking his own life to free them all. “He could have killed them all. Surely that had been his intention. But he’d relented. Why” (Findley, 131)? Robert Ross realizes that the German soldier had a rifle beside him the entire time, which he could of used to kill them all, but did not. As an enemy of Ross and his men, this young German soldier should have, being inimical to these soldiers, shot and killed them as he intended.... ... middle of paper ... ...attacks, and burning from flame throwers. The Germans are relentlessly hostile toward the British and Canadian soldiers, saving no lives but disposing of many. The Germans are truly enemies of these soldiers; however, in this case they definitely do not act as friends, which ultimately disagrees with Timothy Findley’s assumption that one’s enemy is their closest friends. The saying, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”, is truly substantiated within the text The Wars. For one’s “enemy” will not hurt them, as no trust is deposited into an enemy, however one’s friend will, since as a friend, one invests plenty of trust into another and by having this trust broken one is hurt more than anything. Timothy Findley deconstructs the concept of friend and enemy within his novel The Wars, by illustrating that one’s enemy will turn out to be their closest friend.

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