The Wars - Timothy Findley

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Timothy Findley pieced The Wars together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. When putting a puzzle together, a person must start off on the outside and work his/her way in, slowly adding piece upon piece until a clear overall picture is seen. Readers have to realize that the themes, characters, and setting within this book operate like puzzle pieces; they each weave themselves within the story and within each other. Their connections are the bonds that hold the book together, and one of the bonds at this puzzle's core is madness. To understand how madness appears to play a major role in the events of the war, we have to know the characters that are mad, the characters that are believed to be mad and how madness affects masculinity.

Firstly the definition of madness is the quality or condition of being insane. Under certain circumstances such as wars, everyone can potentially become a monster. In war, soldiers have to deal with traumatic matters like death. Some soldiers crack and become delusional because they cannot handle the anxiety. Robert’s madness did not start on the battlefield, but at home and he was not the only one who became delusional.

Mrs Ross is not the only character to be considered mad. Two people also convict Robert of madness. The two people are the hooker and the commanding officer. Ella, a prostitute, tries to get Robert to have sex with her but he did not want to. Ella gets mad because she does not get paid if she does not have sex. Another reason for why is because the whorehouse will get a bad reputation. After hearing the explanations Robert expresses his anger and Ella cowers in fear. After expressing anger, he did not have to have sex. He is being forced into having sex but manages to slip away from it without any one knowing. If Robert said that he did not want to have sex in front of his fellow soldiers then he would have been picked on. His masculinity will be diminished. The definition of masculinity is the quality or condition of being masculine and is traditionally considered to be characteristic of a male. Masculinity is like grades. It is hard to stay consistent. One “weak” characteristic then the person’s quality of masculinity will diminish. Robert Ross is considered mad by a commanding officer. Why? The reason is because he disobeyed an order from a commanding officer and saved the horses.

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