The Wars: Parallels & Contrasts
Animals, as most children learn in their childhood, can be a man’s best friend. Robert Ross, however, experiences a much closer relationship to animals than most people through out The Wars by Timothy Findley. We get some very solid emotions emanating from Robert when he’s on the ship and has to kill the horse. Pure fear courses through out both Robert and the horse and jumps out at the reader while reading through the scene. Robert and the horse are both terrified: Robert is scared because he doesn’t have the slightest clue how to kill a horse and the horse is probably scared because there’s nothing it can do to get up (in addition, it must be in agonizing pain from its broken leg). Neither the horse nor Robert can command their bodies—Robert can’t shoot the horse and he tries multiple times before he gets it behind the ear and the horse can’t stand up and gain control of its footing. They are similar in their fear and their lack of control. In each section, so far, there is always a grouping of animals, specifically a group, which stands out. In part one it was Rowena’s rabbits, the mustangs and the horses on the ship. In part two it was the line of horses they were taking through the fog and the animals in Rodwell’s animal hospital, always watching Robert through out the night. These groups help subconsciously guide Robert into becoming a man: the death of Rowena’s rabbits is a harsh break into manhood, the mustangs being the last of his innocence broken and forgotten, the death of the horse on the ship being the truth about the life of a soldier (only the able bodied can continue and everyone else is left behind), the horses through the fog being the uncertainty of life and realizing you must continue onward (otherwise you will die as Robert almost did in the mud), and finally the animal hospital when you realize you’re trapped and there’s nothing you can do to escape growing up. Right from the...
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