Technology and Nature in Timothy Findley's "The Wars" - a Short Essay

Topics: World War I, Chlorine, Chemical warfare Pages: 3 (1069 words) Published: November 21, 2012
“The Wars can be interpreted as exploring the modern conflict between nature and technology.” The Conflict of Nature and Technology
The wars is a story about Roberts life primary in the Great War, or WWI, throughout the story there are many elements of nature and technology that are introduced to the story, often in which, the two collide. Timothy Findley uses the Elements of Nature (Air, Water, Earth and Fire) and shows them in two different perspectives, sometimes harmful, sometimes helpful. The reason however that they have become harmful, is due to the perversion of nature that happens within a war. Nature is corrupted by the technology around it created by man to kill one another, it can be damaged (e.g. when chlorine gas seeps into the earth) or it can be used to cause damage (The flamethrowers). All in all, the whole war was a massive struggle between technology and nature; however one individual throughout the story is the link between Nature and Technology. Robert Ross uses technology to kill others throughout the war, an unnatural thing, but he also cares deeply for those things that are of nature. He is the bridge between the natural and technological world. The war on nature via technology is one of the most common themes in The Wars. It is very prominent when they bring the horses over on the S.S. Massanabie, and what condition the live in while on that boat while they are transported. “Each horse was lifted in a harness by a gigantic crane and lowered into the hold like cargo.”1 This is an example where cruelties against things that are natural are portrayed by the fact that the animals are treated no better than inanimate objects. The soldiers saw the horses as nothing more than another piece of technology that they would use in the war. Robert Ross has to take over from Harris while he is on the boat, and is charged in taking care of the animals. He then finds himself in the situation of having to kill the horse because it broke its leg. Robert...
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