The Wars - Theme of Loss of Innocence

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The Wars – Section 1: Reflection

Gabriel Chamale
Ms. Reeves
2 pages
All things truly wicked start from innocence. A moral truth that finds its place among today’s society. Innocence is such a frail, yet valuable quality. The loss of innocence can lead to such disastrous consequences. The theme of the loss of innocence is a prevalent one found throughout the novel The Wars by Timothy Findley. It is noted particularly in regards to the protagonist, Robert Ross. Early on in the novel, he encounters such miserable situations that dramatically mature his character emotionally and mentally in such a short period of time. Such events include the sudden loss of a loved one, sexual encounters, and the murder of the innocent. Rowena’s handicapped older sister is herself a symbol of innocence to Robert. She is the essence of kindness and compassion in Robert’s life. When Robert was suddenly ripped from that pure connection, he was left utterly distraught and confused. He blames himself for her death. “It was Robert’s fault. Robert was her guardian and he was locked in his bedroom. Making love to his pillows.”(Findley, 16) Now Robert is distressed as he carries the emotional burden of guilt. Then he is helpless to watch the horrible slaughter of Rowena’s innocent rabbits. The last connection he had to Rowena and everything she represented was killed. The qualities that made him who he was, was brutally taken from him. That day, Robert Ross was murdered. In his confused, heartbroken state feels he must join the army in an attempt to help the world regain the innocence it lost with Rowena’s death. This is a bold move on Robert’s part and is characterized only by an individual who is no longer kind and endearing. To fight in war, you must be cold hearted and be able to take a life without feeling remorse. “In such a dangerous thing as war the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.” (Von Clausewitz, the Wars) Those...
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