War has always been and will continue to be a life altering event for the people of its time. While only the soldiers may be at battle, the world continues to be at war, and as a result, people change. It is greatly debated how and in what mannerisms does war force people to adapt. In Timothy Findley’s, The Wars, there are several examples of how humans adjust to accommodate the unfamiliar effects of war. Often, what is unfamiliar is unknown, and what is unknown can be chaotic. Keeping that in mind, it is without a doubt that war changes people by creating an environment of chaos. Through the effects of confusion, corruption of individuals, and destruction of societies’ standard structure, it will be proven that war changes people by catalyzing a chaotic atmosphere.
Confusion is perhaps one of the most powerful anxieties that one can experience. Quite often, it can cause an individual to greatly diverge from themselves. For this reason it is rare that confusion is found by itself, seeing as it is usually accompanied by other complications; stress and mental instability are but a few. Robert Ross kills a man in the battlefield, and instantly becomes submerged in a state of confusion: “He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t speak. He could barely see. He sat with his head between his knees. He didn’t even know the gun was still in his hand until he reached with it to wipe the mud from his face.” (Findley, 130). Robert Ross experiences a sudden flush of confusion and stress. Ross cannot breathe, speak, or see: thus, he is without sense. This conveys the theme of confusion for the reader. Throughout the novel, confusion is used to establish the presence of chaos and foreshadow future events. Later on in the novel, Robert Ross undergoes a traumatic experience that leaves him in an utter state of confusion and violation. The previous experience is described in the following quotation: “The towel was suddenly yanked from his hand and he stood there naked and defenceless. He put his hand down to cover his scrotum, which suddenly felt as if it were going to be hit. His eyes felt the same and he wanted to cover them for fear he would be blinded but he didn’t dare. He needed his other hand to defend himself. He feared an attack with weapons.” (Findley, 174). This passage describes the events leading up to the violent rape that Ross’ unknown assailants committed. Leading up to the rape scene, Timothy Findley performs a remarkable job in producing an atmosphere of confusion by consolidating Ross’ thoughts. The author incorporates these emotions because they provide excellent rising action to the chaotic environment that is being portrayed in the war. Confusion can affect a soldier while they are amidst battle. When Robert Ross is called to kill a horse, he suffers a flashback of his sister’s death: “He fired. A chair fell over his mind. He closed his eyes and opened them.” (Findley, 68). This is a significant passage because it shows the psychological effects that killing has on a soldier. When the passage mentions “a chair [that] fell over his mind”, it is referring to the sound of the chair falling that symbolized Rowena Ross’ death. When Robert Ross kills another living thing, his guilty conscience kicks in because instead of watching his sister at the time of her death, he was “making love to his pillows”. The definition of chaos is; complete disorder and confusion. Confusion arrives as a complication itself, and along with it comes many other complexities, ultimately together creating chaos.
Ordinary people who choose to enlist in the army are transformed into a soldier through 1a series of grueling exercises and disciplinary activities. The purpose of this transformation is to prepare the soldier for the extreme psychological and physical vicissitudes that they will face in battle. More often than not the psychological effects corrupt people in a manner that no human should ever be faced with. In a scenario where a...
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