The Wars Animal Imagery Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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connection with animals. Robert finds it easier to relate to animals than to humans. Any of the human characters in the novel for which Robert feels significant affection are also people with strong kinship to animals. His beloved sister, Rowena, was closely attached to her pet rabbits. His friend Rodwell keeps injured animals under his bunk and nurses them back to health. Harris, another friend of Robert’s, says that “[everyone] who’s born has come from the sea. [The] womb is just a sea in small. And birds come from seas in eggs. Horses lie in the sea before they’re born. The placenta is the sea. And your blood is the sea continued in your veins” (117). Robert also acknowledges our animal heritage when he notes that to sleep invariably puts you in danger, and it was

the “animal memory in you that knew that” (101). In the end of the novel, Robert loses his life in an attempt to save those of innocent horses. Findley uses Robert’s connection with the animals to illustrate the similarity between humans and animals. Findley attests that there “are so many fascinating things the human race doesn’t want to know about itself” (Inside Memory 155). One is that, although humans esteem themselves above animals and consider the creatures to be wild and savage, it is truly the human race that is savage. Although Findley strongly believes that humans and animals are equal, he also vehemently alleges that only humankind is capable of the destruction and horror of senseless violence. During Robert’s run with the coyote, Robert watches as the

coyote spies two gophers and notes that the animal “didn’t even come down off it’s toes. And when it came to the place where the gophers had been sitting, neither did it pause to scuffle the burrows or even sniff them” (The Wars 26). This event is important because it emphasizes that as hunters, animals kill only for necessity and survival. Human beings, on the other hand, are capable of murder without reason. Later in the novel, a young German soldier gives Robert an unexpected chance to escape certain death. Robert is cautious, but seizes the opportunity. However, when the German makes a sudden move, Robert panics and shoots him. Too late, Robert understands that he has made a mistake. The German “had only been reaching for his binoculars . . . It was even worse than

that. Lying beside the German was a modified Mauser rifle of the kind used by snipers. He could have killed them all” (146). It is at the awful moment of realization that Robert hears a bird sing, “[one] long note descending: three that [waver] on the brink of sadness” (146). By the end of the novel, Robert has become aware that human beings are responsible not only for their own misery and suffering, but also for that of innocent animals. In a desperate act to rescue the faultless animals from the horror humankind has caused, Robert releases a band of horses from a stable that is being shelled. Unfortunately, three shells burst in the area and Robert survives only to see that “all the horses . . . were either dead or dying” (203). As Robert surveys the carnage around

him, he thinks “If an animal had done this-we would call it mad and shoot it” (203). In that moment, his vision is cleared and he sees that the innocent and virtuous animals should not suffer the consequences of human violence. He releases yet more animals and leads them to a barn, where he locks himself in with them, refusing to come out. Enraged, his fellow humans attempt to smoke him out. He loses not only the lives of the horses, but also his own life, in a fire that ensues; a fire that was set by human beings. Throughout the novel, the obvious connection between humans and animals is illuminated by Robert Ross’ attachment to all creatures. In many ways, Robert’s connection to the animals that he encounters alludes to the similarity between all humans and animals. The

animals in the novel suffer at the hands of humankind and the hostile environment we create. Although a common assumption is that animals are vicious and wild, there is no evidence of this in the novel. Malice appears to be solely attributable to humankind. This is the truism that Findley depicts in his telling of the tragic story of Robert Ross. Works CitedCude, Wilf “Truth Slips In: Timothy Findley’s Doors of Fiction” The Antigonish Review, Spring 1996, vol 27 pp75. Findley, Timothy. Inside Memory: Pages From a Writer’s Notebook. Harper Collins, Toronto: 1990. Findley, Timothy. The Wars. Penguin Books, Toronto: 1996. Macartney-Filgate, Terence. Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer. National Film Board of Canada, Toronto: 1992. Myers, David G. Psychology 6th ed. Worth