Animal Imagery In Timothy Findley's The Wars Essay

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Animal Imagery In Timothy Findley's The Wars
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The abundant animal imagery in Timothy Findley's book The Wars is used to develop characterization and theme. The protagonist, Robert Ross, has a deep connection with animals that reflects his personality and the situations that he faces. This link between Robert and the animals shows the reader that human nature is not much different than animal nature.

The animals in this story are closely related to the characters, especially the character of Robert. Rodwell acknowledges Robert's close union with animals when he draws Robert in his sketchbook as "the only human form" among sketches of animals (155). When Robert sees the drawing, he notices that "the shading [is]
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One of the horses breaks its leg and Robert is ordered to kill it. He shoots it once, but the horse is still alive and its mane is described as "a tangle of rattlesnakes" (68). The snakes symbolize the feelings of immorality that are welling up inside of Robert. He knows that killing an animal is against his moral values, but his role in the army is more important to him. He feels that he has "to show his nerve and ability as an officer" (66). Robert finally shoots the horse behind its ear and kills it. This is the first time he intentionally kills a living creature in the story.

Robert's ethics return to him and take priority over military obedience when he tries to rescue horses from the cruelties of war. Robert disobeys Captain Leather's orders and tries to free the horses from the barn that is threatened by falling shells. Unfortunately, the horses die before he can save them all and Robert is filled with anger, shooting Captain Leather between the eyes for causing their death. From this moment on, he rebels against anyone who does not respect his love for animals. This rebellion continues when he barricades himself in a barn with the horses and shouts, "[w]e shall not be taken" (212). It is Robert's strong connection with the horses that leads to his downfall, because the "we" implies to Major Mickle that Robert has an accomplice, and for that reason an attack is ordered. Robert burns
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