The Glorified Act Of War By Timothy Findley And Kurt Vonnegut

1874 Words8 Pages
The glorified act of war is often staged in historical literature by idolizing the soldiers who partake in the event. Soldiers are made to seem intrepid, ruthless and muscular, each with a ceaseless desire to fight valiantly for their countries. Timothy Findley and Kurt Vonnegut discard this typical hero archetype in their anti-war novels by portraying the soldiers who fight in the war as the men they are, not as the templates of heroes they are expected to fit, in furtherance of strengthening their anti-war stances. Findley and Vonnegut illustrate their protagonists as a tragic hero and an anti-hero, respectively, in order to juxtapose the atrocities of war with the flawed humanness of man and to challenge the stereotypical image of a…show more content…
Guided by his undying love for his sister, Robert’s call to action is intrinsically motivated by an ironic catalyst that leads to his own eventual death; the desire to preserve life. At the climax of the novel, Robert’s courage tempers out his Achilles’ heel of introverted moral justness. His ascendance to the position of officer is only natural considering that his resilience and persistence strengthen significantly as he begins to imitate the hero archetype upheld by most war novels, though his concealed struggles with morality and obedience as exposed by his actions confirm him to be a tragic hero. Even with his elevated position, Robert demonstrates many instances of nurturing as he develops into a strong man weathered by the war, as opposed to the typical hardening experienced by most men on the front lines. The telltale quality of morality demonstrated only by a tragic hero is a tragic flaw in itself, as it forces acts that would otherwise be self-indulgent to take on an air of humility. “The man with the broken legs was lying by the water’s edge. He was already the colour of death. … ‘Put that [gas mask] over his face.’” (124) Robert’s dangerous, selfless acts for those who are arguably hopeless are not only consistently futile, but they endanger him and jeopardize

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