The Wars by Timothy Findley Essay

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The Inherent Evil of Humankind Joseph Conrad once observed that “a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” As a result of the violence that is necessary during wartime, soldiers are permitted to engage in savage behavior that is normally forbidden in society. In The Wars by Timothy Findley, however, soldiers act in violent ways even when they are not actively engaged in battle. The inherently savage nature of humankind is evident when Robert Ross kills the German soldier after the gas attack, when Robert is raped in the baths, and when Robert kills Captain Leather. These violent events that occur outside the direct action of the war demonstrate the evil inherent in…show more content…
Despite the fact that the German has let the rest of the soldiers escape unharmed, Robert’s innate violence triggers the death of an innocent soldier. Thus, Robert’s actions reveal the inherent savage nature of humankind. Not only does Robert’s killing of the German soldier expose humanity’s inherent savagery, but his fellow soldiers’ brutal rape of Robert also shows the brutal nature of humankind. After his shower, Robert senses a human presence in his cell and he was spun around in the dark so many times he lost all sense of gravity.
Then he was lowered onto his back and held there by someone who was lying underneath him. His legs were forced apart so far he thought they were going to be broken. Mouths began to suck at his privates. Hands and fingers probed and poked at every part of his body. Someone struck him in the face. (192)
Robert is ferociously raped and handled roughly in the darkness by the unknown males, and he describes that he is “spun around in the dark.” The confusion that he faces causes him to lose “all sense of gravity,” which emphasizes the intensity of this violent act. The severity of the rape scene is once again emphasized when Robert elucidates that his legs are “forced apart so far he thought they were going to be broken” and he is “struck […] in the face.” The rapists do not merely rape Robert; they viciously attack and beat him as well. After the
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