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The Wars

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Chris Still

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of The Wars

Theme 1
Often times, an action or choice is neither right nor wrong. Since no choice is perfect, whether or not an action is correct may purely depend n the values and principles of others.
Table of Contents
Plot Summary
Analysis Covering:
Style Devices
Theme 1
“‘It cannot be called disobedience to save these animals when they’ll be needed, for God’s sake, half-an-hour after this is over. And if we stay here, how can they avoid being killed?’” (183)
Theme 1
To Juliet: act of heroism
To Captain Leather: act of betrayal

Although Robert chose the right course of action, he became a military criminal by doing so. Therefore, the legitimacy of his actions to be dependent on the moral principle of others. Without an optimal course of action, Robert made the best choice he could under the circumstances.
Theme 2
One should not end his life prematurely due to obstacles because to live is to struggle.
The Wars
Part 5
By: Chris Still, Yuxiao Zhou, Hao Jin & Stefan Carlberg

Theme 2
“He might have said ‘No.’ He might’ve said ‘never.’ He might’ve said ‘Yes.’ But he said ‘not yet.’ There, in two words, in a nutshell – you have the… essence of what it is to be alive” (195).
Theme 3
Robert chooses to continue living despite his horrific physical condition and his potential punishment

Life is precious
Must continue living
Embrace uncertain future
Suicide or euthanasia not an option

By struggling forward, mankind gains knowledge and experience that they would otherwise not be able to.
Theme 3
Wars breeds madness and brings out the worst in people
Theme 3
“he thought: ‘If an animal had done this – we would call it mad and shoot it,’ and at that precise moment Captain Leather rose to his knees and began to struggle to his feet. Robert shot him between the eyes” (184).
Theme 3
Robert's personailty changes after his terrible experiecnes with the war
Now cold-hearted and brutally decisive
Murdered two fellow soliders
View others involved in the war with hostility and hatred
"When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” Revelation 6:5-6
"The horse was a fine black mare, standing about sixteen hands. She had been well cared for up till now and someone had obviously ridden her every day" (188).
Significance of Revelations
Black mare signifies rampant inflation during and after the war
"War and inflation are always Siamese twins". - Manfred Zimmel

Inflation results to famine
Famine results to the scarcity of provisions
Recall: "Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"
Style Devices
To refer to another literary work or
passage outside of the text
Findley's Reason
"... Someone had ridden her everyday..."
Indirectly suggests that soldiers during the war lacked provisions and often left hungry.
To exemplify the conditions of the war
The location of the quote and the biblical location at the end for both books (
The Wars
and The Holy Bible)

A person, place or thing that represents something beyond itself
Simile, Metaphor, and Personification
Symbolizes destruction and pain
"Within less than a minute of the fire being set, the rear portion of the roof fell into the barn - and presumably, onto the back of the horses" (192)

Symbolizes Love and Hope
"Juliet's candle was wedged in the earth in an upright position. Somehow - it had been set alight"(182).

Symbolizes life, joy, and peace
"The air was filled with the sweet, sad smell of pollen and the bees had begun to buzz" (167).

Symbolizes irritation
"The earth had baked beneath their feet and the air was filled with a fine, grey powder that matted in their hair and scorned the rims of their eyes" (186).
Plot Summary
Prior to the battlefield
St. Aubyn's Hospital
Magdalene Woods
Bath House

On the battlefield
Release of the horses
Leather kills Devlin
Robert kills Castles and Leather
Mickle attempts to kill Robert

After the battlefield
St. Aubyn's Hospital

Symbolizes drowning and death
"Many of them didn't want to bathe and were afraid of water" (172).

Symbolizes Cleansing
"When he was through and had lain in the water till the pads of his fingers and the soles of his feet were wrinkled, he got out and rinsed himself with four wooden buckets of clear, tepid water from the cistern" (172).

Phallic Imagery
Relationship between penis and gun
"Bang-bang-bang! went the guns at the front. Robert didn't listen. He undid his trouser buttons almost languidly" (168).
Robert's gun represents power
Robert's penis size metaphorically states his lack of power
"He made a fist around his penis. He thought how small it was" (169).
After being raped, Robert seeks for his pistol.
"Gun. Gun. He wanted his gun" (176).
His experience loses part of his masculinity, as such he seeks for power - his pistol.
Man vs. Man
Robert vs. The Army
This conflict is first demonstrated when Robert is raped by his fellow army comrades.

"His assailants, who he'd thought were crazies, had been his fellow soldiers. Maybe even his brother officers. He'd never know. He never saw their faces" (175)

Robert believes his army comrades are crazy
Army comrades do not like Robert
Robert vs. The Army
Robert vs. The Army
Robert shoots Private Cassles in the face with no hesitation.

"Private Cassles was certainly killed by someone and there are two witnesses... - both of whom claim that Cassles went out - unarmed - to prevent Robert's passing and that when the private made a grab for Robert's reins, Robert shot him in the face" (189).

Shows disconnect from humans as Robert feels no remorse.
Robert vs. The Army
Robert hits his breaking point when he rips his lapels off and leaves the battlefield

"Then he tore the lapels from his uniform and left the battlefield" (184).

Ripping off the lapels demonstrates that Robert quits the army which completes his disconnect from humans and the army
With this complete disconnect from humans Robert becomes closer with Nature.
Man vs. Nature
Robert is pantheistic and animistic.
Robert loves animals

"Captain Leather rose to his knees and began to struggle to his feet. Robert shot him between the eyes. It took him half-an-hour to kill the mules and horses" (184).

Robert kills humans easily
Robert has difficulties killing animals
Robert vs. Nature
Robert vs. Nature
Robert and Captain Leather disagree about what to do with the horses.

"Robert went inside at one point to request of Captain Leather that he be allowed to take the horses and mules he had just brought forward and make a strategic retreat with them so they might be saved. But Captain Leather, who was underneath a table at the time, was adamant in his refusal" (182).

Captain Leather sees horses with a military perspective.
Robert sees horses as a symbol of innocence and they should not be in war.
Robert vs. Nature
Robert demonstrates his connection with animals when he is inside the barn surrounded by Major Mickle.

"Robert called out very distinctly: 'We shall not be taken'" (191).

'we' demonstrates Robert's love and association with horses.
Robert is trying to make a stand against the army for the protection of the horses.
Robert does not care if he lives or dies.
Man vs. Himself
Mrs. Ross vs. Herself
Mrs. Ross has difficulties coping with Robert being in the army.
Mrs. Ross vs. Herself
"I know you're going to go away and be a soldier. Well - you can go to hell. I'm not responsible. I'm just another stranger. Birth I can give you - but life I cannot" (23).

Mrs. Ross is furious at Robert for joining the army.
Mrs. Ross vs. Herself
"The day that Mister Ross and Mrs. Ross received the news that Robert was 'missing in action' Mrs. Ross refused to dress. She remained in her nightgown and wandered around the house on South Drive with a bottle in one hand, a glass in the other" (184).

Mrs. Ross is torn apart
Mrs. Ross still loves Robert
Mrs. Ross vs. Herself
"'Help me,' said Mrs. Ross.
Mister Ross put out his hand.
'Where?' said Mrs. Ross. 'Where? Where are you?'
'I'm blind,' said Mrs. Ross. 'I've gone blind'" (185-186).

Due to the traumatic event Mrs. Ross has gone through she is now blind.
Mrs. Ross can now see what she did to her son.
Mrs. Ross is like Oedipus.
Both of them traded sight for insight.
Mrs. Ross vs. Herself
"Mister Ross was the only member of his family who came to see him buried" (196).

Mrs. Ross could have attended Robert's funeral.
She would not be able to physically witness the burial, but she would be able to connect with him spiritually.
1. Robert Ross
2. Captain Leather
3. Marian Turner
Robert Ross
Loss of Sanity
Unfortunate Events
"Through a foul-up on the part of one of the Sergeants at the Depot, Robert was sent to one station and his kit bag was sent to another...It was strangely disconcerting to have lost it" (165).
"His assailants, who he'd thought were crazies, had been his fellow soldiers. Maybe even his brother officers. He'd never know" (175).
"He tore the ticking off the pillows and the air filled up with feathers. Gun. Gun. He wanted his gun" (176).
"I'm going to break the ranks and save these animals" (183).
Captain Leather
Respected & Cruel
Marian Turner
"Even when Robert Ross was taken to surgery, the M.P stood outside the door. It was because he'd killed a man. I never fathomed that" (194).
"...I said: 'I will help you if you want me to.' And I knew he understood–because he said: 'Not yet'" (195).
The End
"What would it look like?...We should never live it down" (182).
Any Questions?
The Four Elements & Empedocles' Philosophy
Empedocles' Philosophy
- Empedocles was a Greek philosopher
- Stated that the four elements: Fire, air, water earth are "roots"
-Life is structured and consists of the 4 elements.
-During the presence of strife (war) 4 elements
becomes representations of death.

Symbolizes burial
"The fallen animals were dragged, still living, to the ditches where unavoidably they burned or were drowned. There were no acts of mercy" (187).

Symbolizes security and housing
"The country he passed through now was beautiful and utterly peaceful. The guns had not yet started their pounding, but even when they did they were so far away they seemed to be in another world" (167).
Full transcript