The Pursuit Of Happiness In Timothy Findley's 'The Wars'

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The Pursuit of Happiness
It is a fundamental aspect of society and of mankind that individuals seek their own happiness. Almost every aspect of life centres on the importance of self-fulfillment, and throughout history, the often selfish nature of man loans itself to the idea that life is about pursuing one’s own happiness. In a perfect world, the search for satisfaction in life would go unheeded, and every man would come to realize a perfect sense of self. Unfortunately, there are often many challenges and compromising aspects of society that inhibit individuals from achieving happiness. In Timothy Findley’s 1977 novel, The Wars, the nature in which individuals pursue and or compromise their happiness is explored through the actions of characters, …show more content…

Initially, Rodwell may have joined the war with noble intentions, but by the time Robert meets him, he has already began to take note of the dehumanizing nature of war, which begins his long descent into misery. Rodwells initial willingness to see the best in a situation blinds him to the cruelty and misery of warfare. As an illustrator of children’s books, Rodwell is well accustomed to fairy tale stories, but chooses instead to draw in a more realistic manner. He says, “ I should draw that toad, for instance, just as he is without embellishment. In his own right, you know, he has a great deal of character.” This choice indicates that Rodwell is not as naive as one might assume he is. While he is blindsighted by the cruelty of those in war, he soon acknowledges this new reality, and in doing so, takes his own life. By joining the military, Rodwell knowingly submitted himself to situations that would almost certainly compromise his own happiness. It is not until he sees men in the trenches killing for pleasure as opposed to necessity that he is driven beyond the point of no return, alluding to the true nature of his character as an individual who places the happiness of others, including animals, above his own interests. In direct opposition of Rodwell, another important character, Barbara d’Orsey, acts in a manner that places her own needs above those of others around her. Barbara

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