Resilience In Timothy Findley's 'The Wars'

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¬¬¬¬¬The Wars Essay The concept of resilience is often described as being able to recover from difficult experiences or pasts, where one’s resilience could be impacted by drastic changes that occur in their lives. It is something that guides one’s decisions and often defines their morals and what individuals perceive to be right or wrong; depending on the situation they are encountering. Resilience is highly dependent on the thought of empathy, where the resilience of people who have experienced empathy will be different from others who haven’t. How individuals deal with these differences determines one’s level of empathy and also impacts their resilience. Timothy Findley explores an individual’s struggle to keep a sense of resilience while…show more content…
In “The Wars”, Robert is portrayed as a hero, the messiah and the judge, the main role of the “Chosen One,” who believes in honourable things and a man who believes in the full moral of responsibility. However, he is also represented as someone who is kind, a benevolent man who is unsuited for the war where "in such dangerous things as war the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst" (1). On the other hand, Robert’s sister Rowena is disabled and bound to a wheelchair, where her character symbolizes innocence and vulnerability. However, she also symbolizes a fallen angel where she falls from her wheelchair, when Robert wasn’t there to witness her last breath “Jesus. She fell. It was a Sunday. Robert wasn’t there” (16). This quote signifies a fallen angel, with the symbol of falling and the representation of Jesus, a symbol of the heavens. Rowena dies from falling from her wheelchair while the motif of falling symbolizes chaos and disorder. Everything that falls becomes broken and unfixable, which brings the world out of balance. When Robert was forced to kill a horse with its leg broken on the boat, “He fired. A chair fell over in his mind. He closed his eyes and opened them” (60). After being forced to shoot the horse with the broken leg, the image of falling haunts Robert where Findley…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Robert resists the impact of all situations that threaten his level of resilience. All sexual acts in this novel can all be interpreted as a struggle to maintain resilience in a merciless environment. Robert loses part of his ability to recover when he attends the brothel and is forced to participate in sexual behaviours that he feels uncomfortable with. Furthermore, the night of the brothel, Robert witnessed Taffler with another man. “The man being ridden was Taffler. The rider was the Swede.” (41). Their aggressive sexual act both intrigued and scared Robert, where he struggles to see Taffler as the former brave captain that shoots bottles as he was before. Witnessing this Robert once again faces a new reality and takes away part of his sense of resilience. “Even when he looked away and Ella took his place again he went on hearing and seeing everything he’d heard and seen in his mind and his mind began to stammer the way it away did whenever it was challenged by something it could not accept”(40). This takes away some resilience from Robert, where he is unable to recover from the scene he witnessed inside the brothel. The ultimate scene out of all sexual acts is where Robert was violated in the cell. This experience strips Robert from both his dignity and privacy and the moment where he felt the greatest shame, where he couldn’t possible recover from such
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