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Symbolism In The Wars By Timothy Findley

1831 Words8 Pages

Syed Hassan
Ms. Crupi
ENG 4 U0
December 17, 2014

The Meaning Of Empedocles Elements

By nature the four elements fire, water, earth, and air are joined together to be balanced and peaceful, but through conflict and violence these elements become dangerous. A Greek philosopher Empedocles created the elements. From there on elements have been used to symbolize many different things in literature. In Timothy Findley’s The Wars, Timothy Findley incorporates the theme of the elements in which he shows the symbolism of all the elements as being peaceful and representing life in the beginning of the story, while later on as the story progresses due to the conflict and violence caused by the wars the elements symbolize destruction and despair in …show more content…

When Robert learns that Harris has been cremated, Robert decides to scatter the ashes he reaches a river as he says“ Go he said in peace. And sing with the whales. That was all. Then he scattered some of the ashes with his fingers”(Findley) Here its show the natural way of things that happen after someone’s death. Harris’s ashes show a sign of a ceremony and non-violence. In which Harris ashes were scattered in the sea where he always wanted to go. This is an example of fire acting with the environment where the elements are not disturbed. This is also an example of fire interacting with water in an environment where the elements are not disturbed. Fire is an element where it also gives life and hope to people. Fire represents many things as “ Fire symbolizes life, continuity and vitality.” (Mbiti 180) As the story moves on, the element of fire becomes more and more destructive due to the violence and conflict that disrupts nature peaceful state. An example of fire showing its destructive nature is when the Germans attacked Robert and his troops as “Fire storms raged along the front. Men were exploded where they stood–--blown apart by the combustion”(Findley 132). This shows …show more content…

It is an element in which it symbolizes growth and caring. In the instance of the war earth symbolizes growth and moving forward when “ Rowena was buried in the morning. Under the trees in frozen earth they had to split with axes.” (Findley 18) Rowena death burial made Robert realize that his life has now changed and he now had a new life ahead of him. It showed Robert growth as a character as his entire life has revolved around Rowena, his sister and now that she is gone in his life Robert realizes that there is more to his life and he decides to go to war. Earth has been described by numerous of ways in his peaceful state but mainly it is known as the “ Nurturing Earth” ( Riess 1) It is known as the nurturing earth as the earth is where the plants and humans grow. It is where we live and it is the place where we grow trees, which give us oxygen, which lets us live. The connection between the two quotes is that it shows that earth is an element where it is used to symbolize growth. It also shows that Earth has also shown to be destructive and is an element that completely changes due to the conflict and violence in the war. Instead of being nurturing and stable it becomes destructive and unsteady. This is shown when “Suddenly, his right foot went down. All the way down to the knee through the earth. Dear Jesus– he was going to drown.” (Findley 77-78) This shows that the nurturing earth is becoming a

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