War Timothy Findley Character Analysis

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The obligation a citizen feels to serve their country is a common sentiment. Despite this presumed duty resulting in countless deaths of men and women, many still make the brave decision to enlist themselves during a war. This can be attributed to how those who serve their country’s military are touted as courageous, selfless and heroic. Timothy Findley’s “War” follows the tragic story of a young boy named Neil growing up during World War II. Neil finds himself in a difficult situation upon learning that his father has enlisted himself in the army. Neil’s characterization which embodies an ordinary child, is expressed through his apparent naivety and innocence. Furthermore, “War” strongly displays three of Neil’s character traits which in turn, …show more content…

To begin, Neil can be viewed as immature by literally running away from a problem that he is not capable of handling. The initial shock of his father joining the army is apparent through his emphasis and repetition on the statement, “Joined the ARMY?” (124). This is the moment where a problem that he must deal with is introduced. Following this reveal, without any confrontation, he flees to a hayloft in a barn (125). It is obvious that Neil does not take the news lightly and, like most children, lack competence when approaching their problems. The unexpected and sudden reveal activates Neil’s defense mechanism where logic and long term consequences of this act is ignored by Neil. The lengths at which Neil voluntarily took to not confront the issue of his father leaving could have caused himself harm. What is often a completely ordinary characteristic of most children that is safely expressed, slowly manifests itself into a major downfall in Neil’s life. This tendency is a product of the helplessness Neil feels when he has little control over his circumstances. Secondly, Neil resorts to violence when dealing with his anger as he is immature. When coming into contact with his father after his temporary isolation, he gets the urge to hit him and does (131). Here, a negative characteristic of him comes to light. Despite the loving …show more content…

Readers are enlightened to the perspective and struggles of the most neglected group of society during war, which is youth. Firstly, Neil proves himself to not be a stranger to war by being a witness to military related consequences. Secondly, while Neil is well-informed beyond his years, his immaturity continues to play a role in his life and his actions. Finally, Findley ties himself together at the core of who he is, a growing child filled with needs and the potential to develop into the person he inevitably becomes. A standard citizen’s desire to be viewed as heroic by serving in combat only serves to validate a system that views their citizens’ bodies as interchangeable and disposable tools in war. It is crucial that governing individuals prioritize the well-being of youth over their fiscal, power or political conflict when those who suffer the most are struggling youth. Those who are the most vulnerable, the neediest, also have the most potential to revolutionize and alter the state of a chaos-filled, weapon-fuelled world. They are the

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