The_Wars_Essay_Final[1] - Shahzad 1 Zohaib Shahzad ENG 4U0...

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Shahzad 1 Zohaib Shahzad ENG 4U0 - A Mrs. Schaffer December 17 th , 2010 Delineating Stereotypical Notions of Masculinity in “The Wars” In his novel, The Wars , Timothy Findley depicts many issues which one battles with everyday. Robert brings to light many stereotypes which are prevalent in everyday life. Whether it is through the ever-evolving protagonist, Robert Ross, or one of the many supporting characters, he displays contradictions to the customs which are commonplace in today's society. Through reading this novel, it becomes apparent that there are stereotypes which are often seen are questionable, especially when placed in an extreme environment. At first, one will recognize the setting in which the novel takes place: World War I. However, the primary aspect is cloaked in the physical struggles. Parallel to the literal wars, there are also a vast number of emotional wars which, upon examination, prompt a reexamination of the archetypes which are placed on humanity. Robert Ross is a paradox to the typical male, and it becomes obvious through his actions in the war; however, certain masculine qualities do surface when he is under pressure. Being the young man that he is, Robert is still discovering who he is. This process is magnified because, being in the tangible war, he is forced to mature faster than normal. Therefore, the tangible and psychological wars which Robert encounters causes him to convey many distinct and unique qualities which are antithetical to the conventional definition of masculinity; this is demonstrated throughout his sexual encounters, his experiences in World War I, and in his continuous affinity with animals. In the novel, there are many defining moments which Robert is faced with, and a lot have to do with his sexual encounters. During his time at war, Robert meets many new people to whom he grows accustomed. One person in particular would be a man named Harris. Through many coincidences, the
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Shahzad 2 two men spend a large amount of time in the company of one another. The two are very comparable, as they both share similar traits, such as an affinity for animals. Harris becomes severely injured and is confined to a hospital bed for his remaining days. Robert, feeling attached to Harris, stays with him for many hours which “were made worthwhile whenever Harris woke and smiled” (Findley 93). The pairs bond is evidently a strong one, whether being bound by mere friendship or something more is unknown and up to interpretation. However, the latter seems more likely as “sometimes Robert had to look away, because he was confused by what he felt. .. the thing was – no one since Rowena had made him feel like he wanted to be with them all the time (Findley 93). The bond between Robert and Rowena is unbreakable. He feels the need to protect her at all costs. This type of relationship is not something which could be compared with a friendship, which leads the reader to assume that Robert is in love with Harris. Traditionally, a man would marry a woman and they would have kids; in contrast, Robert
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This note was uploaded on 05/15/2011 for the course ECON 102 taught by Professor Sayaki during the Spring '11 term at Brown College.

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The_Wars_Essay_Final[1] - Shahzad 1 Zohaib Shahzad ENG 4U0...

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