Human beings, by their very nature, are complex creatures whose behavior can vary at different points in their lives. Throughout the novel, The Wars, Timothy Findley uses the element of character in describing the cycle of sanity that Robert Ross experiences through his interaction with various animals.
Sanity is revealed by Robert's character in his behavior towards the animals, which is demonstrated through his interaction with the horses and rats. The illustration of Robert physically petting the horse around her neck shows the peace he finds in himself. "Robert petted her, slipping his arm around her neck and drawing the reins back over her ears."(Findley, Pg 2) Enjoying the precious moments of life to stop and pet the horse with affection, demonstrates the sane state of mind Robert is in. Placing his arm around her neck and drawing her reins, reveals the tranquility Robert experiences within his mind through the horse due to its natural animal beauty.
Sanity is again observed by Robert's character, in his interaction with the horses and rats when he discovers peace with these animals aboard his journey on the ship. "He became intrigued with this world of horses, rats, and bilge that had been consigned to his care." (Pg 63) While traveling on the ship, in order for Robert to remain sane during his journey, he decides to go down to the hold to spend personal time with the horses and rats, by which he is fascinated by their animal beauty. As Robert chooses to spend time observing and caring for the innocent animals, it is indeed relevant that he is a sane individual. As Robert progresses throughout the novel, he begins to grow insane, which is demonstrated through his actions towards animals.
Insanity is revealed by Robert's character through his relationship towards the animals, which is demonstrated through his interaction with the horse. The psychosis behavior, which Robert demonstrates while interacting with the horse, reveals his insanity towards animals. "He held the gun in both hands. He pressed it hard behind the horse's ear and swore at the horse: "ÃÂGod damn it, damn it, damn it ""stop.' "ÃÂ¦ He began to squeeze the trigger and he squeezed it again and again and again"ÃÂ¦" (Pg 68) As Robert holds the gun towards the horse's head and swears repeatedly, he illustrates an act of complete madness and anger towards this innocent animal. Robert has no regard for the innocent horse, as he fires round after round at the creatures head. This act of complete madness demonstrates Robert's insanity.