A Comparison of Timothy Findlay's "The Wars" and Robert Altman's film "M.A.S.H.".

Essay by superclownA, October 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.3 1 reviews

Downloaded 57 times

The Wars and M*A*S*H: Two Miracles Linked by Fate.

Looking back at the past hundred years, some might say that the travesty of war was one of the most prominent recurring themes of the 20th century. No matter how many wars were fought, peace never seemed to be achieved, and in the process millions of lives were lost. For the first portion of the 20th century, most people naturally accepted the conventions of war and all that it encompassed, but in the late 60's, as the war in Vietnam raged on, and more and more Americans became involved in a confrontation that had no foreseeable conclusion, many began to question war and it's several obvious absurdities. Among the anti-war works produced during the period of the Vietnam War and shortly after were The Wars by Timothy Findlay and the film M*A*S*H directed by Robert Altman. Although The Wars takes place during the first world war and M*A*S*H occurs nearly 40 years later during the conflict in Korea, both works deal with the absurdities of war as experienced by flawed protagonists whom the viewer/reader can relate to.

One key theme addressed in both M*A*S*H and The Wars, is that of a newcomer being thrust into close confines with complete strangers and being forced to create strong relationships in a relatively short period of time. In The Wars the protagonist, Robert Ross spends much of the book confined in enclosed spaces, such as the ship on route to Europe and his barracks in France where he meets several other soldiers, some of whom he dislikes, and others, like Rodwell and Harris whom he holds dear. It is these relationships, which drive much of the action in the book, because war tends to take away friends as quickly as it helps to...