The Wars by Timothy Findley

Essay by missvanessa December 2003

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The animal imagery in Timothy Findley's The Wars, is used creatively to develop a better understanding of the main character Robert Ross while reflecting on the situations that he faces.

The first animal that Robert encounters is a coyote. In this particular book, the coyote symbolizes Robert learning how to become a good solider in the war and his first connection with animals. In the beginning of this book, Robert is admitted into the army and states that he does not know how to kill and that what he would want would be a model. "Someone who could teach him by example, how to kill. Who killed as an exercise of the will." (p. 24). Then that following night when the idea of wanting a role model to learn how to become a solider, he ran into a coyote and ran with him for 30 minutes. While Robert was watching the coyote "passing by two gophers sitting upright - rising and falling - whistling to one another" (p.

26), he noticed that the coyote did nothing. "It must've seen them too, but it didn't vary its pace at all - it didn't even come down off its toes. And when it came to the place where the gophers had been sitting, neither did it pause to scuffle the burrows of ever to sniff at them. It just went right on trotting - forward towards its goal." (p. 26). This experience that Robert had that night taught him that in order to be a good solider you must have a goal, and only kill when necessary. Other than Robert learning how to become a good solider, the coyote also seems to be able to sense Robert's connection to animals and is not threatened by his presence. "He recognized the...