The healthy human mind does not wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on Earth. But this is believed to be a luxury, not a curse. The soldiers that fought during World War One, unfortunately were not exposed to this mentality, instead they were exposed to the harsh reality that each day that they wake up may become their last. This, among many other factors takes a great toll on the soldiers psychologically and in some cases result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The psychological impact on the soldiers is portrayed through Timothy Findley's, The Wars and the various WW1 poets.
In The Wars, Rodwell is known as a soldier in the dugout who rescues wounded animals and keeps them in cages under his bunk. Rodwell is a kind and caring man who later took his own life after witnessing his fellow soldiers torture and kill a cat. "Apparently he'd gone 'down the line' and been assigned to a company who'd been in the trenches all through the fire storms without being relieved. Some of them were madmen. Half an hour later, Rodwell wandered into No Man's Land and put a bullet through his ears," (Findley 134-135). Throughout the novel, it becomes evident that Rodwell connects with animals and does all he can to help them. When the cat is tortured and killed he feels helpless and simply wants to take his own life. Robert has shown a liking for Rodwell, they have similar interests and both love animals so when Rodwell takes his own life it simultaneously takes a toll on Robert. Robert having heard the news of Rodwells suicide almost goes mad as well. Another portrayal of suicide is in Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches, "I knew a simple soldier boy who grinned at life in empty joy () In winter trenches cowed and glum, with crumps and lice and lack of rum. He put a bullet through his brain," (Sassoon 1,2,5-8). Sassoon outlines that the soldier used to be a very joyful person who was broken down by the conditions of war in the trenches and eventually wanted to take his own life.