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The Wars

             History is often thought of as a set of facts, or numbers and dates. These numbers are supposed to help the people who are alive in the present to understand what happened in the past. But how can someone who is alive in the present be expected to understand something that happened many years before they were even born? The reality is that people cannot understand the past unless they have something with which to connect it to their present. In order to make this connection, the numbers and facts which make up history must be brought to life in the present, through emotions which are timeless, and can be understood and experienced by both historical characters and present-day people. In the historical novel, The Wars, author Timothy Findley makes the reader aware that the reading and writing of history needs active involvement on the part of the reader and writer. Findley emphasizes that in order for the reader to understand the historical elements of the novel, there must be a connection of emotions between the characters in his novel, and the emotions of the reader in his or her life.
             Findley immediately forces the reader to become active in the reading of his novel. He does this by giving the reader the role of the researcher who must gather information on the main character, Robert Ross. He addresses the researcher as "You", which is a way for Findley to directly speak to his reader. The reason Findley uses this unique style is to help the reader understand the emotions of the historical event. The reader is not just spoon-fed facts, but rather understands the process of gathering those facts to begin with. This results in the reader gaining a better understanding of the facts he or she is about to be subjected to. For example, if there is a character that is unable to recall what happened in the war because it is too painful for them, the reader will be able .

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