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The Wars vs. "Exposure"

            War brings forth both the best and worst of mankind; from the untold acts of heroism vividly displayed on the front lines to the tragic deaths of innocent young men who have not yet had the chance to live. Glamour and beauty are not concepts congruent with war, and Timothy Findley's novel The Wars and Wilfred Owen's poem "Exposure" superbly demonstrate the lack of these ideals. Each of these literary pieces portrays a pessimistic view about the possibility of a person remaining sane when faced with the brutality and savagery of war. The conclusions of these two works demonstrate the derangement suffered by the main character while depicting the events of the First World War. The explorations into the mental and physical aspects of war as well as the destruction of nature are all thoroughly compared and contrasted throughout both The Wars and "Exposure".
             In similar ways The Wars and "Exposure" convey the message that the implications of war are not merely physical, and go far beyond injury to the body. Destruction of the human spirit is a direct result of the conditions that exist both in the trenches and through the relationships and personal interactions that the characters experience under those conditions. Throughout The Wars the main character Robert Ross is exposed to the emotional and physical Hell known as war. An excursion to a local brothel, a barbarous rape, the enemy as well as the ever-worsening weather conditions are all factors in Robert's loss of sanity forwards the conclusion of the novel. Solely the main character did not experience the tragic mental affects of war. Robert himself believed that the men with whom he had stood on the front lines with were too psychologically scarred to return to their normal lives. Timothy Findley shows the emotional destruction that Robert would have seen had he been a real life soldier fighting in WWI. "His assailants, who he"d thought were crazies, had been his fellow soldiers.

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