The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Wars can help.

Captain Eugene Taffler Character Analysis

A soldier whom Robert Ross and Clifford Purchas meet on the prairie during their training in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is a decorated hero who is renowned among Robert’s fellow soldiers, having returned to Canada after being wounded in France and been assigned to supervise the military horses before being reposted overseas. Robert admires Taffler’s unbridled confidence and athleticism, viewing him as a role model who might teach him how to fight courageously. His romanticized image of Taffler is shattered, however, when he sees him having sex with a man (the Swede) at a brothel. Later, once Robert has shipped off to England, he sees Taffler with Barbara d’Orsey (who he is presumably dating) visiting Captain Jamie Villiers at the same hospital where Harris is staying. Taffler and Barbara help Robert scatter Harris’s ashes after he dies of pneumonia, and Robert does not see him again until he receives an invitation to stay at St. Aubyn’s convalescence hospital bearing Taffler’s forged signature. Here, he finds that Taffler has lost both of his arms in battle. Soon after, young Juliet d’Orsey walks in on Taffler trying to commit suicide by unraveling his bandages and rubbing his wounds on the wall. Though Juliet knows that Taffler does not want to live, she calls for help and he receives an operation that saves him from bleeding to death.

Captain Eugene Taffler Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Eugene Taffler or refer to Captain Eugene Taffler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Trauma and War Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Australia edition of The Wars published in 1995.
Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

All he wanted was a dream. Escape. But nobody dreams on a battlefield. There isn’t any sleep that long. Dreams and distance are the same. If he could run away…like Longboat. Put on his canvas shoes and the old frayed shirt and tie the cardigan around his waist and take on the prairie…But he kept running into Taffler. Throwing stones. And Harris.

Related Characters: Robert Ross, Captain Eugene Taffler, Harris
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

And what I hate these days is the people who weren’t there and they look back and say we became inured. Your heart froze over—yes. But to say we got used to it! God—that makes me so angry! No. Everything was sharp. Immediate. Men and women like Robert and Barbara—Harris and Taffler…you met and you saw so clearly and cut so sharply into one another’s lives. So there wasn’t any rubbish. You lived without the rubbish of intrigue and the long drawn-out propriety of romance and you simply touched the other person with your life.

Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wars PDF

Captain Eugene Taffler Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Eugene Taffler appears in The Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 13
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...horse and a dog by his side. Clifford tells Robert that the man is Eugene Taffler, a Captain who had been wounded in France and was sent back to Canada. Taffler... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Taffler tells them that there are only one hundred yards between Canadian soldiers and the enemy... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Eventually, Robert and Clifford find the missing mustangs. On their way back, Robert thinks that Taffler may be the “model” he has been looking for to teach him how to be... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...full of “spoiled goods.” On their way into Wet Goods, Robert is surprised to see Taffler’s horse and dog hitched outside the brothel. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 17
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...and a rider. Robert looks away in horror, realizing that the man being ridden is Taffler and the rider is the Swede. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...He longs to escape into a dream or run away like Longboat, but thoughts of Taffler and Harris keep him awake.:” (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
One evening at the hospital, Robert runs into Taffler and a woman named Lady Barbara d’Orsey, who are there to visit a man encased... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...sister Barbara met Robert because of Harris and Jamie Villiers, the bandaged man Barbara and Taffler visited in the hospital. Jamie was a close friend of Julie and Barbara’s brother Clive,... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...cremated instead, which horrified Robert. In lieu of a burial at sea, Robert, Barbara, and Taffler decided to scatter Harris’s ashes on the Thames River. (full context)
Part 4
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...1916, Robert returns from the Battle of St. Eloi and receives an invitation (bearing Captain Taffler’s forged signature) to go stay at St. Aubyn’s. (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...blow out the candles in the room if the ghost lights them. Robert inquires about Taffler several times, and when he is finally taken to Taffler’s room he is shocked to... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
One afternoon, Juliet picks daffodils to take to Captain Taffler. She sees Robert and Barbara come out of Taffler’s room and embrace. A short while... (full context)