The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Captain Leather Character Analysis

Robert Ross’s O.C. (Officer Commanding) from Wytsbrouk. Robert first meets Captain Leather after his dugout is bombed in the Battle of St. Eloi. Leather unsympathetic toward his men and detached from the dangers of the war, making haphazard strategic plans and careless orders from a distance and leaving his subordinate soldiers to fend for themselves. He is quick to criticize others for their actions despite his own cowardice. When Leather refuses to let Robert save their company’s horses and mules from impending shellfire, Robert and his fellow soldier Devlin disobey his orders, and Leather kills Devlin. Robert avenges this act by shooting and killing Leather.

Captain Leather Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Leather or refer to Captain Leather. 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 3 Quotes

This—to Bates—was the greatest terror of war: what you didn’t know of the men who told you what to do—where to go and when. What if they were mad—or stupid? What if their fear was greater than yours? Or what if they were brave and crazy—wanting and demanding bravery from you? He looked away. He thought of being born—and trusting your parents. Maybe that was the same. Your parents could be crazy too. Or stupid. Still—he’d rather his father was with him—telling him what to do. Then he smiled. He knew that his father would take one look at the crater and tell him not to go.

Page Number: 132-133
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5, Chapter 8 Quotes

He got out the Webley, meaning to shoot the animals not yet dead, but he paused for the barest moment looking at the whole scene laid out before him and his anger rose to such a pitch that he feared he was going to go over into madness. He stood where the gate had been and he thought: “If an animal had done this—we would call it mad and shoot it,” and at that precise moment Captain Leather rose to his knees and began to struggle to his feet. Robert shot him between the eyes.

Related Characters: Robert Ross, Captain Leather, Devlin
Related Symbols: Horses
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
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Captain Leather Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Leather appears in The Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Captain Leather , Robert’s company commander, arrives from Wytsbrouk and asks Robert to explain the situation. Leather... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...most terrifying part of war is having to trust orders from strangers (like Robert and Captain Leather ) who might be mad, stupid, or crazy. (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
The men dig out a site to set up the guns according to Captain Leather ’s orders. Robert notices one of the gunners throwing mud into the pools below like... (full context)
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...entrusts Robert with his toad, sketchbooks, and a letter addressed to his daughter for safekeeping. Captain Leather finally makes an appearance, commanding Robert, Levitt, Poole, and Devlin to return to Wytsbrouk while... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 8
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...eight hours in three days and subsisting on chocolate bars, tea, and rum. He asks Captain Leather if he can make a strategic retreat with his new supply of horses and mules... (full context)
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...stand it. Devlin agrees to help him disobey orders and save the horses and mules. Captain Leather sees them releasing the animals from his office and runs outside, screaming at them to... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
As Robert comes out of the stable Captain Leather yells that he is a traitor and threatens to shoot him. Shells continue to fall... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...other animal causing this terrible destruction would have been called mad and shot. Just then, Captain Leather begins to struggle to his feet and Robert shoots him between the eyes. Robert spends... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 11
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
...opening passage from the prologue. Having wandered alone for a week since the incident with Captain Leather , Robert sits watching the black mare and the black dog on the railroad tracks.... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 14
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...was brought to the hospital where she worked on June 18, 1916. Because Robert killed Captain Leather (and possibly Private Cassles), a Military Police officer was kept with him at all times,... (full context)