The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Clifford Purchas Character Analysis

A former classmate of Robert Ross at St. Andrews boarding school, who also becomes a soldier and trains with Robert in Lethbridge, Alberta, as part of a detail that breaks wild mustangs to use as military horses. He accompanies Robert on a mission to find two horses that have gone missing, where they inadvertently meet Captain Taffler. Clifford is naïve and immature but takes the war seriously, believing that it is his opportunity to become a man. Near the end of the novel, Robert happens upon Clifford’s dead body lying in the middle of a road near Wytsbrouk.

Clifford Purchas Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Clifford Purchas or refer to Clifford Purchas. 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 1, Chapter 21 Quotes

Oddly, too, he didn’t feel like sending love to anyone. It seemed unmanly. What he did do was enclose a photograph (official) and say to his father: “This will show you that my draft makes a brawling, husky lot of men. Not quite gunners or drivers yet—just as I can’t quite feel that I am a soldier myself.”

Related Characters: Robert Ross (speaker), Mr. Thomas Ross, Peggy Ross, Clifford Purchas
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 23 Quotes

Ord said hoarsely that since he was going to do a boy’s work he must read the “stuff of which boys are made” and smiled. Clifford didn’t appreciate the humor. To him, the war was a deadly serious and heaven-sent choice to become a man.

Related Characters: Captain Ord (speaker), Robert Ross, Clifford Purchas
Page Number: 59-60
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wars PDF

Clifford Purchas Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Clifford Purchas 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
...in France. After the horses are corralled, they discover that two are missing. Robert and Clifford Purchas, a former classmate of his at St. Andrew’s, volunteer to ride out into the... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Suddenly, Robert and Clifford come upon a shirtless figure throwing stones at a row of bottles, with a horse... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...the enemy lines, likening both sides to “one little David against another.” As Robert and Clifford leave, Robert wonders if Taffler really wants the challenge of a Goliath. While they ride... (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... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 16
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...a prostitute named Ella forces Robert to pair up with her. Everyone continues dancing, and Clifford eventually falls down drunk and is carried upstairs by the Swede. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...and the other soldiers celebrated his nineteenth birthday, drinking a bottle of wine provided by Clifford Purchas and drunkenly singing songs in the latrine after lights out. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21
Trauma and War Theme Icon
As the S.S. Massanabie prepares to embark, Robert is placed in a stateroom with Clifford Purchas, Captain Ord, and a young soldier named Harris. A storm appears to be brewing,... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...off, but that the automatic Colt revolver Tom had gotten him was the wrong one. Clifford suggests that Robert should “send his love” to Peggy, but Robert feels that this would... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...his voice and spends the rest of the journey in bed reading G.A. Henty novels. Clifford, on the other hand, takes the trip seriously, viewing the war as “deadly serious” and... (full context)
Part 3
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert remembers being in chemistry class with Clifford Purchas years ago and learning that the natural ammonia in urine could turn chloride into... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 7
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...the middle of the road. Robert rolls the man over and discovers that it is Clifford Purchas. (full context)