The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Corporal Bates Character Analysis

An officer from Regina, Saskatchewan, who is in charge of the Mortar Squads in St. Eloi, whom Robert Ross is paired up with him after his dugout is bombed. Robert leads Bates and the other men on an operation to reposition the guns in the forward trench. He appreciates Bates because, unlike other soldiers, he has not been become jaded or detached from the horrors of war. When the Germans attack them with chlorine gas, Robert saves the lives of Bates and the other Mortar Squad men by having them cover their faces with urine-soaked rags in order to neutralize the chlorine with the natural ammonia in the urine.

Corporal Bates Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Corporal Bates or refer to Corporal Bates. 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:
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Corporal Bates Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Corporal Bates 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
...is crazy because they will sink in the mud. He then introduces Robert to Corporal Bates, who is in charge of the Mortar Squads. After warning Robert that these men are... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Robert and Bates lead twenty-two men through the remains of the trenches. Robert likes Bates because his attitude... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
When Robert, Bates, and their men reach the remains of the forward trench, they find it still full... (full context)
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert spots an object in the distance and tells Bates they will head toward that. He instructs Bates to wait to enter the crater until... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...blue fog appears overhead. Robert orders the men to put on their gas masks, but Bates tells him they were not issued any due to the hasty nature of the operation.... (full context)
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...the tails off of their shirts, urinate on them, and wrap them around their faces. Bates’s terror prevents him from urinating, so Robert pees on the cloth himself and slaps it... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...binoculars down, noticing that the soldier is around his age. At first Robert quietly orders Bates and the others to stay silent and covered under the snow, but the German seems... (full context)