The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Levitt Character Analysis

Robert Ross’s fellow junior officer who becomes one of his bunkmates in the dugout at St. Eloi. He is helpful and resourceful, risking his own life to save Robert and Willie Poole from drowning in the muddy ditches. Despite this, Robert reflects that Levitt acts out of cold practicality rather than genuine courage. Levitt’s knapsack is full of books; he is particularly obsessed with reading Clausewitz on War, a military strategy book which Findley quotes in the epigraph of the novel. After the dugout is bombed in the battle of St. Eloi, Levitt is driven mad and becomes catatonic.

Levitt Quotes in The Wars

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

Poole said: “You needn’t worry about the Germans here, sir. They’re a long ways off yet. At least as much as two miles or more.”

Levitt said: “Oh.” He seemed somehow demoralized by this news. Perhaps he thought you weren’t in the war unless the enemy could shoot you. In this he was much like everyone else who’d just arrived. You weren’t a real soldier unless you were in jeopardy.

Related Characters: Levitt (speaker), Willie Poole (speaker), Robert Ross
Related Symbols: The Four Elements
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wars PDF

Levitt Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Levitt appears in The Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 3
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Eventually, junior officer Levitt emerges with Poole’s bugle and tells Robert that the orderly and his horse drowned to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Eventually, Poole and Levitt catch up to Robert and help him up. Once his eyes have cleared, Robert looks... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert, Levitt, and the other junior officers alternate between convoy and battery duties. Robert and another man... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert and Levitt oversee the men who are fighting in trenches with mortars. The fighting has been continuous... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Robert and Levitt relieve two other men, Devlin and Bonnycastle, from their position in the dugout. Devlin, who... (full context)
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...and cigarettes to share with the other men. Devlin and Bonnycastle are delighted. They ask Levitt what he has in his sack, teasing him when they find out it is full... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...men in the dugout, which is well-furnished, “civilized,” and “proper” compared to most. Over dinner, Levitt insults Bonnycastle by quoting Clausewitz’s suggestion that the artillery is absurd. Rodwell defuses the tension... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Lying in his dugout bunk, Robert thinks about how strange Levitt and Rodwell are, reflecting that everyone is strange in war and that “ordinary” must be... (full context)
Part 3
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert’s dugout is bombed by the Germans. After the roof caves in, he, Rodwell, and Levitt are disoriented and surrounded by debris. Levitt clings to his copy of Clausewitz on War... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
...is one of genuine awe rather than detachment. They arrive back at Robert’s dugout, where Levitt is disturbingly calm. Robert tells him to help Poole fix the brazier so they can... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...the midst of this chaos. Rodwell and Poole repair the roof of the dugout, while Levitt goes mad and sits immobilized with his books piled up on his knees. Devlin, Bonnycastle,... (full context)
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...letter addressed to his daughter for safekeeping. Captain Leather finally makes an appearance, commanding Robert, Levitt, Poole, and Devlin to return to Wytsbrouk while Bonnycastle and Roots stay with the men.... (full context)