The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Rodwell Character Analysis

A visiting soldier from Lahore who is one of Robert Ross’s bunkmates in the dugout at St. Eloi. Rodwell shares Robert’s love of animals and keeps a pet toad and other small creatures in cages under his bed to protect them from the fighting. This compassion reminds Robert of his sister Rowena and her pet rabbits. Rodwell is a sweet, innocent soul who illustrates children’s books with realistic sketches of animals. After the Battle of St. Eloi, he is sent to join another company and leaves Robert his toad, sketchbooks, and a letter to his daughter for safekeeping. Rodwell is driven to suicide when the men in his new company (who have been driven mad by trench warfare) force him to watch them torture small animals.

Rodwell Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Rodwell or refer to Rodwell. 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

Robert sat on his bed in the old hotel at Bailleul and read what Rodwell had written.

To my daughter, Laurine;

Love your mother
Make your prayers against despair.
I am alive in everything I touch. Touch these pages and you have me in your fingertips. We survive in one another. Everything lives forever. Believe it. Nothing ever dies.

I am your father always.

Related Characters: Rodwell (speaker), Robert Ross
Page Number: 150-151
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wars PDF

Rodwell Character Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Rodwell appears in The Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 7
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...of the dugout and Bonnycastle tells him that it belongs to a visiting soldier named Rodwell who saves injured animals like birds, rabbits, and hedgehogs and keeps them under his bed.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...most. Over dinner, Levitt insults Bonnycastle by quoting Clausewitz’s suggestion that the artillery is absurd. Rodwell defuses the tension by changing the subject to animals and bonding with Levitt over their... (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 a myth.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...trenches around Robert’s dugout are blown up, and he takes shelter under his bunk with Rodwell’s animals. In a battle that stretches out over five days, 30,000 men are killed, yet... (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... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
...Robert tells him to help Poole fix the brazier so they can make tea later. Rodwell, who is caked with mud, hopes that the rainclouds will pass so that the ground... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
The men try their best to regroup in the midst of this chaos. Rodwell and Poole repair the roof of the dugout, while Levitt goes mad and sits immobilized... (full context)
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...and the fighting seems to be over as the fire on the ground is extinguished. Rodwell reappears and says goodbye, as he is being transferred. He entrusts Robert with his toad,... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
A few days later, Robert receives word that Rodwell shot himself. He was assigned “down the line” to a company who had been in... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...is sent from St. Eloi to England. On the train ride there, he flips through Rodwell’s sketchbook and is shocked to see a several drawings of himself mixed in with the... (full context)
Part 4
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...they’ve loved has died.”  After healing from his surgery, Robert departs from St. Aubyn’s, leaving Rodwell’s sketchbooks behind for Juliet. As a gesture of apology for intruding on him and Barbara,... (full context)