The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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The Wars: Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On Good Friday (April 2, 1915), Robert stands at a train station in Ontario, feeling shy and uneasy amidst the crowd. He is annoyed to see a young girl watching him from down the platform and reflects on his fallout with Heather Lawson, who made a scene at a Ross family party when Robert refused to fight another boy who she claimed was in love with her.
At eighteen years old, Robert’s timidity and confusion toward women show that he is innocent and naive, making the knowledge that he will go on to be arrested for a war crime all the more mysterious. 
Themes
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Robert continues to stand immobilized on the train platform, catching the attention of the Station Master. He asks Robert if he has come to Ontario to join the Field Artillery, and Robert answers yes. He then leaves the train station and walks in the rain through the town, imagining that the mist from the melting snow on the ground is filled with the memories of his life. He is unsure of which direction go in and feels that he is paralyzed because Rowena was buried the day before.
Rowena’s death has left Robert in a disoriented state between childhood and adulthood; the serious nature of his decision to join the army only emphasizes his youthful inexperience. The melting snow symbolizes this internal change that Robert is undergoing, as his childhood innocence seem to be similarly disintegrating.
Themes
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon