The Wars

The Wars


Timothy Findley

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A term first coined during World War I that referred to the slew of painful mental symptoms that many soldiers grappled with. Common symptoms include intrusive flashbacks, dissociation, and nightmares. It can also lead to poor emotional regulation, substance abuse, and suicide. Shell shock was rampant among soldiers in World War I, who were left traumatized by the violence they experienced. It is likely that Levitt and Captain Taffler, among others in the novel, suffer from shell shock. Shell shock is clearly what contemporary readers know as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the name PTSD didn’t become widely used until after the Vietnam War, so the book never calls it as such.

Shell shock Quotes in The Wars

The The Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Shell shock or refer to Shell shock. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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