The Wars

The Wars

by

Timothy Findley

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Trench warfare Term Analysis

A style of combat in which troops are stationed in trenches dug into the ground as a means of protection from gunfire and artillery. Trench warfare in World War I was grueling and traumatic for soldiers, as men spent long stretches of time in these mud-filled trenches and often developed waterborne diseases or drowned if they were not wounded or killed by enemy fire.

Trench warfare Quotes in The Wars

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

In another hole there was a rat that was alive but trapped because of the waterlogged condition of the earth that kept collapsing every time it tried to ascend the walls. Robert struck a match and caught the rat by the tail. It squealed as he lifted it over the edge and set it free. Robert wondered afterwards if setting the rat free had been a favour—but in the moment that he did it he was thinking: here is someone still alive. And the word alive was amazing.

Related Characters: Robert Ross
Related Symbols: The Four Elements
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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:

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:
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Trench warfare Term Timeline in The Wars

The timeline below shows where the term Trench warfare appears in The Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 6
Trauma and War Theme Icon
...of the Canadian troops are deployed after this time and are assigned to objectives in trenches in towns, villages, and the surrounding woods. (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 for the past week, devastating the trenches and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...the next morning, the Germans set off a string of land mines in Ypres. The trenches around Robert’s dugout are blown up, and he takes shelter under his bunk with Rodwell’s... (full context)
Part 3
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
Robert struggles to survey the devastated trenches amidst the fire and smoke from burst shells. He climbs through the debris-ridden, waterlogged trenches... (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 of dead and wounded soldiers. Only the wounded are allowed... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Blame, Revenge, and Justice Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...will haunt him for the rest of his life. On their way back through the trench, Robert and the other soldiers find that everyone else is dead, having either been gassed... (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
...the Germans have invented a flamethrower that is “the ultimate weapon,” able to vaporize entire trenches of men into dust. (full context)
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...himself. He was assigned “down the line” to a company who had been in the trenches and driven to madness during the fire storms. These men forced Rodwell to watch them... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 7
Trauma and War Theme Icon
Honor, Duty, and Heroism Theme Icon
...alongside the road are piled high with corpses. Robert has not yet fought in the trenches because all of his time is spent with the convoys. Although the British are gaining... (full context)