Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley Discussion

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Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionEvocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionORDER NOW FOR CUSTOMIZED AND ORIGINAL ESSAY PAPERS I’m working on a writing Discussion and need a sample draft to help me understand better. This is a 200 words critical thinking discuss question which requires to Examine Findley’s narrative style in his novel ‘The Wars’, such as evocative descriptions of settings and characters, vignettes, letters, diary entries, interviews and direct reporting, the examples used to describe should be specific, more details are in the enclosure. No references needed. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley Discussion 2 attachmentsSlide 1 of 2attachment_1attachment_1attachment_2attachment_2In such dangerousthings as war the errors which proceedfrom a spirit of benevolence are the worst. von Clausewitz One Prologue She win standingin the middle of the railroad tracks. Her head was bowed and her right front hoof was raisedas if she rested. Her reins hung down to the ground and her saddlehad slipped to one side.Behind her, a wzrehousefilled with medicalsupplies had just caught fire. Lying’besideher there w:N a dog with its head betweenits pawsand its earserectand listening. Twenty feet away,Robert sat on his hauncheswatchingthern. His pistol hung down from his fingers betweenhis knees. He still wore his uniform with its torn lapelsand burned sleeves. In the firelieht, his eyeswere very bright. His lips were slightly parted.He could not breathethrough his nose.It was broken. His faceand the backsof his handswerestreakedwith clay and sweat.His hair hung down acrosshis forehead.He wasabsolutely still. He had wanderednow for over a week. Behind him, the railroad track stretchedback towards the town. In front of him, it reachedout through the fire towards the open countrysideand the road to Magdalenewood. on one of the sidingswas a train. Its engineerand crew had either abandonedit, or elsethey had beenkilled. It could not be told. RoberJappearedto be the solesurvivor. He stood up. The enginehissedand rumbled.The train was about a dozencars – no more. They appearedto be cattle cars. Robert Walkedto the horse. He had fearedshemight be lame,but assoonashe approached she put her hoof back down on the cindersand raisedher head. Robert pettedher, slippinghis arm around her neckand drawing the reins back over her ears.She greetedhim with a snuffling noise and looked around to watch him as he adjusted her saddleand tightenedher cinch.The dog, in the meantime,had got to his feet and was wagginghis tail. It was as if both dog and horsehad beenwaiting for Robert to come for them. The horse was a fine black mare, standing about sixteen hands. She had been well cared for up till now and someone had obviously ridden her every day. She was in superb condition. The dog apparently was used to her company and she to his. They moved in tandem. The dog was also black. One of his ears fell forward in an odd w&y, giving the appearance of a jaunty cap. Robert did not know what sort of dog he was, but he was about the size of a Labrador retriever. Before mounting, Robert reached down and rubbed his hand across the dog’s back. Then he said:’let’s go’and swung up into the saddle. They rode down the track towards the road to Magdalene Wood passing, as they went, the engine on the siding. When they got to the first of the cars – the horse stopped. She threw her head up and whinnied. Other horses answered from inside ‘Then ‘All we shall all go together.’ right,’ Robert said. the car. Half an hour later, the twelve cars stood quite empty and Robert was riding along the tracks behind a hundred and thirty horses with the dog trotting beside him. They were on the road to Magdalene Wood by 1 a.m. This w.ls when the moon rose – red. 10 All of this happeneda long time ago. But not so long ago that everyonewho played a part in it is dead. Some can still be met in dark old rooms with nursesin attendan@.They look at you and rearrangetheir thoughts. They say: ‘I don’t remember.’The occupantsof memory haveto be protectedfrorn strangers. Ask what happened,they say:’I don’t know.’ Mention Robert Ross- they look away. ‘He’s dead,’ they tell you. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionThis is not news.’Tell me about the horses,’youask.Sometimes, they weep at this. Other times they say: ‘that bastard!’ Then the nursesnod at you, much as to say-you see?It’s bestto go away and find your information somewhereelse.In the end, the only facts you have are public. Out of theseyou make what you can, knowing that one thing leadsto another. Sometime,someone will forget hirnself and say too much or else the corner of a 10 picture will reveal the whole. What you have to accept at the outset is this: many men have died like Robert Ross, obscured by violence. Lawrence was hurled against a wall Scott entombed in ice and wind – Mallory blastedon the faceof Everest. Lost. We’re told Euripides was killed by dogs – and this is all we know. The flesh was torn and scattered- eaten. Ross was consumedby fire. These are like statements:’pay attention!’ Peoplecan only be found in what they do. 20 You begrn at the archives with photographs. Robert and Rowena rabbits and wheelchairs- children, dogs and horses. Barbara d’Orsey – the ,S.,S,Massanabie- Magdalene Wood. Boxesand boxesof snapshotsand portraits; maps and letters; cablegramsand clippings from the papers.All you have to do is sign them out and carry them acrossthe room. Spread over table tops, a whole age lies in fragmentsunderneaththe lamps. The war to endall wars.AII you can hear is the wristwatch on your arm. Outside, it snows. The dark comes early. The archivist is gaz.rngfrom her desk. She coughs.The boxes smell of yellow dust. You hold your breath.As the pastmovesunder your fingertips, part of it crumbles. Other parts, you know you’ll neverfind. This is what you have. 30 1915. The year itself looks sepia and soiled muddied like its pictures.In the snapshotseveryoneat first seemstimid – lost irresolute.Boys and men stand squintingat the camera.Women turn away suspicious.They still maintain a public reticence. Part of what you seeyou recognize.Here for the first time, the old Edwardianelegancefalters.Styleis neitherthis nor that unlessyou could say it was ‘apologetic’.The men wearcapsand shapelessovercoatsto work, jamming their hands deep into pockets.Imitation uniforms spring up everywhere:girls wear ‘middy’s’- boysare dressedin sallorsuits.Womenweara sort of great coat and flat brimmed hats with rosettebadges.Ladies l1 no longer wear their furs; they drape them from their arms with all the foxtail trophieshangingdown like scalps.No one smiles. Life is dangerous. Summer induces the parasol winter the galosh. Some of the photographs are blurred. Even though the figures freez&- the dark machinesthat fill the roads move on. Here is the Boys’ Brigadewith band. Backyardminstrels,got up in cork, bang their tambourinesand strut acrossa lawn on Admiral Road. Every parlour has its piano: here are soldiers, arm in arm and singing: ‘Keep Your Head Down,Fritzie Boy!’ Tea-Dance partners do the Castlewalk to orchestrasof brass cornetsand silver sorophones.Violins have beenretired. This is the age of motorized portation. Over one thousand makes of motorcar can be had. Backyard blacksmiths build them to custom.AsK THE MAN WHO OWNSONE! Here are families, sitting overdressedin Packards- posed aloof in the backs of Chewolets and Russell Knights. Everyone, it seems, is journeyingaround the block. Children vie to blow the horns. Then somethinghappens.April. Ypres. Six thousand dead and wounded. The war that was meant to end by Christmas might not end till summer.Maybe even fall. This is where the picturesalter – fill up with soldiers- horses- wagons.Everyone is waving either at the soldiersor the cameftN.More and more people want to be seen. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionMore and more people want to be remembered.Hundreds- thousandscrowd into frame. Here come the troops down Yonge Street! Women abandon all their former reticenceand rush out into the roadway,throwing flowersand wavingflags.Here comethe 48th Hightanders!!Kilts and drums and leopard skins. Boys race after them on bikes. Little girls, whose mouths hang op€tr, hardly dare to follow. Older men removetheir hats. There is Sir SamHughesstanding on the dais,takingthe farewellsalute.’coD sAvETHEKING! ! !’ (a banner).Everyvhereyou look, trainsarepullingout of stations, ships are sailing out of ports. Music drowns the long hurrah. Everyoneis focused,now, shading their eyes against the sun. Everyoneis watchingwith an outstretchedarm – silencedat the edgeof wharvesand time. Robert Ross comes riding straight towards the camera. His lwt lns fallen of. His lnnds are knotted to the reins. They bleed. t2 The horse is black and wet and falttnf . Robert’s lips are parted. He leans along the horse’s neck. His eyes are blank. There r mud on his cheeks and forehead and his uniform l’s burning Iong, bright tails of flanu are streaming out behindhim. He leaps throughmemorywithouta sound.Thearchivist sighs.Her eyesare loweredabovesome book. Thereis a strand of lnir in her mouth. She brushesit aside and turns the page. You lay the fiery image back in your mind and let it rest. You know it will obtrudeagain and again until you find its meaning- here. A Band is assembledon the Band Shell – red coatsand white gloves.They serenadethe crowd with ‘Soldiers of the Queen’. You turn them over – wonderingif they’ll spill – and you read on the back in the faintest ink in a feminine hand: ‘ Robert’. But where? You look again and all you seeis the crowd. And the Band is still playing- quite undistubed – and far from spilled. Then you seehim: Robert Ross.Standingon the sidelineswith pocketed hands – feet apart and narrowed eyes. His hair falls sidewaysacross his forehead. He wears a checkeredcap and dark blue suit. He watches with a dubious expression;half admiring – half reluctant to admire. He’s old enougfrto go to war. He hasn’tgone.He doubtsthe validity in all this martialling of men but the doubt is inarticulate. It stammersin his brain. He puts his hand out sideways:turns. He reachesfor the wicker back of a wheelchair. ‘Come on, Rowena. There’s still the rest of the park to sit in.’ Thomas Ross and Family stand beside a new Ford Truck. The new Ford Truck is parked before the gatesof nayrraoNo/ Ross rNDusrRrns, wherefarm machineryis made,This picture will appearin the Toront o Mail and Empire with a bannerheadline, stating that the truck is being turned over to the RAyMoND/noss Field SurgeryHospital behindthe lines in France. Large red crossesadorn its sides.The ‘family’ consistsof Mister and Mrs Ross and three of their children: Robert, peggy and Stuart.Rowena,the eldest,is not shown.Sheis neverin photographsthat are apt to be seenby the public. In fact, she is not much admitted into the presen@of a camera.Robert has her picture on his bureau. 13 Rowenais seatedin her scallopedwicker chair with the high, double wheels. She wears a white dress.Her hair is curly and short. Her shouldersare perpetually hunched. Her head is large and adult but her body is that of a ten-year-old child. She is twenty-five yearsold. She is what is called hydrocephalic- which in plain languagemeansshe was born with water on the brain. Her expression is lovely and pensive. She wears a wide and colourful sash.In her lap she holds a large white rabbit. Robert told her once, she was the first human being he remembered seeing.He was lying in his crib and, waking from a nap through half-closedeyes,he saw his sister gliding in her chair acrossthe room and coming to rest besidehim. Shestaredat him for a long, long time and he stared back. When she smiled, he thought she was his mother. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionLater, when he came to rcalize she couldn’t walk and never left the chair, he becameher guardian. It was for her he learnedto run. Mother and Miss Davenport, wearing their canteen aprofft, stand on the platform at SunnysideStation handing out chocolate bars to the soldierswho are leaningout of trains. They do this every Thursday afternoon. Robert wishes his mother wouldn’t do suchthings becausehe’s shy and thinks sheappears too much in public. But Mrs Ross is adamant. Such things have to be done .. . sorneonehas to do them. The leadersof society are dutybound- and what would people say . … ? Etc. Etc. All the while, Miss Davenport is nodding and smiling: agreeingwith every word. But not one word of it is true. Mrs Ross performs her duties Thursday afternoons becauseof dreams. Here is Meg – a Patriotic Pony, draped in bunting, standing in a garden. Her ears lie flat. She is either angry or frightened. Meg is very old. Just at the edgeof the picture. Stuart can be seensquinting at the sun. He wearsan Indian headdressand he holds a baseballbat. This is Peggy Ross with Clinton Brown from Harvard!’!,! Nothing in Clinton Brown from Harvard’s appearan@warrants three exclamationpoints. He was only one of Peggy’smany beaux.Robert is in this picture too, seatedon the stepsof the South Drive house along with a girl called Heather Lawson. Robert wi$ supposedto be ‘interested’ in Heather Lawson but t4 the fact was it wasshewho was interestedin tlim. Not that Robert didn’t like her – only that he wasn’t interested.’Interested’led to marriage and this is what Heather l,awson wanted. So did her parents. Robert was a fine catch for any girl. He was a scholarand an athlete.Besides- he had money. One summer the Rossescrossed to England on the S.,S. Minnetonkain order to spend a holiday with the navuoNo/ Ross British representativg,whose name was Mister Hawkins. All through the month of June they languishedon the beaches of the Isle of Wight. fn late July they camehome on the Minnetonka’s sister-shipthe ^S.S:Minnewanka.Ftom the decksof this ship, early one morning, one of the Rosses(it was not clear which) – took a photograph of the ocean.Whoever it was, later drew an arrow – pointing to a small white dot on the far horizon. The small white dot can barely be seen.Nothing else is visible but seaand sky. Just abovethe arrow, written in bold black ink is the question:’wHAT rs THrs?’All too clearly,the small white dot is an iceberg.Why whoevertook the pictue failed to verify this fact remains a mystery. The thing is dated August 4th but no year is given. Shuffie these cards and lay them out: this is the hand that Robert Ross was born with. Mister and Mrs Ross – Peggyand Stuart – rabbits and Rowena. Also a dog named Bimbo and a clipping from the FoF€r, reading: ‘LoNGBoAT wrNs rHE MARATHoN!’ Meg and Miss Davenport- HeatherLawsonand the iceberg.And Clinton Brown from Harvard,who died a hero’s death at the battle for BelleauWood in Jtrneof 1918- worthy of an exclamationpoint at last. This is perhapsa good place to introduce Miss Turner, whose importancelies at the end of this story but whoseinsightsthrow some light on its beginnings. Marian Turner was a nurse in the Great World War and she remembersRobert vividly. It was she who received him and cared for him after he’d been arrested and brought into the hospitalat Bois de Madeleine.Shehas given(on tape) the only first-hand account of him we have aside from that of Lady Juliet d’Orsey.Here is part of what Miss Turner has to say.She is over eighty now, but still robust and she speakswith a good 15 deal of energy, sprinkling her conversation with laughter and offerings of sherry in a wide, greenapartment overlooking a park. Tfanscript: Marian Tfurner- I ‘You will understand,from what took place,why f cannot tell you what he looked like. I supposesuch things are of interest. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionWell of course they are! (r,luonrnn) Everyone wants to know what people look like. Somehow it seernsto say so much about a person’spossibilities.Do you know what I mean?What I can say is that Lady Barbara d’Orsey was in love with him and that all her other men were smashing! So I dare say Ross was,.too. Anyway, becauseof what happened I can’t remark about the face – but my impressionwas of someoneextremely well madewho caredabout his body. At leastthat’s my memory of it – the way it was. You get them all mixed up, after so long a time; and every boy they brought to us s€emedsuch a handsome lad. You neverhear that any more: he w(Nsucha handsomeladl But we werealwayssayingso in all the letterswe wrote to their families. I guessyou saw them all as beautiful becauseyou couldn’t bear to seethem broken. The human body – well – it’s like the mind I guess;terribly impressivetill you put it in jeopardy. Then it becomessuch a delicatething – like glass.Robert Ross? Well – it was just so tragic. When you think that nowadaysso many people- young peopleespecially- might’ve known what he was all about. But then . .. (pAusn) My opinion was – he wtts a hero. Not your everydaySergeantYork or Billy Bishop, You see,he mind you! (IAUGHTEn) But a hero nonetheless. did the thing that no one elsewould evendareto think of doing. And that to me’s as good a definition of a ‘hero’ as you’ll get. Even when the thing that’s done is something of which you disapprove.He wasun hommeunique-and that’s much more of a compliment in French than it is in English. Oh, he wits . .. (pausr) . .. Fire, you know – there’snothing worsethan fue. Evenafter all I’ve seen.And the story of the horsesis something I’d rather neverhave known had happened.Oh, I quite understand why you feel it must be told – but . . . (ulss TURNER TURNED TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW 16 AT THIS POINT. THEREIs eurrE A LoNG pAusE oN THE’TApE). . . Well. It was the war that was crary,I guess.Not Robert Ross or what he did. You’ll saythat’s trite, of course.But is it ? Looking back, I hardly believewhat happened.That the peoplein that park are there becausewe all went mad. Yes. He was unique. But you have to be careful, searchinghis story out. I’ve beenthrough it all, you know – (raucHrrn) – the whole of this extraordinary century – and it’s not the extraordinary peoplewho’ve prevailed upon its madness.Quite the opposite.Oh – far from it ! It’s the ordinary men and women who’ve made us what we are. Monstrous,complacentand mad. Rememberthat. Evocative Descriptions of Letters The Wars by Timothy Findley DiscussionEvenif I do sound I’m pretty old. a moralizing fool, I’ll risk it. After all (raucrrrnn) I could be gone tomorrow! There may not be anybody elsewho’ll say this to you. Everyone’sso sophisticated thesedaysthey can’t standthe hot lights. Eh ? Well – I sawboth wars. And f’m here to tell you the passionsinvolved were as ordinary as me and my sister Bessiefighting over who’s going Thosepeople to cook the dinner.And who won’t ! (uucntnn) in the park – you – me – every one – the greatestmistake we made was to imagine something magical separatedus from Ludendorff and Kitchener and Foch. Our leaders,you sere.Well – Churchill and Hitler, for that matter! (raucHTER) Why, such men are just the butcher and the grocer – selling us meat and potatoesacrossthe counter.That’s what binds us together.They appealto our basestinstincts.The lowestcornmondenominator. And then we turn around and call them extraordinaryl(nene S H ET A P P E DT H E T A B L E , R A T T L I N GT H E S H E R R YG L A S S n S ) Seewhat I mean ? You have to be awfully careful how you define the extraordinary. Especially nowadays. Robert Ross w:rs no Hitler. That w€Nhis problem.’ 4 O Easterwas early in 1915.Good Friday fell on 2 April. It snowed. Robert got off a train that morning in Kingston, Ontario. He carrieda brand new suitcaseand wore his checkered €p. His raincoat- alsonew – was of a stylethat soonwould be known as the ‘Trench Coat’. Its buttons were made of crisscrossed strips of leather and its salient feature was that it t7 was short: short enough for you to wade in water up to your knees. Robert stood alone to one side, watching the engine from under the eavesof the station. He was watchingthe stoker fded the flameswith rattling shovelfulsof coal. He watchedwith his hands in his pockets- shouldershunched and his toes pressed At schoolhe’d beentaught that hunchhard againsthis suitc€rse. ing the shoulderswas an ungallant posture; still he maintained it while the enginebellowedand hissed.Great clouds of steam billowed out around its wheels.The’fire horse’: that’s what the Indians calledit. Robert looked to one sidefrom under the peak of his cop, hoping that no one had seenhim flinch from the steam or stepping back from the fire. He was wishing they would leave.His shouldershurt. IIis affn was sore. There were bruiseson his back. He ached.He wantedall the otherswho had , got oft the train to depart the station before him. 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