Critical Article Analysis

Very often throughout Timothy Findley’s writing he works around a main image that his story can be based upon, such as a tribe dancing around a fire. In The Wars, Findley chose to use horses as that primary image. He told the story from that specific image, stating how the horses ran screaming from under the artillery. This can be found in several other stories by Findley, including The Headhunter and The Piano Man’s Daughter, usually focusing on a different image each time.

  • Bemrose, John. “Rural Roots.” MacLean’s (1995): n. pag. Web. 4 Mar 2011.


Thought Findley has a vast collection of meaning to his work, one main topic that often stands out in his writing tends to be “War”, which is a short story written by Findley. While it seems as though War takes the general meaning of military and trench warfare, really the main conflict facing war, is the fact that at an early age Findley’s father left their family for the army. This can be seen through many of his novels including The Wars, which is based upon a teenage boy leaving his family for the army, while mourning the death of his sister that he feels guilty for. As part of Findley’s short story “War”, the main character Neil, escapes to his barn where he flings stones, sticks and rocks at his father. This may not seem very relevant, but too Findley’s fictional world rock-throwing and shooting are very similar.

As The Wars progresses we get to know Eugene Taffler very well. When he is first introduced, we see him alone in the Alberta Prairies firing rocks, bottles, and glasses. Findley uses this to explain Taffler, as if he uses that as a protection mechanism. This is done to show how Taffler uses his practice to his advantage. While in warfare, Taffler pictures war as another day in the prairies firing rocks at the bottles. This allows readers to see how Findley connects his fictional side with his life experiences.

  • Yorke, Lorraine. “Civilian Conflict: Systems of Warfare in Timothy Findley’s Early Fiction.” English Studies in Canada (1989): n. pag. Web. 4 Mar 2011.


Even though The Wars is filled with images of water, earth, and air, the main image that we see at both the beginning and the end of the story is fire. Whether is be the image of Robert burning on horseback or the fact of Robert nearly drowning while swimming on horseback, they both mesh together, creating a “fiery image”. This is done by the author to make it so that the reader must look as well as hear what these images are trying to say, from start to end.

  • Hulcoop, John. “Look! Listen! Mark my Words .” Paying Attention to Timothy Findleys Fiction (1981): n. pag. Web. 4 Mar 2011.

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