Deconstruction Essay

2065 words 9 pages
Gajan Langeswaran
Mr. Devereux
May 11, 2013
The Role of Binary Linguistic Oppositions in the Context of War
Most novels on war usually perceive only one side in the realm. An author like Timothy Findley can make a novel less about war but more about the physiological impact on ones mind because of war. The Wars is a very powerful and disturbing book with plenty of linguistic contexts. Timothy Findley’s Governor General's Award-winning novel of the First World War tells the story of Robert Ross, a young Canadian who enlists himself in the army after the death of his sister, Rowena. Robert has to cope with challenges of war, and make the transition into manhood and develop new beliefs in order to survive the war. Robert
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Some arguments regarding the German soldier’s actions flow towards his lack of experience in warfare to realize friends and enemies in spite of his age. Although the young German soldier meant no harm, Robert shoots him in a moment of panic. Findley further demonstrates hints of these linguistic opposites by mentioning, “He would have to turn his back on the German. Well. There was no other way”(Findley 130). This suggests hints of concepts such as, once an enemy is always an enemy; despite the fact the enemy shows unusual characteristics of a foe. However, The Wars states, “Harris’s scarf got caught on the Lewis gun and Robert had to tear it way”(Findley 130). This serves as suggestions to Robert. The fact that the Lewis gun gets stuck on Harris’s scarf is a Findley’s method of reminding Robert and the reader that the German soldier is utterly not an enemy. Nick Mansfield, a professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia states, “It is possible to have, therefore, a friend-enemy, who is the person with whom I have a personal friendship, but who is structurally the enemy of the political group to which I belong”(Mansfield N.P). This illustrates the problem that occurs during Robert’s encounter with the young German soldier, since, Robert can refer to the German as a friend, due to the fact he spared the lives of Robert and his troops; nonetheless, he is wearing the German uniform, which defines the young soldier as being the enemy in the sentiment of


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