.. the reality of their life in Parkdale. She wanted trees and grass in their backyard, which is not conceivable when living in a small apartment. Minna, like Robert, wants to escape the reality of life as she knows it, and be in a place where everything is splendid. Minna wanted even once a week to make her way down the and into the street without the ever-present threat of someone elses panic waiting to grab her sleeve. (Stones 44) Minna seems to enjoy working with the homeless, but she would just like to get away once in a while to have more peace and security.
Minna and Robert 5 both want deliverance from the horror in their lives. In the novel Heart of Darkness Kurtzs final words are, The horror, the horror (Conrad 118). These words are Kurtzs final judgement of what he succumbed to in both the Congo and in his psychological journey into his own heart of darkness. The horrors that Robert and Minna face are reality and must not be forgotten. The difference between Kurtz and Robert and Minna is that Kurtz succumbs to his inner demons and goes mad, whereas Robert and Minna do not.
Robert has experienced every aspect of the brutality of war. His psychological change is evident through his outlook on life: Robert struck a match and caught the rat by his 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. (The Wars 127) Robert has witnessed deaths by the thousands, and the difference between a human and animal life has escaped his mind.
In this instance, Roberts act of setting the rat free is one that could be questioned because of the deaths that he has seen. However, because of the impact of war on his mind, Robert recognizes the beauty of life in the midst of madness. Robert feels that he contributed to the saving of a life, which allows him to feel better for that one instant until he goes back out to fight again. Minnas psychological change is evident when she makes the homeless person feel wanted. Just to be seen and heard and acknowledged. Thats what they wanted.
Witness. Not to be forgotten. (Stones 51) Minna likes to see the homeless happy, and feel better about themselves. Minna, like Robert, does not like the reality of the surroundings. Minna tries her best to change that by bringing the poor woman, Elizabeth Doyle, 6 home to let her sleep in a bed. Minna realizes that all that the people on the streets want is to be noticed and not to be forgotten.
The trauma of the horrors of life on Robert and Minna leads the reader to believe that war does have psychological effects on the individual. The characters physical and psychological accounts of war lead the characters on their own personal journey of self-discovery. The horrors of war which Robert endures are instrumental in his psychological change. In Roberts final stand to declare the existence of life in the midst of death, he attempts to save some horses from a burning barn: Robert couldnt stand it any longer and he said to Devlin: Im going to break ranks and save these animals. Will you come with me? Devlin wanted to and said so. But he was afraid of Captain Leather. Leather is insane, said Robert flatly.
It cannot be called disobedience to save these animals when theyll be needed, for Gods sake. (The Wars 201-202) The importance of life to Robert is evident here as he breaks ranks in order to save the horses. Disobeying an order in the army can lead to a Court Marshall, dishonorable discharge and even worse the possibility of being accused of treason. However, these consequences pale in comparison to the thought of more deaths. Throughout Roberts time as a soldier in the army during World War One he witnesses first hand the destruction of war. These horrors of war lead to his psychological transformation which inevitably leads to his journey of self-discovery, recognizing the importance of life in the midst of death. Minna comes to a conclusion along the same lines as Robert. As Minna is dying of an inoperable cancer of the lung, she moves to Australia.
Her physical accounts of the horror in her life lead to the psychological change which made her change location. She has a daughter now and does not want her to grow up with the 7 same horror that surrounded Minna as a child. They say it is quite civilized . (Stones 19) Her move to Australia lead to her journey of self-discovery. She realizes how important life becomes in the midst of death.
I know why she wanted her ashes scattered there at Ku-Ring-Gai. It was the joy and the liveliness the sense of endless celebration that clung to all figures in the rock. (Stones 25) Minna realizes and wants others to realize that everyone, no matter of what the individual looks like, should be able to enjoy happiness in life. Robert wantes the horses to have the freedom as he does in life. Minna wants her daughter to have the freedom that she has in life. Minna wants her daughter to also experience the joy of love and the sense of endless celebration.
The figure cut in the stones at Ku-Ring-Gai was a child. The child of the two stick figures rejoicing by its side beneath the moon. And the child had long, albino hair and one six-fingered hand stretched out for all the world to see forever… (Stones 26) Minna concludes her life with the discovery with herself. The importance of life to Minna is apparent here, as she wants her daughter, who has six fingers on each hand, to be exposed to society.
Hiding her from people would show how she does not respect what she created. Instead she wants to display her miracle which was created inside her, for everyone to behold. Throughout Minnas time in Toronto on Queens Street, she had witnessed first-hand the destruction of life. These horror lead to her psychological change which inevitably leads to her journey of self-discovery. Minna, like Robert, comes to the conclusion of the importance of life, and how it should be set free to live with others. In many ways, the war of life affects individuals, leading to physical and mental change.
8 Through facing hardships in life, one can assess his/her experience and discover more about themselves and the world around them. War does exist in Roberts and Minnas physical accounts of the horror of life. Roberts experience is in World War One. Minnas experience is life on the streets of Toronto with the homeless. The psychological change in Robert and Minna can be attributed to their physical encounters of the war in life. Robert and Minna both change their view on life because of their struggles. Furthermore, these two worlds lead Robert and Minna to acknowledge the importance of life.
Thus, in the novels The Wars and Stones, Findley has demonstrated that the war does have an effect on the individual, leading to a journey of self-discovery. Bibliography Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Markham: Penguin, 1981. Findley, Timothy. Stones.
Toronto: Penguin, 1988. Findley, Timothy. The Wars. Toronto: Penguin, 1977.