After reading part three and four, I thought part three was much more significance than part four. Part three revealed much about the characteristics of Robert Ross and Rodwell, while part four was only written mostly about Lady Juliet's experience and thoughts of Robert in the hospital. Part three started off after the hit by a tarp into the camp Robert Ross located, which caused the surrounding mines to blow. When Rodwell went to check if the animals had survived after the blast had settled, I believed it symbolized something related to Robert, though I was not sure of its symbolism. The narrator stated that Robert was thinking, .".. here is someone still alive.
And the word alive was amazing." (Part three, page 127) Robert realized the value of life and how fortunate it was for one to survive. Robert believed that being alive is already amazing enough when compared to the dead which surrounded him. While shells flied around the trenches, Robert decided to go to the crater he spotted and advance forward with the ammunition Captain Leather arrived with. Although Corporal Bates, who was in charged of the men, did not agree with Robert's idea of advancing to the crater, he still decided to risk the consequences. I thought Robert's decision of advancing revealed his character of self confidence and bravery for taking risk in harsh situations. When Robert and the troops arrived at the crater, they discovered that the German's were releasing poisonous chlorine gas.
At first Bates was fighting for the gas mask that only Robert owned, but he eventually gave the mask to a soldier who seemed to be suffering from his injuries. Because Bates and the soldiers were so desperate for the gas mask, since they knew once the chlorine gas had reached them, they would die. Therefore Robert had to use his automatic gun and pointed it at Bates. Bates told his men to back off while Robert threatened to fire at Bates. I believed this event revealed much about Robert's character since he was shaking and sweating when he held the gun. He later fired at the person who tried to run away.
His attitude changed when he was holding his gun, this could be shown when he tried to save the troops life by yelling, "THEN TEAR THE TAILS OFF YOUR GOD DAMNED SHIRTS!" (Part three, page 139) I thought that every time Robert attempted or actually shot someone or something, it must be a significant part of the novel, revealing much about Robert having to face the reality and harshness of the war. When the chlorine gas was closer to the crater, Robert said, "Put that over his face." (Part three, page 139) I thought Robert's strong feeling of the desire to save everyone possible was revealed either through his words and actions. Part three also revealed Rodwell's character. The end of this part mentioned the suicide of Rodwell because he could not resist the burning of rats and mice and he was also forced to kill a cat. This revealed much about Rodwell character. He could not face the reality and the horrors of the trenches and the terrible conditions the soldier must live through.
Prior to his death, he gave Robert a sketchbook containing Rodwell's drawings of all the animals and also Robert, who was the only human, drew in the book. I believed that this foreshadows Robert's fate in the future and also the ending of the novel. I thought that part four was not as important as part three, or it might have been that I did not realize the main point of this part. This part also discussed about the sketchbook Robert received from Rodwell. At the end of this part, I thought that the physical and sexual action of Robert and Barbara the author described revealed much of the kind of person the author, Timothy Findley was. A quote from page 146 answered or foreshadowed the answer for one of my previous question from the first response which was, after experiencing the war, what effects may it have on Robert Ross's life? Or will there be any effects on Robert Ross? The quote was, "The sound of it would haunt him to the day he died." (Part three, page 146) The experience obtained from the war would affect Robert Ross's life because he would remember every bit of the horrors and may things may remind him of the experience he had been through.
The quote mentioned, "The sound of it... ." The sound it discussed was from the singing of the bird during a life and death situation. I felt that both part three and four described the brutality of the reality of war and the horrible circumstances the soldiers had to experience was not pleasant nor was it worthwhile. By the end of these two parts, I was left with the question that "what does the animals symbolize in the novel?" I believed that the horse, rabbit and the mice are a motif which tends to appear several times in the novel and also doing varies actions. I would guess that they symbolize the life of soldiers in the trenches or the reality of the war, the feelings and thoughts that Robert had, or it may also foreshadows what may happen in the future of either Robert's life or the war.