Write a coherent, well-crafted essay that demonstrates your understanding of the novel in
question as well as the skills necessary to produce clear, effective expository prose.
Instructions: Choose ONE of the following four questions and write a well-crafted essay
response of approximately 750-1000 words. Your essay must make effective use of a minimum
of FOUR citations from Timothy Findley’s The Wars. All citations must be properly
documented in terms of both in-text citation and a list of works cited at the end of your exam
paper. Document them using the MLA format.
The essay will be evaluated based upon the following, in descending order of significance:
• Thesis statement
• Strength of argument (evidence)
• Quotations and documentation
• Grammar, punctuation, style and spelling
The final version of your exam must be uploaded to Léa.
- Animals and the relationship humans have to them are a recurring theme in The Wars by
Timothy Findley. When the human world overwhelms him, Robert Ross takes great
solace in animals. What do animals symbolize in the novel? Provide a sustained analysis
of at least three different scenes.
- The Wars has a complicated representation of gender and sexuality. Robert strives to
adhere to the masculine ideal of the soldier; however, this seems to mean killing an
essential part of himself. What is Findley trying to argue with his depiction of gender
norms and expectations? Respond to this prompt in an argumentative essay.
- The story of Robert Ross in The Wars is mediated through the perspective of an archivist,
whose ways of approaching the First World War are subjective and retrospective. The
researcher is never able to arrive at a true account of Robert’s time in the war: “It could
not be told” (7). Findley seems to be making a point about history and historiography.
The Wars is often called a “historiographic metafiction.” How does The Wars represent
- Consider Robert’s actions at the end of the novel. Has he gone insane when he frees the
horses and kills Captain Leather and Private Cassles, or is he simply doing what he feels
is just and rational in the face of an insane situation? In other words, can Robert Ross be
credibly considered a hero?
Findley, Timothy. The Wars. 1977. Penguin, 2005.
Use this checklist to help you determine if your essay meets the qualities of a wellwritten and well-structured paper with a clear and complex argument. Check off
items as you proofread/revise:
o The essay has a clear argument that runs through the entire paper.
o The argument is stated clearly in the introduction (thesis statement).
o The essay discusses how the chosen texts handle a specific issue, or takes the texts
themselves as an object of study.
o The essay passes the “so what” test. IE: The argument provides new insight into
the chosen texts, the issues they present, and/or their contributions to literature.
o The essay mentions the name of the selected texts in the introduction.
o The focus of the paper is on the selected texts and not on some outside idea.
o The thesis represents my own insight into the issues the texts present or the
impact of the texts.
o The thesis is not a summary of the story, a description of its major themes or
features, and not a sketch of its characters.
o I have a personal interest in the argument and am intellectually invested in making
my unique perspective understood.
o The essay makes specific claims about the chosen texts; it has an argument; I have
staked a claim about the topic at hand.
o The claims are supported by specific details from the texts, including quotations.
o The essay draws conclusions (arguments) from specific aspects of the texts and
does not rest on a general overview.
o The essay contains minimal plot summary and mentions specific details about the
texts only in the service of providing analysis/argument.
o The argument is easy to follow thanks to an obvious logical progression and
development of ideas.
o Observations about the texts, such as the identification of symbols, metaphors,
allusions, etc. are made for the purpose of developing the argument and not for
the sake of showing that I understand how literary devices work. The implications
of these things for the argument is discussed.
o The essay contains an introduction that provides an overview of the argument and
o The essay contains a conclusion that sums up previous ideas and offers a
resolution of the argument.
o The essay has an obvious structuring principle determined by the content of the
argument, and not prescribed notions about what an essay must look like.
o The essay does not have exactly five paragraphs for the sake of fulfilling an
o Every paragraph of the essay works together to form a complete argument that
relies on each individual point.
o The essay does not offer many scattered arguments.
o The essay does not repeat the same idea in different ways instead of building upon
what is already established.
o Each paragraph contains only one main idea (unity)
o Paragraphs develop the idea in a logical manner that helps build and support the
o Paragraphs relate to each other as each idea builds upon the previous one, and
related ideas are grouped together (coherence)
o Paragraphs have topic sentences that prepare the reader for the content of that
o Transitions are used to help direct the logical flow.
o Paragraphs generally do not exceed three-quarters of a page.
Research and Citations
o Quoted material is properly formatted using quotation marks or block quotes.
o Quoted and paraphrased material is cited using in-text citations and an entry on
the works cited page.
The essay uses a level of language appropriate the undergraduate level:
o The essay has been proofread to ensure proper spelling and grammar.
o Slang terms and shorthand are not used.
o Adjectives and adverbs are used only in the service of enhancing or clarifying the
o Imagery, elaborate phrasing, and metaphorical language are used sparingly or not
at all. Clear, concise, precise, and concrete phrasing is generally used instead.
o The essay is free of words I do not understand. I have looked up definitions of any
words or phrases I was unsure about.
o I did not use a thesaurus to make my wording sound fancier.
o Ideas and phrases are not repeated excessively.
o The essay does not begin or end with a random quotation I found online.
o The essay uses rhetorical questions sparingly or not at all. Rhetorical questions are
not used to replace steps in a logical argument.
o The essay is free of unverified assumptions and generalizations about history,
cultures, “human nature”, children, authors, readers, etc.
o The essay does not offer a tacked-on moral conclusion. It may, however, describe
the moral intentions of the texts themselves.
o The paper does not praise or condemn the author or the subject matter.
o The essay is double-spaced, uses 12pt. Times New Roman font, has 1-inch
margins and is printed single-sided
o The essay has a title that reflects the contents of the essay in a creative or
thoughtful way, but does not simply say “Essay on . . .”
o There is no title page and no folder.