So this is a paragraph concerning whether the character Robert Ross should go to trial or not. It is within 2 pages (as designated by my teacher). Apart from editing, could the editor also put some comments whether the argument was helpful or to expand a certain area etc. Thank you to whoever is editing it. Also I understand that it is a hassle to edit especially when the writing is crap so sorry in advance. Please note that I have to do an oral presentation and the content will be handed in for a written mark.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, cause and effect. In the case of military disobedience, the consequences are usually a court marshal or worse. In Timothy Findley’s The Wars, Robert Ross commits treason by freeing warhorses against the commands of his superior officer’s and killing Captain Leather and Private Cassels. Should Robert Ross stand trial for his actions? Before judging him as guilty or not guilty, one must understand the reasons for his descent into such madness. Robert leads a carefree life until the death of his hydrocephalic sister. Unable to cope with her loss and the accompanying guilt, he decides to join the Canadian Corps to fight overseas. But Robert is unprepared for what lies ahead and his innocence is quickly shattered through his visit to the Whorehouse, the killing of the injured horse, and the sniper incident. All three scenes leave Robert emotionally scarred and battered. Robert is frail and weak and the battlefields are the last place he should reside. Furthermore, his mental condition takes a further toll when he is raped by his fellow officers near the bathhouse. He is mentally unfit to perform the tasks and duties of a soldier and his conscious constantly chips away at his sanity. The harshness of wars does little to solve Robert’s internal conflicts and as a result, his morals hang on a loose thread. Therefore, when the shelling begins, Robert’s heroic efforts to save the horses lead him to shooting Captain Leather and Private Cassels and the death of Devlin at the hands of Leather. However, Devlin’s death cannot be attributed to Robert. Both he [Devlin] and Cassels had the choice of granting the horses their freedom or snatching it away but only one thought humanely. At the time, Cassles, simply put, was a lesser man than Devlin, a man who accepted what he saw because he was expected to. On the other hand Devlin acted as a human-being first, soldier second and died a heroes’ death. The contrast in both their behaviour and actions are a key to understanding and judging Robert Ross. Furthermore, Captain Leather is irrational in not retreating and allowing the horses to perish. A dead horse is not a useful horse and throughout military campaigns, strategic retreats have allowed soldiers to fight another day. Although Robert Ross makes the moral choice, he is guilty of insubordination towards Captain Leather. Generals and commanders are appointed to think for the soldiers and it is usually believed that they will make the right choice. If every solider began to practice what they preach, it is not a war amongst soldiers anymore but between mercenaries. Therefore, I believe he is guilty for not following a superior’s orders and should be charged accordingly. Whereas the “fragging” of Captain Leather and Private Cassels were not premeditated and wholly due to self-defence. Consider the situation if human-beings were trapped in the barn rather than horses. Captain Leather wouldn’t have been so keen to shooting Robert Ross then. What Robert try to do was save the one untainted thing in the war – the horses. It was justified both humanely and strategically and that is why I believe he should be charged not guilty for the deaths of Captain Leather and Private Cassels.
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