Young people do not know what to expect for the future and when something unexpected occurs then their actions reflect their emotions due to their immaturity. Timothy Findley's short story "War" takes place at the start of World War II in Ontario, Canada. Where a young boy by the name of Neil Cable is emotionally frustrated to what war brings. Through symbolism, Timothy Findley shows the audience the frustration and emotional distress families go through from the reality of war. There are three uses of symbolism that Timothy Findley uses to illustrate this message. Firstly, the barn, which symbolizes as a war zone. Furthermore, Neil's father portraying as the enemy. Finally, gifts being thrown to simulate firearms. Therefore, throughout Timothy Findley's short story "War", Findley heavily uses symbolism to show the struggle and emotional agony families go through from the horridness of war. Although war is primarily the conflict between nations, the idea of war can create anger and fear that can lead to disputes in families and also the inner mind. The fear and anger that war creates can cause rebellion to what is to come for a significant other.
Barns are a place for farmers to build and grow a farm. However in the short story "War", the barn's purpose is the complete opposite. It is an area of destruction. A battlefield. Firstly, Neil uses the hay bales in the barn as trenches. After repeatedly throwing stones at his father, Neil "puts [himself] into a little of hay and piles some [more hay] in front of [him]. [So that] when [Neil's father comes] up over the top of the ladder, he [will not be able to see Neil] and then [Neil will] have a good chance to aim at [his father]" (133). The protagonist, Neil Cable uses that hay bales as trenches not for a means of protection physically because Neil is aware that his father has no intention to hurt him. But the trenches is a cover from a line of sight. From Neil's intelligence from World War I, Neil is aware of the purpose of the trench. And because of Neil's intelligence, Neil is attacking his father to show him how war is like on the actual battle field. Secondly, an area in the barn that shows that it is a war zone is the hayloft. The hayloft is the area in the barn where the hay is stored and in the short story the hayloft is the area where a majority of the battle between Neil and his father takes place. With so much anger toward the fact that Neil's father does not know why Neil is doing all of this, Neil throws the golf ball at his father and misses but "...got him with the stone. And he fell down. He really fell down. He [did not] say anything-he [did not] even say "ouch"…"(134). Neil's father knocks out in the hayloft or the battlefield which represents the idea of death. In this situation the hayloft is not only a battle field but no man’s land. It is no man’s land because of the fact that Neil's father virtually dies and on no man’s land nobody is able to survive there. This can prove to Neil that his father is not prepared for war and that Neil can be more worried for his father after just witnessing his father die from a virtual battle. From this battle between his father, Neil can see that the death of his father can actually happen on the real battle field. Which worries Neil even more.
A father figure is someone who puts his child's needs above his own. In Neil's situation he feels that his father enrolls to the army for his needs and not for his family's needs. Neil finds this selfish for enrolling to the army and also not telling Neil. And because of his father's selfishness it angers Neil. Neil has so much anger it is like his father is the enemy. First off, Neil gives himself a title as if he is actually fighting on a battle field and his father is the enemy. When Neil is in battle with his father, Neil is so into the battle that he names himself "Field Marshall Cable" (133). Neil is in awe for how well he is doing in battle with