A thesis that supports the writer’s interpretation of the openings of Timothy Findley’s The Wars and Sinclair Ross’s As For Me and My House would stress meaningful common elements in both novels. Along with a number of obvious, significant differences between the two works’ first few pages, there are distinctive similarities in the authors’ underlying intentions and approaches to fiction. A strong thesis could address the important role of memory in both passages as well as the relationship between fiction and the kinds of ostensibly factual documents each author introduces.
While both works are Canadian novels set in the early twentieth century, the authors present the works as if they were nonfiction. The merging of facts and imagination is accomplished through the use of first-person narrators and several types of documents, including a diary in Findley’s novel and archival records and photographs in Ross’s work. The Wars begins with an entry that the first-person narrator, who we soon learn is Mrs. Bentley, is writing about her recent arrival with her husband in a new community. While As for Me and My House initially differs, with a third-person narrator presenting a war-time scene, it quickly switches to a first-person narrator. In both cases, the first-person narrator spends some time reflecting on the past. Another similarity is the authors’ use of these narrator to present more information about another character—Philip Bentley and Robert Ross, respectively—than about themselves.