Describe the romance between Robert Ross and Barbara d'Orsey in The Wars.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Robert Ross and Barbara d'Orsey have a romantic relationship that is primarily based on a strong sexual attraction. Their relationship progresses through a number of different phases over several years, beginning shortly after Robert arrives in England to begin his military service. They reconnect when he returns to England on leave, one of the few in his unit to survive the tour of duty in France.

During two months at her family estate, Barbara and Robert become lovers. Barbara is more experienced and, initially, more aggressive sexually. This unexpected passion makes it difficult for Robert to interpret his feelings for her, and he also doubts if she is even capable of love. Their tumultuous, highly physical affair also serves as an outlet for the suppressed anguish caused by the traumas of battle. Contrasted to Barbara’s physicality is the innocent, gentle love that Barbara’s younger sister cannot express to Robert.

After Robert returns to active duty, a complicated series of events results in his getting severely burned in the fire that kills the horses. Barbara visits him, but because she has already replaced him with a different lover, her presence does not help him heal.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial