Examples of how his relationships were either successful or not
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We learn that Robert is shy and values his privacy greatly. He is particularly awkward around women. After being thrust into the war he can no longer hide himself or his capacity for sexuality and violence. He does not want to go to the brothel with the other men but feels he must or face scrutiny. Once there he is mortified when he ejaculates before sleeping with Ella. Though she is forgiving, he is overcome with shame. When he sees Captain Taffler with the Swede he is shocked and enticed. This reaction gives way to anger and violence. The world as he knew it, one in which he could hide, no longer exists.