Analysis: the Man He Killed

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Gianna-Alexis Huballah
June 26, 2012
Professor Mosser
English 1102

Analysis: The Man He Killed

Killing another human being is something that most people would find very hard to do. Do a person's feelings towards violent actions change in the course of a war? In the poem, "The Man He Killed," By Thomas Hardy; he illustrates a story of a man who questions his own actions of doing harm to another person. Throughout the poem, Hardy uses tone and word choice to get his point across in the poem. Even though the poem is short, is does have a very strong atmosphere that gives off very different tones. In the beginning, it is a nice act when the narrator suggests that he and the person in front of him could have had a drink together if time had been right, "We should have set us down to wet." The tone flips and becomes more somber in the middle of the poem as seen in this quote, "But ranged as infantry.. I shot at him as he at me."(5). In an instant, the tone goes from humble and heartfelt to gloomy and violent as the narrator takes his enemy down. Just as easily as before, the atmosphere changes again, "I shot him dead because-- Because he was my foe."(9). The narrator tries to justify his actions and blames what he has done on the war. In reality he does not know exactly why he killed the man and then realizes he only killed him because it was his foe in war. He says how the war gave him enough cause to get the job done. The tone continues throughout the poem as somber. The narrator says, "Yes; quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down,"(17). The narrator is thinking about how war can change a person and the actions that occur because it. The narrator feels bad because he killed this man just because of war, say if war was not going on, he probably would be having a drink with the man, but he is dead because of the war. It is easy to identify with the soldier and his feelings about the predicament that he is in and obviously has deep regrets...
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