Death. There is no other topic in all of literature that can draw out such meaningful and complicated emotions from different people all over the world. Death to some people can be a time of spiritual revival, a time of gathering and even, in some cases, a time for celebration. But for others, death can lead to a time of deep mourning and sadness and a time to reflect on oneself and how you view the word death. So its no coincidence then, that poets such as Stephen Crane, Emily Dickinson, Frank O’Connor, and Thomas Hardy, have tried to describe and analyze death through the use of poetry. Poetry is one unique way for ordinary people to think about, get a better grasp on and respond to death in their everyday lives. “War Is Kind,” “The Man He Killed,” “Because I Could Not stop For Death,” and “Guests of the Nation” through the use of irony, diction, and personification show how each individual author not only self- interpreted the deeper meaning, but also their own personal definition behind the word death, and what it means to them. In “War Is Kind” there are two speakers, one of which is using irony to describe the cruelty of war, and one who seems to be a higher-ranking officer urging his men to fight in the “glory” of battle. You can easily tell that the two speakers throughout the poem view the soldiers’ deaths differently then one another because of the change in the diction between the two of them. For example the narrator of the first stanza says, “Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky/ and the affrighted steed ran on alone,/ do not weep/ war is kind” (Crane 511). This point of view on death presents it ironically as a kind thing, although the author was just describing the soldier being killed and his horse running off without him. In the next stanza, the speaker says in a very harsh and pompous manner, Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
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