In the chosen poems, Thomas Hardy, Walt Whitman, and Sigfried Sassoon each have a common viewpoint: war brings out the worst in man, a feeling buried deep inside the heart. Even with this clotting of the mind due to the twisting ways of war, a flicker of remorse, a dream of someplace, something else still exists within the rational thought. These poems express hope, the hope that war will not be necessary. They show that man only kills because he must, not because of some inbred passion for death. These three authors express this viewpoint in their own ways in their poems: "The Man He Killed", "Reconciliation", and "Dreamers".
In The Man He Killed, Hardy speaks about the absurdity of war. He gives a narrative of how he kills a "foe", and that this "foe" could be a friend if they met "by some old ancient inn", instead of the battlefield. Hardy says "...quaint and curious war is...you shoot a fellow down you'd treat if met where any bar is..." In this Hardy speaks how war twists the mind, and also makes you kill people you have no personal vendetta against.
In Reconciliation, Whitman shows the devastation of war. In a war, you kill someone and even if you win, you lose. Whitman describes a man mourning over the death of his foe. He rejoices over the ultimate death of war "Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must...be utterly lost." He also feels great remorse over his so called enemy's death "For my enemy...a man divine as myself is dead." He then shows his love for the enemy "I...bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin." He shows war twisting the mind of a soldier who then deeply regretted his actions.
In Dreamers, Sassoon shows the soldiers dreaming of heavenly places, while at the same time they are at war. Yet these heavenly places are things we take for granted...