War Is Kind

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When I first read this poem, I thought the speaker was showing sympathy by saying “war is kind” to people who had lost loved ones in the war, or that “war is kind” because it eventually makes peace. But then I realized, the more that I think about war and how it is not at all kind makes me believe the speaker in this poem is being sarcastic when he says that “war is kind”. I still believe that he was showing sympathy in a paradoxical way. Society tends to overlook how bad war really is and how gruesome it can be. We take for granted the people who risk and lose their lives to defend our country. War can seem so meaningless. I think the speaker, with his ironic tone, is questioning whether the loss of lives is really worth what we end up achieving in the war. In the first stanza the speaker is consoling a maiden who has lost her lover in the war. He says “Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky and the affrighted steed ran on alone.” He is describing how her lover was shot and he threw his hands up and fell off of his horse, and the horse ran on without him. Most readers would feel sympathy toward the maiden, and then the speaker says what readers would not expect. He says to the maiden, “Do not weep. War is kind.” How is it possible to not weep when you have just lost your lover? The reader can already feel the irony from the speaker. He also talks about a “babe” who has lost its father and describes how the father dies. He goes on to talk about the “Mother whose heart hung humble as a button”, who had to bury her son that she was so proud of, and how humble that made her. A parent should never have to bury their child. The speaker then goes on to talk about the regiment and the men and women who have fought and have lost their lives and a flag now flies above them in “A field where a thousand corpses lie”. He speaks of them as if they were only meant for a moment of usefulness, or as though they are lesser beings when he refers to them as “Little...
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