Irony in Stephen Crane’s War Is Kind
Most poets use their unique gift of writing poetry to relieve stress or just to document their emotions towards a given subject. Others use it as a key to bring about social change and voice their opinion on modern events. This is the case in Stephen Crane’s War Is Kind. The speaker in the poem uses irony as a strategy to convince the reader of the harsh reality of war.
In the first few lines of the poem, the reader can already receive a feel of the irony as the poet describes the scene of a maiden left behind as her lover falls in battle. The poet illustrates a scene as to where most readers would feel sorrow and sympathy towards the maiden and perhaps have the speaker in the poem enlighten the maiden as to how rough war can be. However, the speaker tells the maiden “Do not weep. War is kind” (4-5). Readers can be caught off guard by this statement because in theory, this is the last words of advice that the reader is expecting to hear. So in having the speaker of the poem saying this, readers perceive a sense of irony or sarcasm.
The speaker continues to illustrate to the audience the scene of the battle field. In doing so, the speaker uses a variety of word choice which carry negative connotation. The speaker of the poem uses diction such as wild, little, die, yellow, raged and much more. All of which to a certain extent, carry negative connotation. Readers read such diction in a poem and expect that the whole poem will be negative. Words like “die” and “raged” seldom carry positive connotations. These are words that are used to describe unwanted or unnecessary emotions. This is another reason as to why the audience can receive a notion that the speaker must be trying to be sarcastic.
The speaker also tries to convince a baby of the positive aspects of war. The speaker does so however by saying “Because your father tumbled in yellow trenches, Raged at his breast, gulped and died” (13-14). Readers once again find...
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