Humanities
Auburn The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy Poetry Essay

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Question Description

I’m working on a English question and need guidance to help me study.

After reading the directions carefully, and when you are finished writing, please submit the essay for grading.

ESSAY 4 DIRECTIONS

First, explain in simple contemporary language what is going on in each set of lines (or stanza)—write as if this were being said today in a local club or bar. In other words, change the language here from that of late 19th century England to that of a club in your city or region today.

Then explain about the narrator’s (the speaker's in the poem--not Thomas Hardy's) argument about why he killed the man. Then, based on his language and delivery, explain his argument--whether or not he feels he did the right thing when he killed the man. Finally, explain the narrator’s attitude (or feelings) toward war itself.

In your essay be specific. Use “proof” from the poem to show your argument or points. This proof will be specific statements the narrator makes.

“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin! [a half pint of beer]

"But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

"I shot him dead because —
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

"He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, [list is slang for enlist]
Off-hand like — just as I —
Was out of work — had sold his traps — [trappings—his clothes, tools, belongings]
No other reason why.

"Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown." [English coin, like saying a few bucks]

Minimum length : 800+words and 5 paragraphs

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Final Answer

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“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy
Apparently, a reflection in the aftermaths of war often comes with some feelings of
fulfillment, but sometimes remorse. Regrets comes when a person who took part in war
recollects about the realities of war and finds out that it was not justified, especially when it takes
away innocent lives and does not make lives of the survivors any better. This is clearly depicted
in the poem The Man He Killed that paints a picture of the ills of wars, and each line in the poem
can be explained in simple contemporary language different from that of late 19th century. In
concrete terms, starting from line one, the speaker wishes the person he is talking about had met
in a different scenario. He wishes they met in a local pub where they would drink beer and
become drunk. They would have had many pints of beer each. Then the speaker talks of meeting
the person in war. Upon meeting, they had time to look at each other face to face. The speaker
results in firing his gun first and shot the other person before he made any move. After the death
of the other person, the speaker doubts why he shot the person. He wonders if the person was his
enemy. He convinces himself that he killed his enemy. He repeats the words over and over to
convince himself that ...

Juniper (17699)
Rice University

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