In Poems “The Man He Killed”, “Reconciliation”, and “Dreamers”, the Authors ShowThat Man Kills Because He MustIn Poems “The Man He Killed”, “Reconciliation”, and “Dreamers”, the Authors ShowThat Man Kills Because He MustIn the chosen poems, Thomas Hardy, Walt Whitman, and Sigfried Sassooneach have a common viewpoint: war brings out the worst in man, a feeling burieddeep inside the heart. Even with this clotting of the mind due to the twistingways of war, a flicker of remorse, a dream of someplace, something else stillexists within the rational thought. These poems express hope, the hope that warwill not be necessary.
They show that man only kills because he must, notbecause of some inbred passion for death. These three authors express thisviewpoint 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 givesa narrative of how he kills a “foe”, and that this “foe” could be a friend ifthey 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 metwhere any bar is…” In this Hardy speaks how war twists the mind, and alsomakes you kill people you have no personal vendetta against.
In Reconciliation, Whitman shows the devastation of war. In a war, youkill someone and even if you win, you lose. Whitman describes a man mourningover 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.” Healso feels great remorse over his so called enemy’s death “For my enemy.
..a mandivine as myself is dead.” He then shows his love for the enemy “I..
.bend downand touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.” He shows wartwisting 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 wetake for granted everyday, such as “clean beds”, “picture shows”, or “firelithomes”. These men have learned to appreciate them, and now are their everydaydreams, while they are in “foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats, and in the ruinedtrenches, lashed with rain”. There isn’t hate in this poem usually associatedwith war, there is a common dream among all soldiers fearing their life.
In these poems we see a common thread, the distortion of the mind,through war. In The Man He Killed, we see Hardy’s view of war twisting the mindand forcing soldiers to kill men they have no personal vendetta against. InReconciliation, we see Whitman’s view of soldiers’ minds being twisted in orderto achieve an apparent win, but in reality both sides have lost. In Dreamers,we see Sassoon’s view of the common soldier dreaming of places where they’drather be, rather than fearing their life with every step they take.
In this wesee the common theme of war twisting and distorting the minds of those involvedas well as a dream of these soldiers forced to kill against their personal willbut because they must. English