“The Man with the Broken Fingers” by Carl Sandburg
1) Describe the imagery of the first two lines. How can a shadow be thrown?
2) Reread line 4. What does the author mean by this? How is this possible? Consider both literal & figurative
3) Define Gestapo in your own words. Do you think there are countries today that use Gestapo tactics? Explain.
4) Why is the man nameless in line 7? What is the significance?
5) What poetic technique is used in line 8? Why? What is the impact on the reader?
6) What technique is used in lines 12-14? What emotion is the author trying to evoke? How?
7) Are you surprised by the tactics used by the Gestapo at the beginning of this stanza? Why or why not?
8) What might the Man with the Broken Fingers be thinking during line 21?
9) Describe the imagery in lines 23-26. What feeling does it create?
10) What technique is used in lines 27-30? Why might the author choose this method here?
11) How does the speaker suggest the Man with the Broken Fingers may have reacted to his torture in line 31?
Why would someone react that way in this situation?
12) What is the theme of this stanza? In your opinion, which is the worst and why?
13) What is the Gestapo’s goal? Does it seem effective? How so?
14) Morally speaking, do the ends justify the means here? Why or why not?
15) What technique is used in lines 42-44? What is the effect?
16) Consider line 42. What makes will power strong? Who wins in this battle? Explain.
17) Describe how the methods of torture have gotten worse since the beginning of the poem.
18) Consider line 50. Why does the speaker suggest the man has lost all memory of names?
19) Why is the Man with the Broken Fingers capitalized?
20) What technique is used in lines 56-57? Why?
21) How does the speaker describe death in the last two lines? Why?
22) How many characters are in this poem? List them.
23) What is the tone of the poem? How is it created?
24) What is the author’s message? What is he saying about war?
25) Think back to the imagery of the first two lines. How is the shadow symbolic?