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The Man He Killed - PowerPoint

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					The Man He Killed
     Thomas Hardy
   Hardy reduces a killing on the battlefield
    simply to two innocent young men who
    have arrived at their present circumstances
    by trying to do the right thing. The narrator
    does not condemn the two young men in
    the poem for attempting to kill each other
Explanation: "The Man He Killed"
   Lines 1-4
   The poem is being set up; the action in the poem has already
    taken place and the narrator of the poem is ruminating on this
    action. This is a technique that in contemporary literature
    would be considered a flashback. He imagines himself near
    "some old ancient inn," not a specific inn, but a cozy
    imaginary place. The diction of the poem (particularly "right
    many a nipperkin") suggests that the speaker is not a high
    brow sort, but a common bloke and this diction is important in
    establishing the persona of the narrator — an educated
    philospher he is not. "Nipperkin" is a half-vessel that is filled,
    in this situation, one suspects, with alcoholic drinks.
   Lines 5-6
   The speaker locates both himself and the
    other fellow on a battlefield, a far cry from
    the ancient inn he imagines in retrospect.
    The men are not distant from each other,
    but close enough to look into each other's
    faces.
   Lines 7-8
   These lines are as jarring and sudden as a
    gunshot. Two people on opposing lines
    shoot and one is left dead and the other still
    enjoys the ability to be able to reflect on the
    actions. This is the plot of the poem and its
    climax.
   Lines 9-10
   In these lines there is a justification for the
    killing and it is a simple justification, without
    deliberation.
   Line 11
   The repetition of the concept of "my foe"
    and the "of course" in this line signify a
    need for the speaker to convince himself of
    his justification for the killing. The "Just so:"
    which prefaces the repetition is similar to
    the modern phrase: "That's it; that's the
    ticket."
   Line 12
   The "although" in this line serves as the
    pivot point for the following lines, in which
    the speaker deliberates his justification.
   Lines 13-16
   In these lines the narrator begins deliberation speculating about the
    man he has just killed, and he begins to attribute his own motives to
    the dead man. Remember that in line 7, they shot at each other,
    and the narrator could just as easily have been the dead man. In
    fact, he imaginarily becomes the dead man. We as readers know
    this is a imaginary life he has placed the dead man within, but we
    learn something about the narrator's life — that he enlisted ('list) in
    war because he was out of work, and had sold his "traps" which we
    can read as "possessions," not because of a cause he believed in,
    but as something to do. He did it off-hand, without much thought
    about the possible the consequences, including the situation he has
    just encountered.
   Line 17
   Now the speaker gives some thought to the
    condition of war. The word "quaint" is an unusual
    one to use here. One can think of it as a word
    which describes antique shops, not a war, but it
    can also be taken to mean cunning. Still, the
    explanation point suggests a tone that is not dire
    but almost ponderingly wonderous and the word
    "curious" while suggesting perplexion does not
    suggest despair that another speaker in the same
    situation might have voiced.
   Lines 18-20
   Here the narrator defines the curious nature of war — you shoot a man,
    who under other circumstances you would act kindly toward, a man who
    could possibly become your friend. "Half-a-crown" is roughly about sixty
    cents, and it is probably not so much that the narrator imagines the fellow
    as a beggar as it is that he feels that his own character in a different
    context is one which would be willing to do a stranger who needed it, a
    kindness, and so by the end of the poem he has also arrived at a kind
    assessment of himself. He has done so with the presumption that his
    actions are universal, saying, "You shoot a fellow down / You'd treat" in
    lines 18-19, rather than using the first person as he did in "I shot at him..."
    in line 7. This movement from individual accountability to universal
    justification leads the speaker to a distance within himself and perhaps
    causes the use of the second person when the poet may still be speaking
    of himself.

				
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