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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

There are no heroes in "Arms and the Boy." Ah, but there are heroic couplets. Unfortunately, there's nothing heroic about heroic couplets, so we're kind of back to square one on that front. But at...

Speaker

We're not gonna lie: the speaker of "Arms and the Boy" is a bit of a weirdo. He seems to really want this boy to get a feel for the murderous nature of weaponry, as if he thinks the kid is too much...

Setting

"Arms and the Boy" sounds an awful lot like it's going down at a World War I training camp. But where we actually are in the poem is less important than the larger context of World War I in general...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of the poem, "Arms and the Boy," has two parts—the arms… and the boy. Before you say duh!, hear us out. Including both those things in the title helps set us up for the poem's double...

Calling Card

Most of Wilfred Owen's poetry deals with World War I and the horrors of modern warfare. There's a lot of death and killing, and in general Owen paints a pretty bleak picture. "Arms and the Boy" is...

Tough-o-Meter

Except for a few tricky turns of phrase, "Arms and the Boy" shouldn't give you too much trouble.

Trivia

Never one for good timing, Wilfred Owen was killed just a week before World War I ended. (Source.) One of the twentieth century's most important poets, William Butler Yeats, was very critical of Ow...

Steaminess Rating

War poems in general are not the sexiest.

Allusions

George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man (title) Virgil's Aeneid (title)World War I (throughout)
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