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The Man He Killed

The Man He Killed


by Thomas Hardy

The Man He Killed Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What's the takeaway here? Is this an anti-war poem? Or is Hardy merely pointing out one of the downsides to war? 
  2. Aside from finding it "curious," how do you think this speaker really feels about having killed a man? Is he as casual about the whole thing as his words would seem to suggest? Or can you find any reason to think otherwise in the poem?
  3. What's the effect of having this poem be written in a strict meter with a strict rhyme scheme? Does that sing-songy effect undercut the poem in any way, or is it just right? What makes you say so?
  4. Why do you think this is a spoken poem? Where do we imagine this guy talking? Is he maybe at a bar with his real friends? Would that add anything to the poem?
  5. Why did the speaker shoot the other guy, really? Can you find the true answer anywhere in the poem, or is it left open to interpretation?

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