The Soldier Theme of Man and the Natural World
The speaker of "The Soldier" is very closely linked to the natural world. He returns to the earth when he dies (in the form of dust). And, as a child, he was "washed" and "blest" by the rivers and suns of his homeland. The natural world, it seems, plays a big role in our development as human beings, perhaps an even bigger role than our parents. Thanks, nature!
Questions About Man and the Natural World
- What is the role that nature plays in this poem? How can you tell?
- What is the deal with all the dust in this poem? How is it important?
- Is the speaker being sarcastic when he says "some corner of a foreign field"? Or do you think he sees his death as a worthy sacrifice? How can you tell?
Chew on This
We're not buying it. The speaker's use of the natural world in this poem is directly related to his patriotic feelings. It's the country he loves most, not nature itself.
Puh-leeze. The poem implies that fighting over land is ridiculous. The speaker's pride in acquiring "some corner of a foreign field" rings quite hollow.