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Themes

Is there anything scarier than war on the front lines? The soldiers in "Strange Meeting" have experienced the horrors of battle up close and personal. They've felt the horror of killing another man, and the fear of imminent death. Unfortunately, when death does come a'knocking, it doesn't seem to be giving them any break from horror. They're to be stuck permanently in a state of fear. Even though there's no sign of gunshots or bombs, the war plays in their minds like a broken record—a terrifying broken record that they have no way of turning off. Ever.

Questions About Fear

  1. Does speaker number one seem afraid? If so, when do you first notice it? If not, explain your answer. 
  2. If speaker number two has already been killed, why do you think he's so afraid? 
  3. Besides the horror of the soldiers' own experiences, what else do you think Owen is trying communicate that we should be afraid of? 
  4. According to this poem, what do you think the most frightening aspect of hell is? Explain your answer.

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The soldiers are afraid because they died in a state of fear, and now that they're in hell, they can never escape that fear.

The fear the soldiers feel is in part because of their own experience, and in part because they're afraid war will continue on earth for all future generations.

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