What Is The Theme Of War Is Kind By Stephen Crane

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In his poem, “War is Kind,” Stephen Crane strongly exemplifies and criticizes the effects of war on those indirect victims from an ironic perspective. The poem begins with the speaker telling a woman not to cry for her lover who has died in the war; he tells a child and a mother the same sentence. Through the poem, the speaker tells the readers in an ironic tone why the war is good; he remembers the battlefield, the drums, and the trenches. In each of these images, readers can appreciate that the war is not as good as the speaker suggests and that those who have lost loved ones on the battlefield cannot see the glory and goodness that speaker gives to war. During the development of the poem, the speaker tells over and over again to the relatives…show more content…
That is to say, it refers to the indoctrination to which the soldiers submit when they enter the army; indoctrination that is reinforced in times of war so that soldiers are willing to die in defense of those principles and ideals that their country pursues. In Crane’s poem, the idea of this fierce indoctrination is reinforced in verse 7 by stating that “these men were born to drill and die;” in this verse, the speaker indicates that the purpose of soldiers’ lives can be summarized in indoctrinating and dying. This idea is repeated on at least two occasions during the development of Crane’s poem; therefore, this verse ironically points out the perception of governments and civil society in general about soldiers. The image of rumbling drums is a clear sign of the contempt for the lives of those men and women who die in defense of what they believe is right, of the indoctrination they possibly receive since they were children, and of the suffering of the relatives who they see their loved ones go to war and never return. Crane makes his poem a criticism of the military regime that both despises life, but it ironically defends the rights and freedom of citizens of many countries around the world. In the…show more content…
War is kind tirelessly repeats the speaker throughout the 26 verses of this poem. However, the speaker also remembers the battlefield, but not in a happy or heroic way. When the speaker remembers the battlefield, he indicates that it is a place “where a thousand corpses lie” (XXX). This description of the battlefield creates a visual image of terror and rejection; an image that reminds readers that in war it is not all happiness and honor, but death lurks around every corner. This image of the battlefield reinforces the ironic tone of the poem that on the one hand says that the war is good and kind, but, on the other side, it emphasizes the atrocities that the soldiers suffer. This image of the battlefield full of dead people is an exemplification of the cruelty and fatality that the war provokes on soldier’s lives. Moreover, in the poem, the speaker reinforces this image by indicating, “point for them the virtue of slaughter / make plain to them the excellence of killing” (20-21). In these verses, the speaker reinforces that image of atrocity in the battlefields and points out how in the army, in many cases, these massacres are not only justified but also applauded. The excellence of killing reinforces the image of the battlefield full of
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