ESSAY 4 DIRECTIONS
First, explain in simple contemporary language what is going on in each set of lines (or stanza)—write as if this were being said today in a local club or bar. In other words, change the language here from that of late 19th century England to that of a club in your city or region today.
Then explainFILLER TEXTabout the narrator’s (the speaker’s in the poem–not Thomas Hardy’s) argument about why he killed the man. Then, based on his language and delivery, explain his argument–whether or not he feels he did the right thing when he killed the man. Finally, explain the narrator’s attitude (or feelings) toward war itself.
In your essay be specific. Use “proof” from the poem to show your argument or points. This proof will be specific statements the narrator makes.
“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy
“Had he and I but met FILLER TEXTBy some old ancient inn, FILLER TEXTWe should have sat us down to wet FILLER TEXTRight many a nipperkin! [a half pint of beer]
“But ranged as infantry, FILLER TEXTAnd staring face to face, FILLER TEXTI shot at him as he at me, FILLER TEXTAnd killed him in his place.
“I shot him dead because — FILLER TEXTBecause he was my foe, FILLER TEXTJust so: my foe of course he was; FILLER TEXTThat’s clear enough; although
“He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps, [list is slang for enlist]FILLER TEXTOff-hand like — just as I — FILLER TEXTWas out of work — had sold his traps — [trappings—his clothes, tools, belongings]FILLER TEXTNo other reason why.
“Yes; quaint and curious war is! FILLER TEXTYou shoot a fellow down FILLER TEXTYou’d treat if met where any bar is, FILLER TEXTOr help to half-a-crown.” [English coin, like saying a few bucks]