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Flashcards in The Man He Killed Deck (28):

Who wrote the poem?

Thomas Hardy


When was it written?



When was it published?



Complete the gaps:

"I ____ him ___ because --
Because he was my ___,"

"I shot him dead because --
Because he was my foe,"


What does this quote mean?

"Yes, quaint and curious war is!"

He thinks that war is old-fashioned and 'weird'; it implies that he thinks society should be better and more sophisticated than to fight.


What could the hyphens in this quote suggest?

"Off-hand like -- just as I --
Was out of work -- had sold his traps--"

A broken thought process: the poem is written as a self-reflection so perhaps his feelings of guilt are beginning to overcome him here.


Give an interpretation of this quote:

"my foe of course he was;"

He is reassuring himself to dull his guilt; he wants to feel like shooting the man was the right thing to do.


Complete the gaps:

"Had __ and I but __
By some __ _______ inn,"

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,"


What could you say about this quote?

"staring face to face,"

It shows both soldiers' bravery and pride - they both had their head held high despite the horrible conditions.


Complete the gaps:

"I ____ at him as he at __,
And ______ him in his _____."

"I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place."


What themes are presented in the poem?

Death, the pointlessness of war, brotherhood.


Give two facts about the Second Boer War.

- It was fought between the Dutch and British settlers of the Boer republics in what is now South Africa.
- The war may have been over the diamond and gold mines in the area.


Why do you think that the following lines seem so simple?

"I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place."

They show that the narrator has a 'lack of conviction' - they don't believe in what they're saying and mostly go with the flow. This could reflect the way that soldiers mostly kill people, etc, because they follow orders.


Why does the reader feel empathetic for the narrator?

Because there is a clear attachment between the narrator who he shot because he starts to create a story about the man in order to make them similar


What could you say about the use of colloquial language in the poem?

It shows he isn't very smart
Adds a sense of spontaneity making the tone very conversational


What feature could you pick out from this line and what could you say about it?

"I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place."

Reflective of the gun shots - perhaps the narrator keeps hearing the sound of the fatal shot, as if it's PTSD


Although the soldier appears to be feeling guilty about the death, what could you say about the end of the poem?

The end becomes detached which suggests that he overcomes his guilt and is no longer feeling emotional


Give a quote to support the idea that the end of the poem is detached.

"You shoot a fellow down"


Give an idea relating to the tenses.

The 5th stanza is present tense and 2nd person which implies that the narrator is trying to give advice or a warning to the reader


What could you say about the constant ABAB rhyming pattern?

It doesn't change so reflects how the narrator is being controlled as a soldier
It keeps the reader of edge because it is 'too perfect'


What is important about the way that the end of the poem links back to the start?

It is reflective of how this is a common and continuing process, both war and innocent people getting killed


Why are there speech marks through the whole poem?

Because it's the narrator's thought process - he's talking to himself


Why is important that the narrator seems to be 'brainwashed' into killing the man?

Because the writer wants us to question what we are being told and our social class (inferior and superior)


Give a quote which would explain why a reader would feel empathetic and say why.

" [...] - just as I -
Was out of work [...]
No other reason why."

The narrator is saying that he joined the war merely because he had nothing better to do so we feel sorry for him because he was living life in a very 'simple' way, it was probably peaceful, and he went on to kill someone


Complete the gaps:

"He _______ he'd '____, perhaps,"

"He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,"


Complete the gaps:

"_______ face to ____,"

"staring face to face,"


Complete the gaps:

"You _____ a ______ down"

"You shoot a fellow down"


What themes (of questions) would be suitable for this poem?

The effects of war
The experience of war
Internal conflict