“War is Kind” By: Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane uses literary devices such as imagery and diction to reveal the reality of war therefore developing the ironic tone of the poem “War is Kind.”
In the first stanza the speaker says “[d]o not weep, maiden, for war is kind/ Because your lover threw wild hands to the sky[a]nd the affrighted steed ran on alone…” (1-2); the details of the dying soldier enhances the tragedy of the scene therefore creating a horrifying image contradicting any idea of kindness. In second stanza Stephen Crane illustrates young men marching towards death. He refers to them as "[l]ittle souls who thirst for fight" (5) implying that some human being were made for war, "born to drill and die" (5). He calls the "glory" of battle "unexplained," revealing the irony of using a word such as glory in the same sentence as battlefield (6). In the third stanza the speaker addressed the child of the dead solider telling him/her not to cry for “[war] is kind,” but instead of trying to comfort him/her, Stephen Crane, illustrates the last moment of the soldiers where he “tumbled in yellow trenches, [raging] at his breast, [gulping] and [dying]”(8). In the fifth stanza, the clever use of the term "bright splendid" also draws out the suggestion of the blood with the corpse will now be covered in (13). The image of a mother weeping over the body of her fallen son is also the most heart-wrenching of all the individuals addressed, due to the fact it emphasizes the hopelessness of victims, both living and dead. Through Stephen Crane’s use of imagery, the reality of war is highlighted to the readers.
In addition to imagery, Stephen Crane also uses diction to develop the ironic tone of the poem. Stephen Crane use of highly charged words emphasizes the violence associated with war. As the speaker continues illustrate the scenes of the battlefield a variety of word choice are seen throughout the poem that carry negative meanings. Words such as “affrighted”, “alone”,...