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What kind of literary devices were used in "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy?

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elen | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 7, 2010 at 12:50 AM via web

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What kind of literary devices were used in "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:01 AM (Answer #1)

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The central device of Thomas Hardy's "The Man He Killed" is irony.  The world is a place of chance and irony for Hardy.

The same man who, met in normal, everyday circumstances, might be a man you would have a drink with or loan a buck to, when met during wartime, is a man you kill.  And there's no ideology in the poem.  The two men facing each other on opposing sides do not have different opinions on vital issues, and are not fighting for any ideologies.  They joined up because they needed money, or for some such trivial reason.  They have nothing against each other.

Yet, when one is in a situation of kill or be killed, one kills.  These men have absolutely nothing against one another, yet one kills the other during the muck and mayhem of a battle.

That is irony.

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anujumairah | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM (Answer #2)

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Hardy has not only used irony in this poem. 

He has also used a dramatic monologue (narrative), the perspective of the first person singular, the colloquial diction/jargon, punctuation, repetition and enjambment. 

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