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Some themes that seem to be present in this poem are loneliness at death, the purpose of war, and that which turns a boy into a man. At one point in the poem, the soldier gets shot and holds onto a friend as he starts to pass away. It would seem from this line that the boy is not truly alone, but then remembering the fact that the picture of his family is with him reminds us that a person would probably prefer to die among family rather than out on a dusty desert on the other side of the world. Since the soldier is just a young man, the word "boy" is used to identify his youth and that he should have many more years ahead of him. The whole situation grants the boy manhood which is defined by many as facing the worst with courage. In this poem he holds his head high even though he knows it's the end and he probably feels angry and afraid. Another theme that is brought up is the Judeo-Christian teachings of "thou shalt not kill" in contrast to how the boy dies. Many themes are interwoven throughout this poem's tapestry for sure.
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