What is the purpose of the poem? What is the main topic of "War is Kind"?What is the purpose of the poem? What is the main topic? what issues , problems or events are presented in the poem? please...

What is the purpose of the poem? What is the main topic of "War is Kind"?

What is the purpose of the poem? What is the main topic? what issues , problems or events are presented in the poem? please help me ! 

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

This complex and painfully ironic poem is built on the underlying metaphor that compares successful men in war to an unsuccessful man in love.  A prevailing theme of this expansive exploration of "Bloody mistakes; / Slimed with victories over the lesser," is justice versus injustice. The purpose is to use irony and many many illustrations to point out that war is madness. The topic then is the madness of war and is approach from myriad illustrative angles.

Ironic Topic
Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow
    trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Theme
"Have you ever made a just man?"
"Oh, I have made three," answered
     God,
"But two of them are dead,
"And the third--
"Listen! Listen!
"And you will hear the thud of his defeat."

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Whenever I read Crane’s poetry, I think of The Red Badge of Courage.  This book, which takes place during the US Civil War, is about a young man’s disillusionment with war, heroism, and the concept of bravery.  Crane uses similar ideas in this poem criticizing war.  What I like about this poem, in contrast to the stark yet poetic The Red Badge of Courage, is that this poem alludes to those who are left behind as part of its ironic message.

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