In "Butch Weldy," what does the speaker mean when he says, "I didn't know him at all"?  

Asked on by kpf

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Butch Weldy is blinded by a workplace accident. As he testifies in court about the incident, he is most likely seeking compensation from his employer for his injuries. The "him" in the poem is the same person as Butch Weldy's "fellow servant" and the same someone who "left a blow-fire going." In other words, he is the person responsible for Butch's blindness. Because of "him," Butch will be blind without any type of workers' compensation, and at the poem's end, Butch is flabbergasted that someone who is responsible for changing his life so drastically is a person whom he does not even know. He is looking for someone to blame and to hold accountable, but he goes to his death (hence, his epitaph) without even that slight satisfaction.


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