What is the picture of Hodge that we get from the poem "Drummer Hodge"?
The overwhelming impression that this poem gives us of poor Drummer Hodge is the way in which he is so obviously a fish out of water in the country where he dies and is buried. It is interesting to note that each stanza in this poem mentions the "foreign constellations" in one form or another of where Drummer Hodge will be buried. The stanza where this is reinforced the most, however, is the second, where the strangeness of Drummer Hodge's South African burial place is contrasted to his English roots:
Young Hodge the Drummer never knew --
Fresh from his Wessex home --
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.
The innocence and lack of experience of Drummer Hodge is thus emphasised, as he knew absolutely nothing of the country that he was going to fight and die in and now this will be his home eternally. Hardy thus questions the motives behind such a war that transports young men such as Drummer Hodge over vast spans of miles to die in a foreign land.