Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind
The shots he describes are the medium shot (waist up, gestures), close-ups (chest up, facial expressions), and long shots (figures against landscapes from a distance) (Semansky 258). Semansky believes that Crane alluded to Mars, the Roman God of War. “Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom —-“ is the part of the poem containing the allusion (Crane). Semansky believes the allusion lends the poem an epic feel and that the poem foreshadows some of the great antiwar poems of the first world war (Semansky 258).
He also says that Crane’s poem is about a correspondent whose job is to report. The correspondent uses bitter irony to comment on the ways in which the governments perpetuate lies about the nature and purposes of war (Semansky 258). “These men were born to drill and die/point for them the virtue of slaughter/Make plain to them the excellence of killing. ” (Crane). These three lines from Crane’s poem clarify Semansky’s statement that the government perpetuates lies with the words “they were born to drill and die, virtue of slaughter, and excellence of killing”. Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches/raged at his breast, gulped and died” (Crane). These lines clarify Semansky’s statement that Crane provides a clear picture of the physical and psychological suffering soldiers endure (Semansky 259). The final stanza of this poem is “Mother whose head hung low as a button/on the bright splendid shroud of your son,/do not weep/war is kind” (Crane). This is possibly the most heart-wrenching and depressing stanza. It underscores the hopelessness of victims, both living and dead (Semansky 259).
A mother who has just lost her son is going to be devastated and she is going to be bitter, therefore, she is going to join the speaker in the bitterness he feels. “War is Kind” is an untrue statement because it most definitely not kind (Semansky 258). The irony in this statement plays a large role in understanding this poem because it is repeated in almost every stanza. Semanksy’s criticism of the poem is very informative and is very useful when analyzing this poem. Crane’s poem is a good poem, especially when you read Semansky’s criticism with it.
Semansky’s criticism is a great article that analyzes the most important events in Crane’s poem. He also is encouraging people to join him in the bitterness that he feels. I believe that he succeeds. Works Cited Crane, Stephen. “Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind. ” in Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Eds. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddke River: Prentice-Hall, 1995. 928. Semansky, Chris. Essay on “War is Kind. ” (Poetry for Students. ) Eds. Mary Ruby and Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 9. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2000. 257-259.