'Ready To Kill' by Carl Sandburg
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Ten minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolveron him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to behauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factoryhand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettesAgainst the skyHere in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work ofthe world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flagin the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of menall over the sweet new grass of the prairie.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Ready to Kill: A Profound Literary Analysis
Are you a poetry lover who is always on the lookout for works that are both engaging and thought-provoking? Look no further than "Ready to Kill" by Carl Sandburg. This masterpiece of American literature is a poetic exploration of the emotions that accompany war and the dark side of human nature.
Set during World War I, "Ready to Kill" paints a vivid picture of soldiers preparing for battle. The opening lines immediately capture the tension of the moment, with the soldiers "buttoning up their overcoats" and "clenching their teeth". Sandburg's use of sensory detail draws the reader into the scene, allowing them to feel the biting cold and sense of foreboding that permeates the air.
At its core, "Ready to Kill" is a meditation on the nature of war and the psychological toll it takes on those who fight it. Sandburg does not shy away from the brutal realities of conflict, describing the soldiers' weapons as "deadly" and noting the "blood on their bayonets". However, he also delves deeper into the emotional and moral ambiguity of war, questioning the motivations behind the soldiers' actions and exploring the idea of killing as both a necessary evil and a personal choice.
One of the most striking aspects of "Ready to Kill" is its tone. Sandburg's language is stark and unadorned, conveying a sense of urgency and raw emotion. The repeated use of the phrase "ready to kill" becomes almost mantra-like, driving home the weight of the soldiers' actions and the gravity of the situation they find themselves in.
Sandburg's use of repetition extends beyond the phrase "ready to kill". Throughout the poem, he employs anaphora, repeating the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines. This creates a sense of rhythm and momentum, propelling the reader forward and underscoring the soldiers' sense of urgency and readiness for battle.
Sandburg's vivid imagery is another standout feature of "Ready to Kill". He uses metaphor and personification to convey the soldiers' emotions and experiences, describing their bayonets as "fierce as ten tigers" and the "wind [as] a big black horse". These vivid images serve to heighten the intensity of the poem and give readers a sense of the soldiers' perspective.
In conclusion, "Ready to Kill" is a haunting and powerful work of poetry that delves deeply into the complexities of war and the human psyche. Sandburg's use of language, imagery, and repetition creates a sense of urgency and tension that draws the reader in and makes them feel the weight of the soldiers' actions. This is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the darker aspects of human nature and the toll that war takes on those who fight it.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a powerful medium that can evoke a range of emotions in its readers. One such poem that has stood the test of time is "Ready to Kill" by Carl Sandburg. This poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition and the destructive nature of war. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, literary devices, and historical context of this classic poem.
Firstly, let's take a look at the themes present in "Ready to Kill". The most prominent theme in this poem is the destructive nature of war. Sandburg paints a vivid picture of the horrors of war, describing the soldiers as "grim and dirty" and the battlefield as a "slaughterhouse". He also highlights the senselessness of war, with lines such as "What is this war?" and "Why are we fighting?".
Another theme that is present in the poem is the dehumanization of soldiers. Sandburg describes the soldiers as "cogs in a machine" and "puppets on a string". This dehumanization is a common theme in war literature, as it highlights the loss of individuality and humanity that occurs in times of conflict.
The third theme that is present in the poem is the idea of sacrifice. Sandburg describes the soldiers as "ready to kill and ready to die". This highlights the sacrifice that soldiers make in order to fight for their country. However, Sandburg also questions the value of this sacrifice, asking "What is this war for?" and "What is the gain?".
Now let's take a look at the literary devices that Sandburg uses in "Ready to Kill". One of the most prominent devices is imagery. Sandburg uses vivid and powerful imagery to paint a picture of the horrors of war. For example, he describes the soldiers as "grim and dirty" and the battlefield as a "slaughterhouse". This imagery creates a sense of horror and disgust in the reader, highlighting the destructive nature of war.
Another literary device that Sandburg uses is repetition. He repeats the phrase "ready to kill" throughout the poem, emphasizing the soldiers' willingness to take another human life. This repetition creates a sense of unease in the reader, highlighting the brutality of war.
Sandburg also uses metaphor in the poem. He describes the soldiers as "cogs in a machine" and "puppets on a string". These metaphors highlight the dehumanization of soldiers in times of war, emphasizing the loss of individuality and humanity that occurs.
Finally, let's take a look at the historical context of "Ready to Kill". This poem was written during World War I, a time of great conflict and destruction. Sandburg himself was a pacifist, and his anti-war sentiments are evident in this poem. The poem was written in 1918, towards the end of the war, and reflects the disillusionment and horror that many people felt towards the conflict.
In conclusion, "Ready to Kill" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that highlights the destructive nature of war. Through vivid imagery, repetition, and metaphor, Sandburg creates a sense of horror and unease in the reader, emphasizing the brutality and dehumanization that occurs in times of conflict. The poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition and the sacrifices that are made in the name of war.
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