Everything you need to understand or teach The Conquerors by Phyllis McGinley.
In the first line, McGinley uses the word vainglorious, which means conceited or to believe that one is self-important. Her use of this word sets the tone of the entire poem, as she mocks any American who might have been feeling high and mighty with regard to the U.S. victory in World War II. It is easy to infer from the first three lines of this poem that McGinley intends to knock down a few pegs anyone who might feel proud about killing fellow human beings.
By the fourth line, the reader not only can infer what McGinley's intentions are but can deduce the manner in which she will reveal her intentions—tongue-in-cheek irony. To do this, she reaches back into history and brings forward to the reader the humble beginnings of war by mentioning the rudimentary weapons of cave men. In this way, she immediately dismisses the "prowess homicidal"... View more of the The Conquerors Summary