Everything you need to understand or teach War Is Kind by Stephen Crane.
The title alerts us to the ironic tone of the poem, as it is very difficult to imagine war being kind in any way. The opening stanza confirms that tone, as it addresses the lover of a soldier who has died in battle, telling her not to weep at his death. We are then presented a melodramatic image of that death, with the dying soldier throwing his "wild hands towards the sky/ And ... [his] affrighted steed ... running on alone." Since this poem was originally published, the image of the riderless horse galloping away from its fallen owner has become a staple of Western movies.
The speaker now presents more generalized images and statements about war, as opposed to the close-up image in the opening stanza. These lines convey a sense of the soldiers' exhaustion, futility, and resignation, as they fight with the flag ("unexplained glory") flying overhead.... View more of the War Is Kind Summary