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Five Ways To Kill A Man Analysis



Author: poem of Edwin Brock Type: poem Views: 156

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There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.

You can make him carry a plank of wood

to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this

properly you require a crowd of people

wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak

to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one

man to hammer the nails home.



Or you can take a length of steel,

shaped and chased in a traditional way,

and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.

But for this you need white horses,

English trees, men with bows and arrows,

at least two flags, a prince, and a

castle to hold your banquet in.



Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind

allows, blow gas at him. But then you need

a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,

not to mention black boots, bomb craters,

more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs

and some round hats made of steel.



In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly

miles above your victim and dispose of him by

pressing one small switch. All you then

require is an ocean to separate you, two

systems of government, a nation's scientists,

several factories, a psychopath and

land that no-one needs for several years.



These are, as I began, cumbersome ways

to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat

is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle

of the twentieth century, and leave him there.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Just to let readers know that the forth stanza is about the cold war, the psychopath is the one who would be witty enough to press the switch that will destroy mankind.

| Posted on 2016-04-28 | by a guest


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The second stanza describes the process of killing in the medieval period. The "length of steel" and "metal cage" refer to sword and armor respectively.The description in particular matches with the battle of roses fought between york and lancaster houses in england,it was called battle of roses because the flags of the houses consisted of roses red and white respectively.

| Posted on 2015-07-01 | by a guest


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Brock deals with the progression of death across history and concludes that death carries no emotions for the victim; death sees only death. The progression of death throughout the poem follows the significant periods of death over the past two thousand years or so. In the first stanza, death is represented through crucifiction - not necessarily of Jesus, but his death is implied - the second stanza deals with death through the ages, more specifically the Middle Ages where by death was simplistic and is represented thusly. The third stanza deals with WWI - not WWII - this can be seen through the "round hats made of steel,". The fourth stanza looks at the Cold War and further emphasises the lack of emotions of death through the depersonalisation of "victims" followed by, again, simplicity surrounding death with "pressing one small switch." The fifth and final stanza comments on the last way to kill a man - letting him live in the 20th century. The poem implies that the death and destruction is condensing throughout history, making it an everyday thing that will continue on its path.

| Posted on 2015-03-23 | by a guest


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Well the bonus one would come from "Bricktop" in "The Snatch" - ˇyou can feed him to pigs".
The 3rd stanza: chorine gas used in the 2nd battle of Ypres 1915 - it took a week to dig the gas tanks and fuse mechanisms in " no mans land" and even longer time to wait for the "wind to allow blowing gas at him". In very short time they applied gas onto shells delivered by artilery so the wind was no longer a decisive factor. "Dispensing with nobility" - there was a huge debate on German side on the morality to use gas, irony is the fact that the "inventor" was awarded the Nobel price tor chemistry later - how noble :-( Ypres was also know to be the "muddest" terrain in the western front.
"round hats made of steel" - the modern helmet was first used in ww1, Somme.
"Dozen songs" - no idea, any thougth?

| Posted on 2014-06-05 | by a guest


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The first one was a crucifiction of Jesus. I think that because he said "a cloak to dissec, a sponge, some vinegar" If you are familiar with Bible you would know what all of these are needed for.

| Posted on 2014-01-09 | by a guest


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This poem tells how we have become more cruel as we have progressed. If progression refers to more advanced thought process then certainly the ill effects are in front of us. Now, from the first to the forth stanza in four different process of homicide the death toll gradually increases; from crucification, stabbing to blowing of toxic gases and lastly the atom bomb in every step forward the death toll increases. in the fifth stanza from corporal death it extends to spiritual death. One is said to be kept amdist the chaos of 20th century and nothing rescue him from the impending doom.

| Posted on 2014-01-08 | by a guest


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nobody realises but there is only 4 real ways to kill a man in this poem. the last one is a mockery of how people live in the twentieth century.

| Posted on 2013-09-02 | by a guest


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The first four stanzas are pretty straightforward.
The first is obviously about Jesus in the first century.
The second is the European Middles ages ranging from the fifth to fifteenth centuries.
The third is World War I in the early 1900s.
The fourth is World War II in the mid 1900s.
The poem gets progressively more violent and killing more people and as time goes on, the people of each century become less and less religious.
The last stanza is very confusing. But a \"simpler, direct, and much more neat\" way to kill a man is to leave him in a century full of no hope or lacks religious belief. I believe the meaning of this poem is that the world\'s history has killed the twentieth century man.

| Posted on 2012-03-08 | by a guest


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What does Edwin Brock mean by "or you can take a length of stell"? please i need help;

| Posted on 2010-03-23 | by a guest


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I don't believe on "Five Ways To Kill A Man" that he was refering to gas chanbers in the holocaust, but refering to clorine gas also known as Mustard Gas. My reasoning for this is that it says in the poem right in front of me, "IF THE WIND ALLOWS, BLOW GAS AT HIM" which u wouldn't have to worry about if being blown inside a chamber, but outside over no mans land u would.

| Posted on 2009-06-03 | by a guest


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actually this does not refer to jesus, just crusificition in general. and the gassing is not hitler in ww2, it is trench gas in ww1.

| Posted on 2009-02-05 | by a guest


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This poem is realy good becaouse it talks about the olden ways of killing some one

| Posted on 2009-01-23 | by a guest


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in this poem Edwin Brock is trying to tell five different types of terrible incidents taken place in which death has taken place.first stanza tells about the Jesus Christ's crucifiction.in the second stanza he is telling about the knights,how brave they were?in the third stanza telling about the cruelty of Adolf Hitler,heh is the only person uptill now responsible for killing five million people.over here Edwin is talking about the concentrated camps,where a large amount of people were put in a small room and badly suffocated because of a gas blowed in the room.in the fourth stanza he is talking about the massacre occored in World War 2 where capatalist and communist countries fought with each other.last stanza is a perfect stroke given by the poet which makes us realize that how we are filling this world with dishonesty and cruelty.the people living in 20th century were materialistic,harsh on other's lives how we are ruining the world.

| Posted on 2008-03-28 | by a guest




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