Hardy, "The Man He Killed": After the War

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After reading Hardy's "The Man He Killed," I picture a sweet old man sitting in a lonely bar.  His eyes are downcast and he's been milking a single scotch all night.  He's approachable, yet not needy or asking for attention.  He's only at the bar to ease his mind; perhaps it gives him a break from the stillness of a quiet home.  I imagine he likes country music, and his best friend is a golden retriever named Buddy.  He never felt the need to hang up his war medals and he never joined the VFW.  After the war was over he came home, hugged his mom, shook his dad's hand, told his younger brother to go to college instead of enlisting, and then took a job working at Lowes.  He doesn't severely regret his time in the military because everyone was so proud of him for serving his country.  Nobody forgot to tell him thank you.  He just wasn't the same when came back.  He didn't laugh quite as often and the youthful sparkle had faded from his eyes.  He never became an alcoholic and never contemplated suicide.  Once he even brought his old uniform and told stories about the military for his little niece's elementary class.  It was hard on him because one of the kids asked him if he ever killed a man.  He didn't know what to say, so he told the truth.  When the boy persisted and asked, "Why?" he didn't really have an answer.  All he could think of was "Because-because he was my foe." 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL237/2009/08/hardy_the_man_he_killed/

1 Comments

Brooke Kuehn said:

I love how you described his life. It is so easy to picture. I feel as though he will always be distant to the ordeal because it is easier to leave the past in the past and to not dwell on something so traumatic. If he were to sulk in the memory, he would not be able to move on.

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