1. Why does the poem end with a short (six-syllable or trimeter) line?

2. What is the effect or purpose of the various Boer expressions?

3. What is the essential contrast in the poem?

4. Why has Hardy chosen the lowly rank of drummer and the surname Hodge?

5. Why specifically are the stars "foreign" and "strange-eyed" (presumably to the spirit of the slain youth)?

6. Why is Hodge's final resting-place ironic?

7. The stars may imply destiny or fate; if they do so here, what is Hardy's implication about young Europeans dying in foreign fields?

8. What is the implication in "fresh from his Wessex home" (line 8)?

9. What significance might there be to the three-part division and 18-line structure?

10. What contribution to the effect of the poem do the alternating rhyme scheme and alternating tetrameter/trimeter lines make?

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Last modified 29 July 2004