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Channel Firing Summary & Analysis
by Thomas Hardy

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English poet and novelist Thomas Hardy wrote "Channel Firing" in 1914, just months before World War I began. The poem imagines a graveyard that is disturbed by the noise of warships firing their guns out at sea. Although the firing is only practice, not an actual battle, the noise is enough to wake the dead in the graveyard. They think it is Judgement Day (i.e., the Apocalypse), but God reassures them that it's just business as usual here on Earth. In this bleakly satirical back-and-forth between God and the dead, the poem presents a pessimistic view of human history and modern war.

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