In this prompt you will be asked to make a comparison between two pieces of writing. Regardless of the writing, there are two fundamental ways in which to compare and/or contrast.
The first is point by point. Here, you determine the key points of comparison, and the organization is driven by these ideas. The second is subject by subject. Here, you analyze one piece of literature; then you do the same with the second. There are pros and cons to each one.
In a timed setting, it is easier to start with the subject by subject, but it is more difficult to sustain a parallel discussion of ideas in the second half of the paper. One does more thinking during the writing. In the point by point, more thinking is done earlier on, which means that students must be more patient in getting ideas on to the page. In a timed setting, this is more difficult to do.
What follows are two poems by World War I poets Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen. Read both of these poems carefully. Then, in a well organized essay, compare and/or contrast each author’s view of war, as well as the rhetorical strategies employed to convey that view.
||Poem #1: “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
||Poem #2: “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen
To rally their people to enlist in the army during these days, the countries involved appealed to their patriotism. In England, one popular way of doing this was to quote from an ode by the Roman poet Horace, who wrote “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” This means “it is sweet and fitting to die for your country.” The general population would have been familiar with that sentence.
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Flares: Rockets sent up to light up areas to make the troops there visible targets.
Five-Nines: 5.9 caliber explosive shells
Lime: a white chalky substance used as a disinfectant. It can burn living tissue if it touches it.