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A Comparisson Between Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth and London by William Blake

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Introduction

Comparing Two Poems - Green Beret by Ho Thien and The Identification by Roger McGough The Identification and Green Beret are two very different poems, but they also have their similarities. They are both about conflict and have themes of loss and destruction but as they are from different eras and countries. I will explore the numerous differences and similarities in this essay. The Identification is focuses on a young boy who was caught in an IRA bombing in Ireland. It is a poem going through a series of events, so it tells a story; the story of a man identifying his son's body. It's written in the first person which makes it personal to the narrator, almost as if the reader is inside the man's mind. We can guess that the narrator is the father from the line 'He wouldn't disobey me. Not his father.' We also can guess that the father is in a hospital or a mortuary, as this is where identifications of bodies usually take place. The reader has no introduction to the events except for the title and the first line 'So you think its Stephen?' tells us that Stephen is being identified. Because we have no introduction or explanation, the reader has to use their imagination and piece together events through hints and small pieces of information given throughout the poem. I think this has a good effect because it makes the reader have to think through the poem and perhaps read it more than once in order to understand all of the events. ...read more.

Middle

When he says nothing, one mercenary says that the boy has ten seconds, or they will kill his father. When the boy continues to be silent, the mercenary commands for the father to be killed. The boy is distraught and the troops leave. We then discover that the boy knew everything all along; where the Guerrilla troops were hiding, their names and secrets. The poem is written so that it tells a story to the readers- we only know as much as we would if we were watching the scene happen, until the end, when we are told the boy knows more than he lets on. This is a good affect because it is unexpected and a twist at the end of the story. There are a few themes in this poem. Firstly the conflict; the conflict between the Vietnamese citizens and the American troops in the time of the Vietnam war- even though the Americans were supposed to be there to help they made things worse, but also the conflict which must have been in the boy's mind- the decision of helping the American troops and saving his father or working toward the greater good and not giving anything away, but sacrificing his father's life. There is a theme of loss- the loss of the father's life and also the loss of human kindness and nature- the American troop completely degraded the Vietnamese. ...read more.

Conclusion

The narrative in the Green Beret is viewing it as a story more than through someone's eyes, and then tells us the extra information at the end. I prefer the style of narration in the Green Beret because it lets us know the surpassing twist and the Identification's narrative was harder to understand. I have mixed feelings about each poem. The Identification was harder for me to understand because of the narrative, although I understand why it was written that way. The more I read it the more I understood it and felt sorry for the narrator and for Stephen. Although the poem is very well written, I feel that better language and metaphors could have been used but because of the narrative they couldn't be said. As I don't know a lot about the conflict in Ireland or the IRA, I can't put it all into perspective either. I find the Green Beret a lot easier to interpret because I know a lot about the Vietnam War so I know what perspective it fits into about the mistreatment of the Vietnamese citizens by American troops. However, it is a biased poem because it doesn't show anything about how young American men were forced to go to war and the majority didn't want to be fighting. Overall, I find both poems interesting but I could identify more with the Green Beret and preferred its structure. I have explored the themes, moods, structures, settings, narratives and more of each poem and looked at the differences and similarities. Both are intruiging and an insight into different sides of conflict. Claire Hubble ...read more.

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