• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the poems Vultures and What where they were like? Focus on the use of layout, language and literary devices

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the poems 'Vultures' and 'What where they were like?' Focus on the use of layout, language and literary devices In the poems 'Vultures' by Chinua Achebe and 'What were they were like?' by Denise Levertov, the poets use of highly descriptive language, vivid visual imagery and interesting form of layout, instantly captivate the attention of the reader as you engage and learn of the powerful themes evoked in the poems, linking to topics such as War, Evil and the power of Love. The main topic explored by Chinua Achebe in the poem 'Vultures' is the relationship between evil and love. The beginning of the poem is an unpleasant description of a pair of vultures who are nestling lovingly together just after feasting on a corpse. The poet comments on how strange it is that love can exist in places where it is not thought possible. Here the Vultures are used as a symbol of the fact that evil and love can co-exist and work together. Achebe then goes on to describe the 'love' a concentration camp commandant shows to his family; for after spending his day burning human corpses, he buys his children sweets on the way home. ...read more.

Middle

The structure of the poem is very unique. It is split into two verses. The first of is a list of questions and the second verse represents the answers. This causes the reader to think more about the questions before you read the answers. The questions are mostly straightforward and the questioner's tone is curious and almost innocent as the questions display a lack of knowledge about other cultures. However the tone of the questioner also conveys a lack of sensitivity and seems to be laughing at the ways of the Vietnamese. In the first line the word Vietnam is split into two, which also highlights the ignorance of the questioner. 'Did the people of Viet Nam use lanterns of stone?' (L.1-2) The words of the person answering these questions seem to convey anger, bitterness and even impatience with the questioner, as if the answerer was not happy with the events that occurred. However, on the surface they answer with a polite tone which gives the idea that the Vietnamese people were gentle and kind. Together, these verses create a portrait of simple peasant people, living a happy and humble life among the paddy fields. This contrasts with the terrible effects of war, as children are killed, bones were charred- 'All the bones were charred' (L.18) ...read more.

Conclusion

(L.21-29) There is a lot of imagery and some alliteration in the poem, but little sound imagery as Achebe concentrates on using visual imagery rather than sound to present his ideas. In 'What were they like' Levertov uses alliteration such as 'bitter to the burned mouth' (L.16) to emphasize the horrors and terrible effects the war brought upon the poor people of Vietnam. Levertov's language also bring images of these deeds into the readers mind and his use of vivid imagery helps the reader to imagine what the war was really like, just by reading this poem. Sound is also used in this poem to add effect. Denise Levertov uses words such as 'laughter' and 'singing' so that the reader can hear what life was like for the peasants in Vietnam before the war. These words create a happy sound and image of how life was. However, with the use of 'scream' and 'smash' we also learn the sounds of life during and after the war which fills the reader's mind with sounds of terror. Both of these poems are written with completely different structures, but use similar language and literary devices. The themes are based around powerful subjects and although they are different, they are still based around horror, evil and love. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing poems section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing poems essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Compare how the poems What Were They Like and Vultures present the cruelty of ...

    4 star(s)

    He admires the 'pebble on a stem' as well designed, similar to that of a tank, but at the same time well designed machines could also be cruel. The father in the poem is similar to the vultures.

  2. How do the poets of Vultures and Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful ...

    By this he is showing the disgusting horrid behaviour and instincts of the vultures. He describes how "the picked the eyes of a swollen corpse". This is particularly powerful as the verb picking does not bear any resemblance to humans eating.

  1. Two Scavengers and Nothings Changed both use language and layout to convey the writers ...

    However, the verses about the Mercedes occupants seem far more ordered and solid as in Verse 2 as they come from a higher order of class. This, again, is reflected in Verse 3. Thus, the poem has a very irregular shape to show how the American dream is enjoyed by

  2. Comparing and Contrasting Poems

    Even though some people may argue that 'Sacrifice' is also used to set the scene, I disagree. The argument is that the word 'Sacrifice' in itself gives us a vision of the past as these things aren't common anymore; so the word helps the reader visualise the time set.

  1. Clash of cultures coursework

    eat properly, the young woman on the train cannot afford the lion carving that she wants to buy. The clash between the cultures here is that they both cannot afford different things: "But the wooden buck, the hippos, the elephants, the baskets that already bulked out of their brown paper under the seat and the luggage rack!"

  2. poems - compare and contrast

    He goes on to talk as if she were still alive and there, talking in the present, 'and there she stands.' Still the Duke has not mentioned as to why she were a painting, as if he wanted her to be a painting and nothing more possibly.

  1. Comparison of love poems

    The second pair of poems is "When we two parted" by Lord Byron and "Villegiature" by Edith Nesbit.These are now about a much later phase of love, showing its condition after it has somewhat decayed and the passion has fizzled out.

  2. Compare and Contrast the way the poets(TM) present the relationship between men and women ...

    This relates to the biblical reference of 'ashes to ashes dust to dust.' This emphasises his thriving passionate lust, which would be reduced to dust if she does comply. He carries on the image of death as he says that the grave is a "fine and private place."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work