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Explain how 'What Were They Like' and 'Vultures' make the reader - Think carefully about the nature of evil

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Gemma Phillips 10-1/T 15th November 2002 Explain how 'What Were They Like' and 'Vultures' make the reader Think carefully about the nature of evil The two poems, 'What Were They Like' and 'Vultures' make the reader think carefully about the nature of evil due to the use of poetic devices by the authors Chinua Achebe and Denise Levertov, the way in which each poem is structured and presented and also the way in which evil is shown in each poem. The poem 'Vultures' portrays a contrast between good and evil, it shows how the two elements can be linked even through complete dissimilarity. ...read more.


It is a series of questions followed by answers which are not fully complete. Both poems use negative adjectives to show the nature of evil. Examples of this from 'Vultures' are greyness, dead, broken, cold, strange and gross. Silent, smashed, charred and bitter are only a few examples of the many in 'What Were They Like'. The use of these negative adjectives shows the authors disapproving opinion of the events described in each poem. Chinua Achebe uses alliteration to9 show his feelings in phrases such as 'drizzle of one despondent' and 'Praise bounteous Providence'. ...read more.


The presentation of 'What Were They Like' is very effective. There are six questions one after another in the first stanza followed by the six answers in the second stanza. The poet answers the questions from what seems like a child's point of view, not quite fully understanding what has happened. Both poems are similar in the way that they are both linked by describing evil through war and conflict. 'Vultures' is relating to the 2nd World War extermination camp at Belsen where many innocent children were destroyed. In the same way, 'What Were They Like' relates to the Vietnamese War where also, many innocent children were wiped out. This is very powerful and is shown very well in each of the poems. ...read more.

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