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Comparative Analysis - This Is Water vs. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

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Sophie Karbjinski Comparative Analysis Due: 04.09.2012 English A ? HL ?This Is Water? vs. ?God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater? Word count: 400 David Foster Wallace?s ?This Is Water?, Text A, is a witty, original and meaningful commencement speech he gave to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. The short quote from Kurt Vonnegut?s novel ?God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater?, Text B, is a short speech directed to babies, describing how the world works and what the only rule is. In ?This Is Water? Foster Wallace is trying to present a different view on the daily life of grown-ups and the way we interact with people in situations of conflict and stress and the ?difficulty of empathy?. The quote from ?God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater? seems very light and slightly absurd at first, but gives you the most basic definition of the essence of what should enable mankind to live together in peace. ...read more.


or him not being the ?wise old fish?. Text B has a very specific diction, which is simple yet catchy, due to the very effective imagery Vonnegut creates, but also the structure catches the reader off-guard. The quote starts of with a sentence fragment; ?Hello, babies?. This comes as a surprise because people do not normally directly address babies so directly or simply as a generic group like this. It raises questions. Who are these babies and why are we talking to them? Then Vonnegut gives us an unusually simple description of the world. The summer is ?hot?, the winter is ?cold? and the earth is ?round and wet and crowded?. The narrators voice seems very kind, warm and almost humorous, creating a welcoming atmosphere. He addresses the ?babies? twice more, adding further weight to the question of whom he is talking to. ...read more.


Vonnegut is trying to deliver the exact same message in Text B, he only condenses it into three lines, that reach your heart as effectively as Wallace?s five pages, if not more so, due to the genuine truth, which every human feels deep in his bones and Vonnegut stated so nakedly that it hurts ?God damn it ? you?ve got to be kind?. Although Text A and B might seem to not share many similarities on a first glance, judging by the text type, structure and tone, once you analyze them more closely and discover the deeper meaning and what they are trying to express, you realize that they both deal such a pressing issue to all mankind, the environment and everything we interact with. They way Vonnegut puts it, it seems so easy, the one rule, just don?t be mean, something which artists and people all throughout history have been expressing. The infinite longing for peace, that seems so difficult to achieve. This is what both texts come down to in the end, the appeal to humanity to just ?be kind?. ...read more.

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