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AS and A Level: Comparative Essays

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  1. I have decided to look at 'God's Grandeur' by G.M Hopkins, 'Death be Not Proud' by John Donne and also 'Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day' by William Shakespeare. The reasons the poems were wrote and also the time

    The two main forms of the sonnet are the Petrarchan and Shakespearean. Petrarchan is split into two stanzas an octave followed by a sestet with the sestet being used to reflect or sum up the octave of the sonnet. In contrast, the Shakespearian style of sonnet was to divide the 14 lines into three quatrains and a couplet but like the Petrarchan style, it has the change in emphasis, although it is a shorter couplet used for summing the sonnet up. This poem 'Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day?' is one of Shakespeare's most famous sonnet and also one of his finest, throughout the centuries since Shakespeare wrote the sonnet

    • Word count: 2114
  2. Compare the poems 'Upon his Leaving his Mistress' by John Wilmot and '[I am very bothered when I think]' by Simon Armitage.

    This serves to provide the poem with constancy, which places the poet's thoughts in a recognisably organised fashion. Comparatively, Armitage has created a poem with unequal stanzas; the first being the longest with 7 lines as in Wilmot's, this is followed by a quatrain and a final 3 line stanza. This irregularity can also be observed from other features of the poem which uses iambic pentameter for the majority, yet is interrupted with several lines of varying length. His poem, seemingly illustrating his inner feelings, comes across as a thought more effectively this way. It is clear that Wilmot's poem devises the use of tetrameter, where as Armitage uses an inconsistent metre.

    • Word count: 1046
  3. The following essay will examine the two poems, 'The Raven' by Edgar Alan Poe and 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?' by William Shakespeare

    With characteristic skill Shakespeare uses the conventional Sonnet to exalt his beloved and consequently poetry, whereas Poe chooses to use free verse and most notably a powerful refrain, repeating the word 'Nevermore' (seen in Li6 Sta8-18) to chill the modern reader. Poe unconventionally writes his tale backwards. Through this, the effect is determined first and the whole plot is set; then the web grows in reverse from the original effect. Common theme of love and beauty, Poe conveying, guilt sadness and death of beauty, Shakespeare conveying immortality and exalt of love and beauty Secondly, 'The Raven' is less effective in its use of figurative language in comparison to 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?'

    • Word count: 1200
  4. English coursework

    In the last line of the first verse we find "fingers go dead in the cold." This seems normal on the surface but we soon find out that it becomes reality later on in the poem. At the begging of "A difficult birth, Easter 1998" it has a common farming activity just like "At a potato digging", but in the poem it is a ewe giving birth. This is a contrast to the other poem because it has a positive start whereas the other is negative.

    • Word count: 1549
  5. Compare and contrast the content and style of "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Unequal Fetters".

    This shows that he is trying to coerce her; he would play at the waiting games. He is also exaggerating the timescale in a way that he starts with 'Love you ten years before the flood' which shows his true love for her and would wait an eternity as he goes on to say 'An hundred years should go to praise thine eyes'. The poet then changes his mind in the second Stanza and writes in a darker mood. He refuses to play the waiting game as it's not a possibility and he is very aware that the time is passing and the relationship is not going where he wants it to.

    • Word count: 1996
  6. In this essay I will compare the presentation of family in diggingwith at least one other poem in identity. I have chosen to select Follower.

    The poet looks out and sees his father digging as he has done for twenty years. Heaney describes his father with great admiration for his strength and skill as a farmer. The poet reflects ruefully on the skill that his father and grandfather possessed with a spade. He is slightly in awe of them as he celebrates their skills and he regrets his own inability to wield a spade. The careful, deliberate, way his father cuts into the earth with his spade makes digging for peat sound like a skilled craft: 'The course boot nestled on the lug, the shaft.'

    • Word count: 1010
  7. ComparativeCommentry of Two Passages

    from (line 6-8) meaning that though there was a heavy snowfall that people started calling it ''Blizzard of 96'' it is still likely that the medias were making it a bigger issue, they kept on criticizing it again and again. But for the second passage it is different, from (line 10-15) which says ''The city had a new shape,...become snowy mountain...simple hills had appeared.'' The writer is talking about the beautiful things about the snowfall, he has expressed people's good views for snowfall, people enjoying and praising environment caused by the snowfall.

    • Word count: 1757
  8. "The Poplar Field" by William Cowper "Binsey Poplars felled 1879" by Gerard Manley Hopkins - Write an essay comparing and contrasting the two poems.

    In the first and the third line, Hopkins uses "quelled" and "felled". These as you can see rhyme therefore I used the letter A to represent this. As well as using the letter A, I used B to represent "sun" and "one", C to represent "rank", "sank" and "bank" and D to represent "sandalled". Now that we can see the rhyming schemes that Hopkins has used, you can appreciate the how carefully written it is. In the second stanza of Hopkins' Binsey Poplars there is also an extremely complex rhyme scheme. He uses this method: AABCCDDBCEBEEBBB.

    • Word count: 1253
  9. Compare 'Mr Bleaney' (by Philip Larkin) & 'In Memory of My Grandfather' (by Edward Storey).

    On the other hand the Grandfather is compared to a tree and the whole poem has the description of his appearance through the grandson's observation. Now I shall move on to the characters. Mr Bleaney has a sad life because he lives in a place called 'The Bodies.' The word body is used when someone is departed. So this means who ever lives in this house is nobody. They are metaphorically deceased. The poet describes Mr Bleaney using environments and surroundings.

    • Word count: 1090
  10. Comparison between 'Tall Nettles' and 'Thistles'

    Also using the idea that the only thing left that tops the Nettles in height, is nature itself, in the form of the elm b**t, re-enforces the idea of the Nettles completely over-running man. However Ted Hughes in 'Thistles' approaches the same subject in a different manner. He, unlike Thomas, creates a very violent feeling in the poem, forcing the reader to associate the feeling with war, battle and intense hate. Hughes does this by introducing such images as weapons, Vikings (these being a very strong image of war and violence)

    • Word count: 1437
  11. Poetry Analysis of 'Night of the Scorpion' by Nissim Ezekiel, and 'Sacrifice' by TaufiqRafat.

    Scorpion stings maybe expected where they live, because they all seemed to know what to do. They live in a very close-knit community, which believe in God and the devil, so they are religious. Their religion is different from Christianity. Placing emphasis on medicine, they prefer religion. This is due to the fact that there were no doctors available. Many different beliefs are associated with the scorpion such as the devil, darkness, evil. "Sacrifice" was a poem emphasising the cultural belief of bringing good luck to a building. This was done by a sacrifice, of a goat with what seems to be a white-bearded elder, ceremonially breaking the virgin ground.

    • Word count: 1424
  12. Cross Genre Comparison - 'Blackberries' by Leslie Norris and 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney.

    But, by reading and studying the texts we can see there are many themes in common. Both texts focus very strongly on the themes of growing up and facing disappointment. Norris describes the boy's disappointment when his parents are arguing and Heaney uses it when he discovers the rotten berries. So in this way and many others the texts content and themes are similar even though the texts were written at different places and by two very different authors. In the poem 'Blackberries' Heaney portrays his memories of his childhood. The poem is set out in two stanzas with no apparent rhymes scheme.

    • Word count: 2115
  13. Compare the way Andrew Marvell and William King present relationships between men and women in

    I both poems we see that neither of the men have much respect for the women. In The Beggar Women we see that the 'gentlemen' views the women very low which is perhaps given the historical context of the poem. In the poem he refers to her as "game", comparing her to the animals he was hunting, almost saying that she isn't considered important enough to be human. It then says, "her cheeks were fresh, and linen clean" which may suggest that the situation is not what it seems. In To His Coy Mistress we also see the narrator has little respect for the lady; however in this poem it seems quite unnecessary because she is a respectable lady.

    • Word count: 902
  14. How do the poets deal differently with the topic of crime and criminals? Write about 'Stealing', 'Hitcher' and two pre-1914 poems of your choice.

    The driver is almost like a schizophrenic because he has two sides to him, theres the man goes out of his way to pick a hitcher up and then theres the man who just beats people up for the sake of it. This is obviously a crime and the driver is now a criminal. Simon Armitage deals with this strangely because he just changes the subject, he says 'the outlook for the day was moderate to fair', as if nothing had happened.

    • Word count: 731
  15. Compare two poems written by Maya Angelou -'Still I Rise' and 'Life Doesn't Frighten Me'.

    Life Doesn`t Frighten Me has eight stanzas, with an erratic rhyme scheme that only becomes apparent in the latter stanzas. This poem seems to conjure up images with its words, which really helps us to read and understand the poem. It is written quite simply, but effectively, with short words to help it roll of the tounge. I think that the message of the poem is pretty clear, that the writer is not afraid of anything, unless she is asleep. It is almost as if she knows that to show an emotional reaction is an almost certainty to accept defeat.

    • Word count: 835
  16. Compare the two "Wuthering Heights" poems by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

    This negativity seems to reflect both the wildness of the landscape and also her feelings. Huges uses his poem to tell a story that puts the reader in the position of the character in the poem. This leads to the reader feeling like a part of the poem, therefore creating a personal interest in the surroundings, which are described to them. The poem seems to be about more than just the landscape. It is about beginning to understand the book by Emily Bronte and in doing so understand the moor itself. Plath on the other hand uses her poem as a metaphor for her feelings.

    • Word count: 1016
  17. Comparison of the description Rosa del Valle in Allende's 'The House Of Spirits' and Anna Karenin in Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenin'.

    I the first novel, 'the House of spirits' by Isabel Allende, Rosa del Valle's description is the focus of the very first chapter. The narrator gives this particular description whilst the mother, N�vea, looks over her oldest daughter during a church ceremony. The words used by the narrator to describe Rosa are simple and familiar. Through this description we are taken back to her birth in order to explain the character's unique beauty. The narrator in fact knows everything that the mother herself knows about her daughter in much detail, because of the nature of the narration we are quickly brought into the story.

    • Word count: 1129
  18. Compare how the theme of love is presented... 'To His Coy Mistress'.

    Duffy has also repeated lines which contain practically the same meaning. "Not a red rose or a satin heart" This line is repeated by a line with similar meaning. "Not a cute card or a kissogram" Again this line is saying that cute cards and kissograms are commercial symbols of love and they're not love. Both of these lines contain symbols that society regards as representatives for love, and in both these lines Duffy is saying it's not true. She has also done this with some other lines; the main purpose behind the poet doing this is to emphasis the points furthur.

    • Word count: 1902
  19. The poem's 'I am not that women' by Kishwar Naheed and 'women work' by mayo Angelou show the struggles of two black women from different cultures. Compare and contrast the two women's experiences.

    'I am not that women' is a poem by Kishwar Naheed, it displays the issues of discrimination against women and how men treated them. The title of this poem is a strong positive sentence ' I am not that women' she (whether it be the poet or a made up women) is not the usual women who is treated harshly by men, she is the women who is going to stand up for the right of equal-ness! This gives the poem a bit of authority at the start.

    • Word count: 2563
  20. Compare and contrast - The poem Woman Work is written by Maya Angelou and depicts the daily routine of a black woman in the southern states of America whereas the poem overheard In County Sligo is a poem set in Ireland written by Gillian Clarke.

    As in woman work the female character in this poem asks us to hear her plea and listen to all her lost dreams and similar to woman work she feels like a slave in her own home. Woman work has five stanzas as does over heard in county Sligo. The first in woman work describes her daily routine and the four after reflect on her dreams and aspirations for life. In comparison to this stanzas in overheard explore the woman's situation, dreams and ambiguity, the lady In woman work does not portray ambiguity whereas the lady in county Sligo is said to "live in the lap of the land, in the back of beyond".

    • Word count: 1547
  21. "English poets are being forced to explore not just the matter of England, but what is the matter with England" (Seamus Heaney) - Discuss.

    of national decline, as depicted in 'Sunny Prestatyn' - a poem in which an image of beauty, albeit artificial and material, is violently destroyed because it is "too good for this life". Yet paradoxically there is an awareness that this is the only country we possess, and is therefore precious. The Whitsun Weddings faithfully presents England as it exists, so that the reader, who is imaginatively engaged with Larkin's poetry, is able to see with clarity England's flaws and occasional virtues.

    • Word count: 3208
  22. Compare and contrast the poems 'Blackberrying' by Sylvia Plath and 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney.

    This sort of sentence is a picture that we often relate to children. Throughout the poem we see that Heaney tends to write in a more simply manner, he captures the moment as it is and explains things simply, how a child would, 'Round hayfields, cornfields and potato drills.' A child wouldn't go into much detail on what things could resemble or mean whereas Plath likes to do this. Heaney looks at what he sees, or what he remembers and writes in down, Plath looks at objects and tries to see what they resemble.

    • Word count: 1502
  23. Compare the two poets Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage.

    I believe that the overall message of the poem is to ask the girl that he burnt at 13 to marry him; he tries to excuse what he did and then goes on to say; 'Don't believe me please, if I say, that was just my butterfingered way, at 13 of asking you to marry me.' I believe that this is the overall message of the poem as it is written as a sonnet, which is usually associated with love. The layout of the poem is not the traditional layout of a sonnet, which to me represents an irregular love.

    • Word count: 1817
  24. The Raven and Ligeia a comparison.

    When the titular Raven makes it's appearance the narrator is worked into such a fever of imagination guilt and fear that he perceives the bird as some emissary from beyond. So it is that it's constant repetition of "nevermore" are taken as both confirmation that the spirit of Lenore lives on and denial of him to ever speak to her again. The narrator leaves us still locked with the bird projecting upon it his own feelings of self-loathing and hate.

    • Word count: 1408
  25. The Windhover, by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a poem about the essence of natural things.

    Hopkins puts words together like "dapple dawn-drawn" to portray multi-images as here where the bird is drawn in the sky. Also, the alliteration here produces the effect of the bird's movement in the air and the intensity of the poem's feeling. The author writes that the bird is "striding high there" and this produces the image that the bird is taking huge steps in the air. The bird also "rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing" showing his power and control with "ecstasy".

    • Word count: 689

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