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The Mother By Gwendolyn Brooks And The Man He Killed By Thomas Hardy

2070 words - 8 pages

To provide a successful comparison of any two things, one must be able to comprehend all aspects of the articles in question. Many forms of literature are easily comparable due to the very nature of an author transcribing a piece of history or thought directly to paper; however, poetry is not one of these afore mentioned forms of literature so easily compared. This is because poetry itself is as emotionally driven, as it is ambiguous. With there being no definitive set of rules, dictating what is or is not poetry, attention to detail is paramount in fully understanding the relationships between the poems. The utilization of three different poems, by different authors, and all contained in a similar category, allows for a more broad range of analysis; moreover, the stark differences, as well as the shared commonalities between them, become more evident with a comparison of more than two works of an author or authors. The works of poetry in this comparison are “The Mother,” by Gwendolyn Brooks; “The Man He Killed,” by Thomas Hardy; and “Ballad of Birmingham,” by Dudley Randall. At first glance, each of these poems seems to have very little in common with one another. On one hand, they are unique to each specific poem unto itself. On the other hand, these three pieces of poetry are alike in many ways. The analysis of each poem in regards to the theme presented, tone being communicated, imagery used, and the rhyme scheme employed, exposes the coexistence of similarities and differences between the three poems.
The themes between the poems are very similar, if not identical. The floating sense of guilt by the speaker is overwhelming in each of these poems. In “The Mother,” the speaker is the mother herself, who has authorized the removal of her unborn children. Near the end of the poem, Brooks fills the lines with self-loathing, and guilt such as, “Though why should I whine, / Whine that the crime was other than mine? –” (Brooks 943). In a similar fashion, the speaker in “The Man He Killed” uses the war or orders to rationalize why he killed another man. To show the speaker’s guilt, and the conflict within his mind, Hardy writes, “I shot him dead because – / Because he was my foe” (1064). This allows the audience to see him stutter, doubling the “because,” as the speaker attempts to rationalize his killing of the other man. The last poem of “Ballad of Birmingham” is very similar as well, even though the cause of guilt, to the speaker, is not the guilt of a person who has directly murdered another person. The speaker, and mother, in “Ballad of Birmingham” has refused to let her child go to the city to protest, but has instead sent him, unknowingly, to his death at church (Randall 1048-1049). The speaker in this case is so guilty and sad, that when she smiled moments before the explosion, it was “the last smile” she would ever wear (Randall 1049). In saying this, Randall has given the audience the ability to see in the mind of the mother. Her...

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