1 Faushicage

Essays On Comparing Poems

Which of the two essay structures works better when responding to the example essay question?

Structure A

IntroductionHow both talk about family relationships between parents and children
Paragraph 1How Walking Away deals with family relationships - themes and form, structure and language
Paragraph 2 How Eden Rock deals with family relationships - themes and form, structure and language
Paragraph 3 Ways in which they are similar
Paragraph 4 Ways in which they are different
Conclusion Sum up comparison

Structure B

IntroductionHow both talk about family relationships between parents and children
Paragraph 1How the themes and ideas of Walking Away and Eden Rock are similar and different
Paragraph 2 How the form and structure of Walking Away and Eden Rock compare and how this links to their effect
Paragraph 3 How the language of Walking Away and Eden Rock compare and how this links to their effect
Conclusion Sum up comparison

Feedback

Either of the examples above could produce a good essay as they both explore each poem and compare their similarities and differences. However in structure B, the comparison takes place throughout the whole essay and avoids looking at the poems separately. This is a better model to use and one which can be applied to comparisons of other poems.

Explore the study guide for 'Walking Away' .

      The settings of the two poems, like the characters, are totally different.  In “The Indian to His Love,” Yeats makes no attempt to inject realism into his setting:

The island dreams under the dawn

And great boughs drop tranquility:

The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,

A parrot sways upon a tree,

Raging at his own image in the enameled sea.

Clearly, this is a nameless imaginary island surrounded by imaginary seas.    Yeats' descriptions are in flowery metaphoric terms, and all combine to lend a dreamlike quality to the poem. 

In “The Hosting of the Sidhe,” on the other hand, there are none of the qualities of setting present in “The Indian to His Love.”  Yeats tells the reader exactly where in Ireland the action takes place: “The host is riding from Knockarea/ And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare.”  Yeats brings his poetry into the countryside of his people; and, even though his subjects are not real, except perhaps within the mind, they seem more rooted in reality than his hapless Indians.

      Additionally, the depiction of action is different in the two poems.  In “The Indian to his Love, “ Yeats makes no attempt to suggest action beyond the most static activity: “And wander ever with woven hands,/ Murmuring softly lip to lip.”  Nothing moves; nothing betrays real life.  There are no winds, no storms, and no passions on Yeats’ island, only “tranquility.”  Yeats chooses every word carefully to reinforce this picture in the minds of the readers.  He gives no glimpse of the changes he will make in later poems, including “The Hosting of the Sidhe.”

       In “The Hosting of the Sidhe,” quite in contrast to “The Indian to His Love,” the entire poem suggests action: "The host is riding  from Knocknarea" and "Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam/ Our arms are weaving, our lips are apart."  Here is a clear picture of Niamh on his fiery steed, rushing with purpose.  Even nature is there in force: “The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round.” There is nothing within the poem that even remotely suggests peace and tranquility.

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