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Hey so I am doing an IOP, and I have decided to compare two poems in the book American War Poetry An Anthology. However, I am not sure on which two poems to compare, if someone can give me any suggestions on which two poems to compare, that would be awesome, and maybe some tips on comparing two works?


"The Song of Braddock's Men"

"Defence of Fort McHenry"

"Concord Hymn"

"O Captain! My Captain!"

"War is Kind"

"The Defense of the Alamo"

"I sing of Olaf"

"The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner"

"For the Union Dead"

"Fabrication of Ancestors"

"The Other Alamo"

"Dear John Wayne"

"The Colonel"

"The School Among the Ruins"

"Flag Memoir"


"When the Towers Fell"

"Burning **** at AN Khe"

"It Was an Open-Air Market"

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As I've yet to read any of these poems Ill just give you general tips on comparing poems.

First identify literary features as you would when analyzing a normal poem. Use colors to identify different ones. Then create a thesis. This thesis should include a common theme that both poems show. Or maybe a mood or a tone.

After youve done that pick two or three lit features that you feel would most strongly support your thesis. Each poem should get a body paragraph for each lit feature. (2 lit features- 4 body paragraph, 3 lit features -6 body)

I usually construct my essay as


Body 1(Lit feature1 poem 1)

Body 2(Lit feature 1 poem 2)

Body 3(Lit feature 2 poem 1)

Body 4(Lit feature 2 poem 2)


Add two more body paragraphs if you're doing another lit feature.

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My advice would be to pick poems that interest you and a common theme that interests you. If this requires you to de-construct all the poems quickly, do it. It is so much easier to find the motivation to complete your IOP if you are actually engaged with the text and your topic rather than doing something that you hate.

I haven't read any of those poems so I cant really comment on them but make sure the poems you do, you can talk about them for a decent amount of time and you should be alright.

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Hey, so first of all thanks ^.

I have decided to compare and contrast "War is Kind" and "Burning **** at An Khe".

This is somewhat a stretch, but these two poems both contain a theme of the reality of war. The first poem is basically comforting a mother, a lover and a son about the deaths of their loved ones, and as we can see already, this is just an irony. The 2nd poem is the author describing his experience during Vietnam War where his duty was to actually burn the **** up. I guess these two have something common? How they both expose the negative side of war. If you guys think this is too far a stretch to say its a similar theme, please give me some advices.

I also know that I have to explain why I chose these two poems to compare. Is it okay if I say the following as my rationale?

1. I have a strong belief in war isn't kind at all and etc... it evokes a personal feeling

2. I want to do interesting poems, don't want audiences to fall asleep like that, so i wanna pick some poems that may sound interesting to the audiences

3. they have similar theme and i want to compare and contrast the literary technique they used to convey the theme

Please give me feedbacks, and if possible what exactly do the examiners want to look at when the student is comparing two works? THANKS A LOT

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"Why you chose these poems" is usually more along the lines of no. 3 : I thought this was really interesting (maybe also because of your personal feelings), because these two poems have a similar theme but approach their subject matter in very different ways ...

No. 2 sounds a little dodgy as it is, though you could say something about how the theme of death and loss is a universal theme / that transcends genres/cultures

Examiners look for consideration of similarities and contrasts. Nb: don't just compare the literary techniques, compare their effect and the message the poets are trying to convey - maybe they chose a particular way of expressing something because they want to emphasize a particular aspect, whereas the other poet chooses another aspect; don't forget the effects of these techniques.

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