Death can be
described as the lack of existence; state of being dead. Most of the
time death is usually considered to be a problem for many of old age.
It is also a part of life that is hard for people grasp because they
lose loved one’s. However, death also takes part in a time of war
when two parties of an opposing team are at odds with one another.
Innocent living creatures become victims of something that they have
no control over. Most of the time war results in a massacre of one
group or another until one team is defeated. Either way death is
something that cannot be fixed or controlled. In The Battle of the
Ants , written by Henry Thoreau and in The Geese , written by E.B.
White, death is a problem in both stories. In The Geese and The
Battle of the Ants , both stories are keen observers in nature, while
one tends to focus on old age death, and the other tends to focus on
death of a war.
In The Geese and
The Battle of the Ants , there are several similarities. One
similarity that can be seen in both of these essays is that animals
represent human behavior. In The Geese , the old goose represents the
old age of the narrator in the story. Since the narrator is old, he
does not feel sympathy or compassion for the younger goose because
his life is just starting. The young goose and narrator take on two
different lives in which there is no activities or ideas in life that
are the same. Also, in The Battle of the Ants , the ants represent .
a war between two races . (1746). These fighting ants are being
compared to humans because the main purpose is to kill. The more you
think of it, the less difference. (1747). Even after both ants were
withdrawn from the war on the wood chips, they both continued to
fight until one was killed. Not only did this war take on human
characteristics; it resembles a part in American history. The essay
was written in 1854, several years before the Civil War began. It
became a piece of literature that described the future between the
North and the South and Black and White. This essay can almost be
described exactly as how the Civil War took place.
similarity that takes place is that both of the people in the essays
are observers to the fights that are taking place. They see that
there is a problem between the ants and two geese, but neither one
does anything to stop them. They both watch with deep insight as to
what is going on and let the quarrel continue till there is defeat.
In The Geese , For a moment, I thought of climbing the fence and
trying to separate the combatants, but instead I just watched.
(1799). They both feel that there is no need step to step in and try
to break up one another, if they did step in they would effect the
outcome and therefore, nothing would be solved between the animals.
However, in both
of these stories there are also some differences that take place. One
example of this can be seen in the story of The Geese when the
narrator talks about his personal relationship with the older goose.
As things go in the animal kingdom, he is about my age, and when he
lowered himself to creep under the bar, I could feel in my own bones
his pain at bending down so far. (1799). When he sees the
young one and
old one get into a fight he feels that there is a connection between
him and the old goose because they have both lived a long life and
are preparing for a state of life that will come to an end. The
narrator s old age can be proven by the date that this essay was
written in. E.B. White was born in 1899 and wrote The Geese in 1971
leaving him seventy- two years old. On the other hand, in The Battle
of the Ants , there is no personal connection that can be seen
between the ants and the narrator. He sees what he sees and does not
judge the ants that are at war to his own personal life. He seemed to
be more surprised to find such ants at a battle of race partially due
to the face that there is not such a thing as racial indifferences
between insects. His attention is always focused on the ants, but the
essay never related the ants to be of any significant symbol.
of a difference between essays is that both the essays seem to start
out the same, but one changes in structure. They both start out
describing the scene and the main characters, but as the reader
continues, they notice a difference in The Battle of the Ants .
Footnotes are being used to cause an illusion for the readers.
Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered
with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a bellum, a war
between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black,
and frequently two red ones to one black. (1746). The essay used such
terms to describe the way ants fought and how they are related in
acting to the Myrmidons. The Geese was different in the fact that
symbols were used to cause the audience to be aware that the story
was just not about geese s, really about the quarrel of the two
geese, and the relationship of old age.
E.B White, one
of America s finest writers, is known for the essay of The Geese . He
describes himself as an essayist, a self liberated man sustained by
the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that
happens to him, is of
. (1786). Being able to roam freely about ideas such as time and war,
in a piece that is not clearly explicit, makes readers to go beyond
the ordinary meaning of the story. White is able to go beyond the
style of most essayists. White is a writer whose insights derive
directly from his literal observations, from what he sees. (1786)
Beyond this concern for hearing what language can do, White notes
that a writer s style reveals something of his spirit, his habits,
his capacities, his bias (1787). This can be seen by little details
that are in the The Geese such as the time, place and circumstances
that give way too much larger concerns.
James Hart, E.B. White was a humorist and witty critical commentator
on contemporary culture. After working for The New Yorker, he started
to write several books that were drawn from his writings as a
columnist. From 1938 to 1943 he wrote poems, books, essays. Finally,
in 1971, fourteen years before he died, the essay The Geese was
to James Hart, Henry David Thoreau was a man of his own dignity. Just
as his heritage was mixed, so his philosophy of life combined diverse
strains, and he called himself a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a
natural philosopher to boot. (Hart, 662). At the age of thirty,
Thoreau wrote his first book called Walden , in which he lived, in a
hut nearby Walden Pond. Having to do with observation in nature, I
feel that these two places are closely related to one another. His
observations of nature were distinguished not merely by his
scientific knowledge, which was occasionally erroneous, but by his
all-inclusive love of life, expressed now in an earthy manner with a
Yankee twang . Though he enjoyed the scientific view of scientific
view of nature, he was a Transcendentalist, defining his attitude
when he said he wanted more the wideness of heaven than the limit of
the microscope. (Hart, 663). This shows him as an observer who wanted
his answers concerning nature not only in facts but also in terms of
Both essays are
related to human behavior causing each narrator to focus on a
different aspect of life. In The Geese and The Battle of the Ants ,
the different aspects of like that are shown upon are death and war.
Hart, James. ed.
The Oxford Companion to American Literature . 5th ed. New
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