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Essay Comparison Essay, Research Paper

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 Even after both ants were withdrawn from the war on the wood chips, they both continued to fight until one was killed.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.

Another 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.

Another example 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

general interest . (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.

According to 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 written.

Also, according 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 faith.

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

York: Oxford UP, 1983, pg. 662, 663, 714.

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