As mentioned, the theme of both texts is crane migrations. However, the content of the works greatly differs. The article talks about a new crane reserve, where cranes, which are an endangered species, are grown in what looks them like a completely natural environment, but actually, they are still protected by humans, according to the article, in crane costumes. The article says that “these cranes have been raised in captivity, but never heard a human voice nor seen a human form, except in crane costume” (Lines 9,10). The poem is much more personal and talks about a particular crane’s flight, struggle to escape the hunter and its demise.
As we see, both texts are about cranes, but their audience and purpose is different. To a Waterfowl is a poem and it is meant to express the author’s feelings to the reader through the flight of a crane. The poem is meant for a more mature audience, because it is complex, written in old English, which children can’t easily understand, and has a serious theme. On the other hand, the article doesn’t choose its audience judging by their name and age,
it is simply people who are interested in crane migrations, especially in the USA. Its purpose is to inform the reader about the new crane migration project in central Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is known to be a calm region, and so is the tone of this article. The narration and description are similar to a nature documentary film, we see that in line 7, where the author says “ big sky, undulations of tall marsh grasses, wild whopping cranes”. After the higly descriptive introduction, the narrator goes on to talk about their project. From that point, the article’s scientific mood comes into play. The poem starts off with an easy-going flow, which dramatizes as the hunter appears and gets more and more dramatic until the crane’s death, ultimately leading to a fade-out effect in the outro.
The stylistic devices in both texts rely heavily on description, especially in the poem, where we see a lot of sensory details, such as weedy lake, rocking billows, crimson sky… This lets us completely imagine the landscape the flight is taking place in. To get the reader more into the poem, the author adreses the reader as he is the crane, like in line 2, where he says “Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue thy solitary way?”. This type of narration gives us the crane’s point of view, but much more importantly, a personal emotional connection with the crane. The stylistic devices in the article are not that broadly used, except for the beginning. This is quite common in scientific articles.
In conclusion, we see how two completely different texts by structure use completely different methods of narration, description, but share a common goal to portray their common theme of crane migrations, be it in a scientific way or an emotional descriptive poem.
Paper 1 HL Sample 1.2 (birds)
People have always been fascinated by birds. Text 1, an article from National Geographic from 2004, and Text 2, a poem by William Cullen Bryant from 1815, show how people and birds learn from each other. While these texts explore
experiences that people have with birds, they target different audiences and use different techniques. These differences are largely accounted for by the different contexts in which they were written.Text 1 is very characteristic of a journalistic article for National Geographic, which targets nature-minded readers. Text 2, on the other hand is characteristic of Romantic poetry from the 19th century, read by literary enthusiasts. We see the journalistic nature of the National Geographic article in its reporting of newsworthy content. There is something extraordinary about people wearing ‘crane costumes’ (line 11) who teach young cranes how to fly and migrate from an ‘ultralight plane’ (line 16). What’s more, the journalist explains that this practice is happening in Siberia as well. Whereas birds learn from people in remarkable ways in Text 1, the poet, William Cullen Bryant learns a life ‘lesson’ (line 26) from one bird in Text 2. The poet has written an ode to this waterfowl, who has taught him about the importance of solitude and steadfastness. We know that it is an ode through the use of poetic language, the title ‘To a Waterfowl’, the use of rhyming quatrains and apostrophe, (when a poet asks an object a question). These qualities require readers to hear the spoken word, and therefore the audience is most likely interested in its literary qualities. Both texts are very different in their purpose, as they come from different centuries and target different audiences.Although the purposes and contexts of these texts are different, they comment on a similar theme: the importance of nature. Text 1 is built on the assumption that nature and the whooping crane must be preserved. Lines 24-27 describe a plan to “restore the birds’ knowledge of the ancient flyway.” The extreme measures that are taken to help these birds migrate, including the costumes, the reserves and the gliders, are never questioned in this article. The message of Text 2 is also built on the premise that nature is important. The poet asks the crane why it pursues its solitary ways (line 4). Eventually he claims that the bird’s purpose is to guide him on his lonely path in life, as stated in the final stanza: “He who, from zone to zone, / Guides through the boundless sky they certain flight, / In the long way that I must tread alone, / Will lead my steps aright.” Its message is very characteristic of Romantic poetry: We can learn how to live through observing nature. As in Text 1, the premise that we must preserve nature and look to it for inspiration is never questioned but affirmed. As
the texts have a common theme, there are also similarities in their use of tone and mood. As Text 1 aims to engage readers with the fate of the whooping cranes in North America, it uses diction that is descriptive. The narrator seems to be hiding in the reeds or ‘emerald green grasses’ (line 3). This colorful choice of words indicates that she is enthralled by the natural elements around her. Words like ‘snow-white plumage’ and ‘elegant black wingtips that spread like fingertips’ are rather poetic and sketch an image in the reader’s mind that is quite romantic, rural and rustic. The effect of this descriptive language on the reader is both intriguing and sympathetic. As the interviewee whispers to the reporter, the reader becomes drawn in and concerned about the fate of the whooping crane. Similarly, Bryant makes use of descriptive language that engages the reader. Phrases like the ‘crimson sky’, the ‘abyss of heaven’ and the ‘chafed ocean side’ all paint an image in the reader’s mind and make the text come to life.
Besides the choice of words and the use of imagery, both authors use structural devices to convince the reader of their cause. For example, Text 1 plays a clever trick on the reader. After a colorful attention grabber, in which the journalist describes the whooping crane in its habitat, the second paragraph explains that this ‘would be’ a primordial scene. She explains that the cranes are in fact in pens, which surprises the reader. Like the use of imagery, this structural device also has the effect of intriguing the reader. The reader wants to learn more about why the chicks have never heard a human voice (line10), why the humans wear crane costumes (line 11) and there is a runway for an ultralight plane (line 17). The facts follow, including the number of miles they fly, the number of birds that participate and the similar project in Siberia. This kind of structure is characteristic of a feature article.
The structure of the poem is very different, but equally effective in its aim of creating sympathy for nature and birds. As mentioned the poem is an ode, where the poet praises the qualities of an object and finds inspiration in it. Furthermore there is a rhyming scheme and rhythm that are aesthetically appealing to the reader. The rhyming scheme in each quatrain is ABAB. For example the final word of line 1, ‘dew’, rhymes with the final word of line
3, ‘pursue’. Line 2, ‘day’, rhymes with line 4 ‘way’. This creates a sense of harmony and perfection that relates to the poet’s understanding of the waterfowl. Each line contains loose iambic feet, meaning there are unstressed syllables followed by stressed syllables. There are three iambic feet in the first and last lines of each quatrain and five feet in the second and third lines of each quatrain, creating short-long-long-short pattern to each stanza. The effect of this pattern is that the reader feels a rocking sensation, which may relate to the steady flap of the bird’s wings or the poet’s pondering mood. This too ads to the aesthetic harmony and sense of perfection that the poet wants us to associate with nature.
To conclude, both Text 1 and Text 2 enlighten their readers on the behavior and beauty of waterfowl. While Text 1 shows us how people can help birds find their migration patterns, Text 2 shows us how birds can help people find inspiration. Their focus on these birds helps the reader understand and appreciate the importance of nature.
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