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Thematic Comparisom Essay

In Stephen Spenders poem “What I Expected” and “The Moustache”, a short story by Robert Cormier there is the common theme that life is unpredictable and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen. However the way these two authors convey this theme is very different; Spender uses diction and imagery, while Cormier uses details and symbolism. In “What I Expected”, Spender uses diction and imagery to express the theme of life’s unpredictability. Spender describes very precisely what he does and doesn’t know.

His word choice helps exemplify the theme by using accurate wording to describe the situation. It is very clear that he didn’t know everything that was going to happen in the situation presented. He also uses imagery to paint a clear picture of what’s happening. We know that he expected there to be painful struggles but that he thought he was going to grow from them. But we also know that he was weakened by the experience and that time took its toll. He gives us an image in our heads of what his experience was like and how unpredictable it really was.

Stephen Spender’s poem “What I Expected” uses clear imagery and diction to present the theme, however the author of “The Moustache”, Robert Cormier uses different techniques. Robert Cormier uses details and symbolism to present the theme in his short story “The Moustache”. Throughout the story Cormier provides us with intricate details about Mike’s life and the life of his grandmother. He develops the character of Mike by telling us what he thinks, how he reacts and his attitude about life, that you can build one on postponement.

At the end of the story we can infer that Mike no longer will postpone anything because of what happened with his grandmother and her late husband. He also uses symbolism to explain the theme. At the beginning of the story Mike says that you “can build a way of life on postponement” after he lies to his mom about planning to shave off his moustache. When he goes to visit his grandmother she thinks that he is her late husband because of the moustache. She asks for his forgiveness and says that she never had the chance to ask for forgiveness.

When Mike realizes that you never know what’s going to happen and you shouldn’t postpone life he goes and shaves his moustache. We can infer that the moustache is a symbol of procrastination and postponement. Symbolism and details are used to express the theme in “The Moustache”. In these two literary works the two authors, Stephen Spender and Robert Cormier, convey the same theme of unpredictability in life. Spender uses diction and imagery to show the theme in his poem “What I Expected”. However Cormier uses details and symbolism to exemplify this theme in “The Moustache”.

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