A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences in the Use of Literary Terms and Elements in Life as We Knew It and The Last Mission

Categories: Literature

Many people don’t think of literary terms when they are reading a book, and they only focus on the story being told. There is much more to a book and one can understand more by comparing literary terms. In Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Preffer and The Last Mission by Harry Mazer,the use of literary terms drastically makes them different. The book Life As We Knew It and The Last Mission evoke vastly different feelings to the reader because of the different characters, climax, and dramatic irony which the books both display differently.

Firstly, characters are always completely different in every story, and that is especially true for these two books. Characters could be either static, dramatic, or consistent, and they either change in some ways or they don’t change. In this case, both characters faces different conflicts and change in different ways. To start off, in The Last Mission, Jack faces a conflict with outside forces, which were the Nazis.

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“I hate Hitler… I curse him,” (11) exclaimed Jack as he expressed his anger towards the enemy. He has to use all of his strength and energy to overcome the conditions he was exposed to as a prisoner of war. He would overcome the horrific conditions and helped defeat the forces that he hated so much, the Nazis. However, in Life As We Knew It, Miranda faces an internal conflict with herself to overcome her struggles while surviving an unbelievable disaster when the moon gets struck by an asteroid.

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In this conflict, Miranda has to get herself together and gather her internal strength to survive. In addition, both characters change in different ways. Jack initially wanted to fight in the war against the Nazis, but after experiencing the horrors of war, he hopes that it will never happen again. His experience in the war changed him greatly, making him a dynamic character. In contrast, Miranda’s thoughts and feelings about the situation goes along with what is happening. At first, she feels that there is hope to survive, and thinks that the disaster will be over soon, just like everybody else but then after months of more disasters, she realises that there is no hope until the falling action, which is when she finds food to feed her family. The reader’s emotions changes while reading about the two vastly different characters, making the two books different.

Meanwhile, just as the characters are completely different, the climax are also completely different and stirs up different feelings. The climax is the turning point of a story where everything seems to change at once and each climax could change a story in a completely different way. First of all, in The Last Mission, the climax is clearly noticeable from the rest of the book because of the events that are happening. Getting shot down and becoming a prisoner of war is a sudden change of an uneventful fifty pages of flying twenty five bombing raids. To add on, in Life As We Knew It, the climax blends in with the rest of the book. One needs to think deeply in order to locate the climax, which is when the characters are stuck within the confines of their house, catching the flu, and running out of food. The setting stays the same and nothing changes drastically, compared to the climax in The Last Mission. To end with, the climax in The Last Mission is more action packed than Life As We Knew It. There is more excitement in that climax with an event after event happening constantly, making the reader feel more occupied.

There is obviously more excitement and action in the climax of The Last Mission but the climax in Life As We Knew It has more suspense in it. Due to the different components each of the climax feature, a reader will react differently to each climax.

Finally, both books showcase the use of dramatic irony in a totally different way, with both books having about the same amount of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is demonstrated when a reader knows more information than the character. To begin with, most stories have a happy ending so it is not rocket science to predict the ending of Life As We Knew It. By the end of the book, or by knowing the fact that this book is the start of an entire series, the reader should be able to identify that Miranda and her family will survive the horrific disaster. Even though the book doesn’t directly tell the reader that the characters will survive, the reader can easily make the inference and know more information than the character. Also, in The Last Mission, a reader can predict the ending through knowledge of history. Through basic history, one should understand that the Allies defeat the Nazis and win World War II. That shows that the reader knows that Jack’s goal of defeating the Nazis will be achieved, demonstrating that the reader will know how the war ends before the character does. Through knowledge of history, the reader should understand how the book plays out, something that can’t be done in Life As We Knew It, which is a book about the future. Both books showcase dramatic irony in different ways with one showing it through history and the other by making an inference.

In conclusion, characters, climax, and dramatic irony are literary terms that cause The Last Mission and Life As We Knew It to evoke vastly different feelings to the reader. In both books, the different interpretations of the literary terms dramatically makes a difference to the quality of the books. Overall, The Last Mission has a dynamic character, a noticeable and action packed climax, and historical references while Life As We Knew It has a character facing an internal conflict, a suspenseful climax, and an easy to predict ending. One can learn and compare so much from a book by simply analyzing literary terms.


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A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences in the Use of Literary Terms and Elements in Life as We Knew It and The Last Mission. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-comparison-of-the-similarities-and-differences-in-the-use-of-literary-terms-and-elements-in-life-as-we-knew-it-and-the-last-mission-essay

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