Compare and Contrast Vultures by Chinua Achebe & What Were They Like by Denise Levertov.

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Compare and contrast Vultures by Chinua Achebe & What Were They Like by Denise Levertov.

In both of these poems the poets are concerned with war and both poets write like they have a negative attitude towards it. Both poets talk about the presence of evil in war and what the consequences of war are later on in life. They also discuss the feelings behind war, and why we should be sympathetic for the people who were killed for no reason during these wars. I also think that both poets portray an image of violent and cruel racism within these poems, especially World War 2, which led to millions of Jews ect being killed just because they were different and didn't fit in.


The poem vultures by Chinua Achebe is about world war 2. The poet is writing about how Jews, gypsies and the disabled were treated. The title vultures could suggest that the Germans are nasty creatures that behave like animals. In the first 13 lines the poet has written. In the greyness

and drizzle of one despondent
dawn unstirred by harbingers
of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken
bone of a dead tree
nestled close to his
mate his smooth
bashed-in head, a pebble
on a stem rooted in
a dump of gross
feathers, inclined affectionately
to hers.

For me the poem hasn't started on a good note because the poet has written the words '' In the greyness and drizzle of one despondent dawn''. This suggests that the context of the poem might be quite grim as the colour grey is grim and the word despondent means depressing, so that in itself means that the poem could be very sad and not at all happy. The poet is using pathetic fallacy, by using the weather to describe that the events in the poem might be quite grim and upsetting.

In the first 3 lines the poet has used alliteration by saying ' drizzle of one despondent dawn '. This draws the attention of the reader by making them say d-d-d. This could also mean stuttering and begging like the Jews would have done before they were killed in the gas chambers or whatever ever method the Germans used to kill . The words, '' a swollen corpse in a water logged trench and ate the things in it bowel '', portrays a image of what the reality of the war was really like. The poet has used adjectives such as cold, dead, cruel and evil to portray the horror of World War 2 and particularly the behaviour of the Nazis in the concentration camps.

In this poem the poet hasn't used a lot of punctuation but where the poet has used it, it has been really effective, because there isn't a fullstop until the 13th line. This could imply that the Jews weren't allowed to stop for a long time and also the number 13 is considered a unlucky number. This could mean that when they stopped some were killed. It could also mean that the Jews were killed instantly and quickly because the full stop is quite a quick and sudden thing. The poet has written the word '' strange '' on one line, and i think that this could refer to us as human beings and how we act could be very strange.

In the first 21 lines the poet describes 2 vultures, which is implying that the vultures are a metaphor for the German commander and his son. Vultures are often known as creatures that take advantage of weak things, just like the Germans did with the Jews. The vulture is a creature and not a human, but even thou the Germans are humans they all acted like animals towards those they executed during World War 2. The poet is using vultures to suggest that everybody has a little bit of evil inside them, but on the other hand, Vultures are loving creatures, they stay together for life, so they must show affection to one another to be able to stay with each other for a long amount of time. Therefore I think that this could be a worrying thought because it is quite worrying that we all have some good and evil inside us, so in turn we could all maybe end up like the commander.

The poet describes the way the Jews were treated in such a...
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