To a Mouse

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In the poems Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” and “The Mouse’s Petition” by Anna Letitia Barbauld, many feelings and emotions about mice are brought forth. While both poems were written by different authors, many of the feelings they share towards mice are common. The analysis of the two poems will help to find the comparisons and differences in theme, political and social issues, diction, and tone. Examples from the poems will help to show the similarities and differences in the two. The tone of each poet in the poems, many similarities become evident. Both poets portray a sad and guilty tone when talking about mice. When Barbauld begins to write about what she believes the mouse is feeling inside of the test cage, the reader gets an idea how the poet may also feel. “For here forlorn and sad I sit, within the wiry grate.” (Barbauld, 5-6) Barbauld uses a line in the poem to show how she thinks the mouse is feeling. Robert Burns expresses an equal amount of remorse for the mouse in his poem. He does so by using his sad regretful and remorseful tone, much like Barbauld. “I’m truly sorry man’s dominion has broken Nature’s social union.” (Burns, l.7-8) Burns makes it obvious how he feels by using his tones throughout the poem to relay a message of guilt and sadness. The two poems share identical endings; Burns as well as Barbauld make reference to the fact that mice are much like men. Barbauld indicates, “So when destruction lurks unseen, which men, like mice, may share.” (Barbauld, l.45-48) Oddly enough, speaking to a mouse in the same tone, Burns states, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley.” (Burns, l.39-40) While both poems are written by different poets, in different years, the two share the same tone to help portray their views of mice and how they are misunderstood.

The themes in both of the poems are very similar also both poems are about mice and their life changing experiences with them. The common theme in Anna Barbauld’s, “A Mouse’s...
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