Comparison

You can discover a lot about a poem by comparing it to one by another author that deals with a similar subject. You could compare features such as theme, form, structure, rhythm, language and figures of speech.

The key thing to do when comparing poems is to note the points where they are similar and the points where they differ. You could make a list noting similarities and differences between the two poems.

Comparison of 'Climbing My Grandfather' by Andrew Waterhouse and 'Letters from Yorkshire' by Maura Dooley

Similarities

  • Family relationships and memories are central to the poems. An old man is featured in both.
  • Neither poem rhymes.
  • Both poems are written in the first person.
  • Sentence breaks occur within lines and are carried over into the next line.
  • Conversational tone and everyday language is used.
  • For the reader, the effect of these features is to bring a sense of immediacy to both poems.
  • Casual, everyday language and a familiar relative for a central figure is used in both poems.
  • The poems are about common experiences that the reader may likely be familiar with and is able to respond to.

Differences

  • In Climbing my Grandfather the figures don’t communicate. They never speak or converse. In Letters from Yorkshire they do. Waterhouse’s silent grandfather figure is more mysterious and intriguing for the reader.
  • Climbing my Grandfather is written in the first person throughout. Letters from Yorkshire begins with third-person narrative, then switches to first person.
  • Maura Dooley mixes past and present tenses. Andrew Waterhouse uses present tense throughout. Waterhouse’s use of the present tense gives his poem a powerful immediacy for the reader.
  • Letters from Yorkshire includes a rhetorical question, whilst Climbing my Grandfather uses personification and paradox. Both these techniques engage and intrigue the reader. It is as if the poet is setting some kind of puzzle for the reader to solve.

Explore the study guide for 'Letters from Yorkshire'.