by William Ernest Henley
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Destinies of Two Men Who Share One Name
- Melissa Block and Michele Norris
In this informational text, the topics of destiny and fate are explored when two men with similar backgrounds and the same name find themselves to be in two very different places in life.Pair “Invictus” with “The Destinies of Two Men Who Share One Name” and ask students to compare the similar themes of both texts. How does William Ernest Henley’s opinion on how one overcomes adversity and forms their identity, compare to Wes Moore’s experiences?
- BirdBrain History
In the short story “Feudal Japan”, a rice farmer explains to his son the class system of Feudal Japan and why he cannot be a samurai.Pair “Invictus” with “Feudal Japan” and ask students to discuss how one takes charge of their identity. How does the quote “I am the master of my fate, / I am the captain of my soul” from “Invictus” apply to the rice farmer’s son’s dream of becoming a samurai (Lines 15-16)?
Healing ‘Brick City’: A Newark Doctor Returns Home
- NPR Staff
A physician who overcame a difficult upbringing meditates on the nature of his career and the relationship between medicine and public service.Pair “Healing ‘Brick City’: A Newark Doctor Returns Home” with “Invictus” and ask students to think about how the poem represents the ideas discussed by Dr. Davis in the article. How does the form of the poem contribute to its meaning? How does the poem’s presentation of the themes of resilience and self-determination mirror the trajectory of Dr. Davis’s life, particularly in view of the way in which some of his childhood acquaintances succumbed to the circumstances that defined their upbringing? What enables people to succeed in spite of challenging conditions?
- John Masefield
In John Masefield’s poem “Sea Fever,” the speaker discusses his desire to return to the sea.Pair “Invictus” with “Sea Fever” and ask students to discuss how the two poems explore fate. Who controls the speakers’ fate in the two texts? How does the reference to captaining a ship in “Invictus” compare to the reference to steering a ship in “Sea Fever?” How do they provide different perspectives on fate?
- Nikki Grimes
In Nikki Grimes’ poem “Truth,” a speaker compares the possibilities of a new day to a storm.Pair “Invictus” with “Truth” and ask students to discuss how the two speakers approach life. Do they consider themselves in control of their futures? How do the tones of these two poems compare?
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
- Robert Herrick
In Robert Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” the poet urges his audience to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”Pair “Invictus” with “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” and ask students to discuss how the two poets’ views on fate compare. What degree of control do the poets suggest readers have over their fate? How does one take control of their fate?
The Keys of Destiny
- Neil Philip
“The Keys of Destiny” is the 1001 story from the classic collection One Thousand and One Nights. In this story, a woman tells a king a story about how a man came to be imprisoned due to the greed of others.Pair “Invictus” with “The Keys of Destiny” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the notion of fate. How are fate and free will presented in the two texts? How do students think William Ernest Henley would respond to King Shahryar’s final sentiments?
To a Mouse
- Robert Burns
In Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse,” a speaker encounters a mouse as he is plowing a field.Pair “Invictus” with “To a Mouse” and ask students to discuss the speakers’ approaches to life in the two poems. What are the speakers’ attitudes toward the difficult things that happen in their lives? How do they approach the future?
- Louise Erdrich
In Louise Erdrich’s short story “The Leap,” a narrator describes the life and important experiences of their mother, a retired trapeze performer.Pair “Invictus” with “The Leap” and ask students to discuss how the narrator portrays their mother making decisions and living her life in “The Leap.” How does the speaker in “Invictus” describe encountering obstacles? How does this compare to how the narrator’s mother faces her problems? Do students think that the narrator’s mother would agree with the sentiment “I am the master of my fate, / I am the captain of my soul”?