by William Butler Yeats
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 War Prayer
- Mark Twain
In Mark Twain's "The War Prayer," a stranger visits a congregation praying for victory in war. In front of the entire congregation, this stranger outlines the cost on human life that this victory would entail. "The War Prayer" is Twain's scathing indictment on war and blind patriotism.Pair “The Second Coming” with “The War Prayer,” and ask students to compare the development of the “loss of innocence” theme in each text.
- William Butler Yeats
“Easter 1916” is a famous poem by William Butler Yeats that deals with themes of war and loss of innocence. Although Yeats was an Irish nationalist, in the poem he describes conflicting emotions about the Easter Rising, an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland.Pair "Easter 1916" with "The Second Coming" and ask students to compare how each author uses figurative language to show the cost of conflict. How are these poems similar? How are they different?
To An Athlete Dying Young
- A. E. Housman
Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was an English poet and classical scholar. Housman wrote the elegy “To an Athlete Dying Young” in 1896, following the death of his close friend, Adalbert Jackson. In this poem, the speaker addresses an elegy to a champion runner who died at the height of his physical prime.Pair “To an Athlete Dying Young” with “The Second Coming” for the purpose of getting students to explore tone of the kind of art and literature that emerged in these post-war years.
- Rupert Brooke
In "The Soldier" (1914) by Rupert Brooke, a young English soldier reveals his dying wish - to be remembered and honored. Rupert Brooke's poetry is a reflection of the mood in England leading up to WWI.Pair "The Soldier" (1914) with "The Second Coming" (1919), and ask students to draw conclusions about how popular opinion shifted after WWI.
Dulce et Decorum Est
- Wilfred Owen
The horrors of chemical warfare during World War I are described in this gripping poem.Pair “Dulce Et Decorum Est” with “The Second Coming” and ask students to compare and contrast the imagery used in the two poems. While both authors wrote the poems based on the effects on World War I, how do the poems differ in the how they approach the topic?
The Roaring Twenties
- Mike Kubic
Mike Kubic’s article “The Roaring Twenties” explores the ups and downs of this exciting era and the events that led to the Great Depression.Pair “The Second Coming” with “The Roaring Twenties” and ask students to compare the stark contrasts between the two depictions of post-WWI life. How does William Butler Yeats’s description of Europe after WWI differ from Mike Kubic’s portrayal of American life in the 1920s?