by Mark Twain
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 White Man's Burden
- Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a British writer who is best known for The Jungle Book. In 1899, he wrote “The White Man’s Burden,” a poem about America’s imperative to colonize and rule the Philippine Islands. This poem sparked considerably controversy when it was written.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “The War Prayer” and ask students to discuss each author’s stance on war.
- 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 “The War Prayer” with “Easter 1916” and ask students to discuss costs of conflict. Is peace or freedom justified at the cost of lives?
The Second Coming
- William Butler Yeats
In this famous poem, William Butler Yeats paints a terrifying, apocalyptic scene in order to describe the atmosphere of Europe following World War I.Pair “The Second Coming” with “The War Prayer,” and ask students to compare the development of the “loss of innocence” theme in each text.
- 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 War Prayer" with "The Solider" and ask students to compare and contrast the author's message in each work. How does each author probably feel about war?
- Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (1886-1967) was an English writer, poet, and soldier. “Dreamers,” a poem about the dark side of war and its impact on soldiers, was likely inspired by Sassoon’s own experiences in World War I.Pair “Dreamers” with “The War Prayer” to show students two perspectives on war and conflict.
The War Works Hard
- Dunya Mikhail
Born and raised in Iraq, Dunya Mikhail (1965—) has written much about the wars she lived through in her home country, until she was forced to flee the country in 1996 after threats and harrassment from the government. This satirical poem praises the diligence of war and its effects, from "provid[ing] food for flies" to "invigorat[ing] the coffin makers."Pair “The War Prayer” with “The War Works Hard” and ask students to compare the literary approaches to and themes of both texts.
President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
- President Abraham Lincoln
In “President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address,” President Lincoln discusses the causes of the American Civil War and what will be required to repair the nation.Pair “The War Prayer” with “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address” and ask students to discuss any similar central ideas, themes, motifs, etc. How did the American Civil War affect American literature and how people regarded war? How do both texts portray the cost of war? How does the question of God’s will in war work within the text of the passages?
The Battle of Bull Run: The End of Illusions
- Ernest B. Furgurson
In “The Battle of Bull Run: The End of Illusions,” the First Battle of Bull Run is recounted, as well as its role in the disillusionment of the American people in the early stages of the American Civil War.Pair “The War Prayer” with “The Battle of Bull Run: The End of Illusions” and ask students to discuss any shared themes or ideas between the two texts. Mark Twain, author of “The War Prayer,” fought in the Civil War — based on your reading, how do you think this experience affected him?
The Spanish Civil War
- Mike Kubic
In "The Spanish Civil War: A Prelude to WWII," Mike Kubic discusses the rising tensions in Spain between the Republican loyalists and the Falangist nationalists in 1936 that eventually erupted into a civil war.Pair “The War Prayer” with “The Spanish Civil War: A Prelude to WWII” and ask students to discuss the impact of war on individuals and on nations. How does patriotism play a role in wartime? Are the costs of war justified by its outcome?
Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Lecture
- Jimmy Carter
In the speech “Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Lecture,” Carter accepts the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to international peace.Pair “The War Prayer” with “Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Lecture” and ask students to discuss how both texts portray war and the results of war. Why do the volunteers in “The War Prayer” want to go to war? How does this compare to Carter’s reasons for why countries engage in violence? How does the old man’s warning about war in “The War Prayer” compare to Carter’s sentiments?