by Jonathan Swift
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 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 “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General” with “The War Works Hard” and ask students to compare how both authors use satire to send a message about political leaders and their actions.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
- Robert Frost
Robert Frost (1874-1963) was one of the most popular and critically respected American poets in history. His poems frequently employ rural scenes from the New England countryside. “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” published in 1923, uses nature to describe aging and the inevitable course of time.Pair “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General” with “Nothing Gold Can Stay” to get students to discuss the portrayal of mortality in poetry.
A Modest Proposal
- Jonathan Swift
In this famous work of satire, Jonathan Swift proposes a ridiculous and immoral strategy to deal with with overcrowding, overpopulation, and poverty in Ireland.Pair “A Satirical Elegy” with “A Modest Proposal” for an in-depth analysis of Jonathan Swift’s works of satire.
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
- Thomas Gray
Thomas Gray (1716-1771) was an English poet and scholar. An elegy is a mournful or melancholic poem meant to lament the dead. In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” the speaker contemplates whether remembering the dead is good or bad as he imagines the people buried in the churchyard.Pair “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” with “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of the Late Famous General” and ask students to compare how the two authors of the same period used different tones to comment on death, especially the deaths of the rich, powerful, and famous. How do the themes compare? Which tone is more effective at conveying the theme?
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
In this poem, Shelley uses the description of a ruined statue to explore the transient nature of power and life.Both “Ozymandias” and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General” use irony to comment on deceased leaders, but have very different tones. Ask students to discuss the contrasting tones and support their responses with specific details from both texts.