Study of A.E Houseman’s And Robert Hamblin’s Poem in Relation To the December 13, 1977 Plane Accident
Young Athlete’s Death AP Essay
Poems often enchant readers with diction and tone because the literary organization further conveys the poet’s purpose. A.E. Houseman’s “To An Athlete Dying Young” glorifies premature death of young athletes while Robert Hamblin’s “On the Death of the Evansville University Basketball Team in a Plane Crash, December 13, 1977” condemns the untimely demise. Through contrasting language, organization, and tone, Houseman and Hamblin’s Poem’s offer two conflicting viewpoints on young athlete’s death.
Houseman and Hamblin utilize two opposing forms of diction that further portray their purposes. On one hand, Houseman’s poem strictly follows traditional organizational rules. Each stanza possesses four sentences with a distinct rhyme scheme. On the other hand, Hamblin’s poem roams free without any boundaries. Lacking a presence of a rhyme scheme, his poem remains extremely unorganized. Each poet specifically adopted their respective diction because it broadcasts their opinions on premature death of young athletes. Championing death of adolescents during athletics, Houseman’s poem depicts conformity and acceptance through his organizational diction, thus associating childhood death with the mainstream status quo. Yet, Hamblin takes another stance, criticizing a young athlete’s sacrifice for athletics, through his unorganized poem because the chaos in his writing depicts his rebellious angst with this fatal issue.
Houseman’s triumphant tone and Hamblin’s appalled tone further establish their purpose because their tones depict their mood towards the issue and influenced the reader’s views on the matter. Throughout Houseman’s poem, he evokes a sense of approval and pride in the lives of these late athletes by depicting a sense of accomplishment. When Houseman describes “ the still defended challenge-cup,” he utilizes a victorious tone because he glorifies the achievement of successful athletics, thus valuing triumph over life. Hamblin, however, constructs a bitter scene that denounces the athletic atmosphere: “So scream all-knowing coaches, admonishing priest, scream. Swear, chew asses, make us work…” The poem illustrates the disgusting presence of athletic coaches to emphasize the side effects of an athletic life. In other words, he employs a dismayed tone by suggesting that all the suffering of athletics, including death, fails to provide adequate rewards. Each poem’s tone accomplishes the purpose of their respective authors because it provides a deeper sense of emotion that enhances their argument for or against premature death.
Through diction and tone, each author develops a stronger platform to bolster their stance on premature death of young athletes. Although the basic plot of the poem addresses their belief, it fails to capture the true essence of the author’s meaning. The diction and tone helps provide a deeper level that truly encapsulates the author’s purpose.
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