Risking it all for the things we long for... - A Compare/Contrast essay on Thomas Merton and Langston Hughes and their works regarding the Birmingham Bombings of 1963.

Essay by agent6t9University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

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Risking it all for the things we long for...

The idealistic approach to achieving what is presented as unachievable goals, to a person, will only further the desire in one's soul to quest for this said "holy grail." The settings that follow in these poems are examples of what people, driven to the edge of social degradation, will risk in order to be free of their oppressors.

Thomas Merton was dealt a difficult life from early on. Beginning with his mother's death at six, his father's death at sixteen, and becoming the father of an illegitimate child at sixteen, the road was slated to be a rough and hard career. Langston Hughes grew up with great travel in his life. With divorced parents, the constant juggling between the two-made Hughes contemplate suicide early on. His father was said to not be caring.

The author of a piece of literature is a painter of a piece of art.

The art will change depending on the author's background, motive, experiences, and point of view. Langston Hughes and Thomas Merton were surprisingly similar in backgrounds, yet different in location, race and education. Both had great parental problems earlier on in their lives; Hughes later would enter the army and then travel worldwide. Merton joined a hermit monastery and also traveled the world. In this way they were running from their problems and using the great expanses of the globe as a personal solitude from their earlier hardships. In "Birmingham Sunday", Hughes begins right away by using great amounts of shock value to give his poem as much impact as possible. Using realistic and gruesome scenes of the bombing, post event, is the prevalent topic repeatedly used by Hughes in the majority of his poem. The line that is showed consistently is "Their blood...