A Comparison between Kay Ryan's "Turtle" and G. K. Chesterton's "The Donkey"

Essay by angel8314University, Bachelor'sA-, February 2004

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In the two poems The Donkey and Turtle, both writers provide a viewpoint of creatures that seemingly appear to be animals, completely useless in design but endearing in their own ways. These poems are similar in their construction by how they both completely ridicule and shame these animals. In the end, they state the creature's have one redeeming quality. This one quality seems to make up for all the pathetic traits and unfortunate mishaps these animals possess.

The Poem The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton starts out portraying extraordinary creatures and things. Fishes that can fly, bushes of thorn that produce delicious figs, all of these are special, and comparing the Donkey to them, the Donkey seems quite absurd. The speaker, the donkey, is saying that in the midst of all the wondrous creatures and things, in a freak moment, when the universe was out of whack and moon was blood red, a deformed and useless animal was born.

The blood red moon could also allude to the jealousy the Donkey may have felt being around all the amazing creations of God. These first four lines give a visual for the reader. They create a setting where all these beautiful and wondrous things are tainted by a cruel joke of nature.

In the second stanza an image of the donkey is constructed from the metaphors. "Monstrous Head" is used to describe the donkey's huge seemingly out of place head, possibly one that seems to have been sown on by a mad scientist. "Sickening cry" describes the disgusting, hoarse cry a donkey makes. The phrase "ears like errant wings" gives us the idea that his ears are huge and overgrown. As if, the donkey could almost take flight with them. Errant is defined as sinful, or wayward, which ties this...