Comparing Theme Across Genres Essay

Theme is the key connection between two very different genres of literature. A theme can reveal many significant messages to people everywhere. Comparing the short story “The Mountain” and the poem “Incident”, I found that they share a common theme. Both themes convey a message of discrimination and misjudgment. Martin Hamer, author of “The Mountain” and Countee Cullen author of “Incident” both use literary devices such as repetition, conflict to convey the theme that sometimes in life, people determine a person by their appearance or what they look like on the outside.

Hamer uses repetition and conflict in his short story to communicate the theme. The story embarks on the repeating words “two small dark boys”. Hamer applies repetition here for emphasis or to stress a good point. His emphasis is referring to the appearance of the two main characters and is also preparing you for the conflict that is about to occur. As the boys are riding the bus, a woman next to them realizes that her purse is open and wallet is missing.

“Give me back my wallet,” she says immediately assuming that the two dark boys had stolen it.

The conflict is that the woman automatically assumed the boys had stolen it because of the way they looked. This conflict unquestionably expresses the theme because the woman completely judged the two boys by their appearance. Short stories express theme by creating a story that has a good moral in it to spread throughout the world of readers. Countee Cullen uses conflict as well as tone to convey the theme in his poem “Incident”. Cullen tells about an experience he had when he came across a Baltimorean who “poked out his tongue, and called him nigger”.

The conflict that is exposed here is racial discrimination. The man called him an extremely offensive name because of his appearance or in other words his skin color. Cullen says he “saw the whole of Baltimore from May until December”. By using tone, he exposes his attitude toward that experience and the entire city of Baltimore. Cullen’s attentive tone tells that after that experience he then noticed that the entire city of Baltimore was the same, prejudice. Poets do not just reveal their theme. They carefully place it in literary devices to force the reader to figure it out themselves.

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