It is no secret that there are many short stories and novels written about certain periods of the humankind development. All the works have something in common (for example, they all describe an epoch or only several years – some period of time). However, they are different. This essay is aimed at showing the differences and similarities of two essays that I have read. The first short story was written by Gilbert Highet, and the second story was written by Bruce Catton.
The first similarity of both short stories is that they describe only one episode. Some may say that an episode may be insignificant. However, it is difficult to agree to that point of view. In the first story, the author described the meeting of Diogenes and Alexander Macedonian. Obviously, the event was not significant for Diogenes: he simply did not care about his visitors; they all looked the same to him. On the contrary, the meeting influenced Alexander greatly. In the end of the story, the author tells the readers that Alexander was impressed of the meeting, and even later invited a Diogenes’ pupil to help him in India. Besides, I should admit the meeting was short: Diogenes did not even give any piece of advice to Alexander. When speaking about the second short story, there is only one event, as well. The action takes place in times of the war with Confederates. The event is signing papers. The peculiarity is that it was the beginning of the end of the war.
Another similarity is that both short stories contain a detailed description of its characters. Besides, I should mention that both stories have two main characters who have opposite characters. In the first story, there is Diogenes who neglected public life; used to beg for food, and used his clothes as a blanket at nights. On the contrary, there is a young strong King – Alexander Macedonian. He is rich and famous and has many servants. In the second short story, there is one character from the East and one from the West. All the characters mentioned above are very different. I should point out that this method is used to show the contrast between them. The authors of the stories wanted to show that regardless our differences we still could live in peace.
When speaking about differences of the two stories, first I would like to mention the composition of both stories. When reading the first story, the author gives the readers the description of Diogenes and his works; his way of life and background. Then the author provides his readers with the information about Alexander the Great and about his future. The last part of the short story is devoted to their meetings. Hence, it is not difficult to see that the author wanted to prepare his reader to the event. He wanted the reader to know all the background information he or she should know before reading the story. Indeed, it was very necessary. When reading only the last part of the story, it is not clear why Diogenes did not rise to greet Alexander Macedonian. On the contrary, there is the second short story. To read about the event, one should not know any background information. Hence, the author preferred to provide the reader with a short event description in the beginning of the story. The next two parts of the story are devoted to the revealing differences between two men – main characters of the story.
One more difference is authors’ language. When reading the first story, it is clear that the author admired both Diogenes and Alexander Macedonian. The author used belles lettres style to describe both men and their habits. Another peculiarity of the first short story is that the author gives detailed description of background of Diogenes and his present activity. On the other hand, when describing Alexander the Great, the author provided almost no background information; however, Alexander’s future has been mentioned. In the second short story, the situation is different. The story is about the times of war with Confederates. Hence, it would have been ridiculous to use belles lettres. I should admit that the author of the short story used similar characters’ description scheme in both cases. Besides, he provided the readers only with background information and present activity of the characters.
This essay was aimed at comparing and contrasting two short stories. I presented two similarities and two differences between the short stories.
In the introduction I claimed that I would compare and contrast the short stories; and I did that. Frankly speaking, the essays are much alike. Obviously, there are some differences (two of them I have already mentioned), but, in my opinion, they are not very significant. The main similarities of both short stories I have described in two paragraphs. Hence, I may state that the task put in the introduction is complete. In the end, I would like to mention that I liked the first story more than the second one. In the first story, the author played much on the contrast between two people. Besides, there really was the contrast. When reading such stories, a reader realizes how different and difficult our world may be. Besides, such stories can teach their readers live in peace, regardless some differences between us.