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    Comparison Essay – The Pieces of Silver & The Red Ball

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    The two stories, ‘The Pieces of Silver’ and ‘The Red Ball’ can be compared easily. I think that they can be seen as being alike with a lot of common points between them, though many contraries can be found as well. The general theme of both stories is quite touching, though in diverse ways in each story. They are about two young boys, as the main characters, in a very different environment. The Pieces of Silver is about a black boy called Clement, who lives in a pre-colonized country, where racism still exists.

    On the other hand, The Red Ball is about a naive boy from the countryside, called Bolan, who tries to adapt to a new environment throughout the story. First of all, the most obvious similarity would be that both Clement and Bolan’s family suffers from poverty. Not only are they unfortunate, what is more pitiful for the boys is that they are poorer than their surroundings. On a school day, ordinary morning procedures take place. However, as the children are called out to donate money and gifts, Clement has to be one of the many shameful children in the centre of attention, as he cannot even afford threepence.

    What he gains for the asking of money to his parents is his father’s “helpless laughter” as a reply. This suggests that the father finds it amusing that the boy is asking for an amount of money that means so much to him; even though it is only threepence. Bolan, in the midst of a clique of boys, gives an “indefinite gesture” of shrugging as a stall holder tries to sell him some food. Although he has no money, he does not want to show that he is poor in front of the other boys, who are nibbling on the food. Secondly, I think that the two boys lack love from their fathers.

    Clement is simply ignored as he appears in front of his father and opens his mouth to say something. The father ‘utilised’ the approach of Clement by opening out an arm with an empty plate, for him to take away, this displays an obvious rejection for Clement. Bolan, also, does not seem to be a significant person in his father’s eyes. His father constantly calls him “boy … ” and orders him to do anything he wants him to do. I think that Bolan’s father treats him more like a servant rather than a son. On the other hand, there are some distinctive contraries between the two stories.

    As Bolan steals money from his parents, Clement earns his own money for himself and also his friends. Although the two boys are both poor, these prove a very different way of avoiding the embarrassment of being poorer than others. Bolan “paid” for the food that he and also his friends ate. The word, paid, is very surprising as he had no money the day before; and coincidentally the savings of his parents disappeared. I believe that his taking of the money from his parents was not a crime; but the desperation of wanting the ability to buy something, like his friends.

    However, Clement earns a little sum of money with the help from his sister. Not only does he use it to avoid him being ashamed, he pays more money on behalf of his friends, who cannot afford to pay for themselves. This shows the generosity of him offering to help even though he is not richer than the others. Another significant similarity would be about who the two boys themselves depend on. Clement’s parents are ignorant and uninterested in him, but the text shows that there is a “close bond” between Clement and his older sister. I think that this is because of the mal-treatment of his parents.

    This presumably encouraged Clement to rely on his sister about problems or difficulties. This is evident when he is relieved by the motherly and caring responses she gives him. Nonetheless, Bolan also lacks the attention from his parents; therefore he becomes attracted to some sculptures at someplace where there is some nature to remind him of his original town. Bolan “half-expects” a reaction when he touches the statues, and he imagines that he is seeing the mermaid “smile” He feels comforted being with the sculptures as he finds it more pleasant than being alone with no-one to keep his company.

    I think that this is the most moving part, that a boy tired of loneliness has found it relieving to be with a sculpture, a lifeless and motionless object. Overall, I believe that both of the short stories are very moving, containing emotive vocabulary. I have found that there are many moving events to draw sympathy and pity towards the two main characters. Furthermore, the use of language is very powerful, being the main influence over the audience. To finish, I think I have found it most amazing how the two boys could have so much in common, although they are also very unlike each other.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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