The Other Troilus

story by E J Delaney , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to compare texts on a similar topic so that I can analyse their audiences, purposes and level of authority.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the differences in form and content between a fiction and nonfiction text on the same topic.
  • I can analyse and justify the intended audience and purpose for each text.
  • I can evaluate which text has more authority as a historical source.

Essential knowledge:

More information about how to group or contrast text types based on form and function can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Genre.

More information about the features that make a text, or point of view trustworthy can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Authority.

Guiding Question:

How can different text types on the same topic be used to inform an audience?

Prior to reading the story, build students’ field of understanding around the Trojan War. (Suggested resource: Britannica Kids: Trojan War. Please note the differentiated reading levels.) Students should understand the following points:

  • An idea of the who, what, where and when. The Trojan War took place between two ancient kingdoms: Troy and Sparta. They were fighting over trade routes and a beautiful Queen named Helen, who escaped her husband in Sparta and moved to Troy. This fighting occurred in the Hellespont (modern day Türkiye and Greece) around 3000 years ago.
  • The main historical source for the battle, a poet called Homer. They should also know that he is an unreliable source and much of his poems are based on mythology.
  • The aspects of mythology in the poem: gods and goddesses are involved and interfere in the battle; the ten-year siege ends with soldiers hiding in a giant wooden horse.
  • There is, however, archaeological evidence that Troy was a real city and there is evidence there really was a war based on disputes over the trading routes.

Next, read the story as a class. After reading, use a compare/contrast graphic organiser to identify the similarities and differences in the two texts. If using a Venn Diagram, you may wish to divide the circles into three segments using horizontal lines. Then you can have three topics to compare: story, form, purpose. Some suggested areas of comparison include:


Story/Events Both the Britannica summary and modern myth include the names of the key characters, the kidnapping of Helen and mention Homer.

However, the Britannica summary references the wooden horse, whereas the modern narrative contains a carved limestone horse. Also, the modern myth contains lots of amusing small details, such as the Trojans throwing eggplants at the Spartan soldiers.

Form The Britannica summary is written as an objective informative text. It is not told as a chronological narrative but structured around a series of topics. It contains multimodal features (images, clips) and discusses the facts and myths around the Trojan War.

While modern myth also explains that there are many myths around the Trojan War, it presents itself as the true story told by an anonymous narrator. The story is told chronologically, and it uses hand drawn illustrations, rather than historical sources.

Purpose The purpose of the Britannica summary is to inform an audience. The purpose of modern myth is to be entertaining. However, it also highlights how the Trojan War story, in its original form, is mostly a myth. The narrator cleverly says that the information came from the great historian ‘Viki Pedia’. This suggests that Homer, like Wikipedia, is an unreliable source.


After completing the graphic organiser, ask students who the intended audience for each text is. Students should recognise that both texts are written for primary school age children. Then ask students how reading both texts, from different genres, may deepen the understanding of the Trojan War. Make the analysis process for students visible. First, they read a purely informative text to get a big picture understanding of the Trojan War. Next, they read an entertaining and highly fictionalised version of the Trojan War. This gave them the opportunity to be skilled text detectives as they had to sift through fact and fiction as they read the story. This is what a reader also must do when they read Homer’s epic poem The Illiad on the Trojan War.

Finally, as a class identify which text has greater authority as a historical source. First identify all the features of the Britannica summary that give it authority: it is from a highly respected encyclopedia, it is written using objective language, it contains sources and a list of respected websites that corroborate its account. Compare how the story tries to establish authority: it claims to be the true story of the war, it claims that the better-known version was written by poets, not historians, and finally it claims to be based on the account of the great historian Viki Pedia.