Writing Comparative Essays
• encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas • engage in critical thinking & go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: - when you reflect on similarities & differences you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other & what is most important about them.
Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.
Establishing a Basis of Comparison…
• Objects must share some significant characteristics….. (same class or general category) • no basis of comparison if there is no common element
• If the similarities & differences between the objects are all simply obvious the reader of the essay is certain to be bored…. So the basis of comparison should go beyond the obvious… When 2 subjects are very similar, it is the contrast that may be worth developing more When 2 subjects are not very much alike, you may find their similarities enlightening.
Bees and People = absurd???
….differ in species, physical structure, intelligence both are: - social animals that live in complex social structures, - have tasks to perform & roles to fulfill in their respective societies = so we could write but focus on the common elements that seem most provocative = social structures & roles
Bees and Jeeps Human Beings and Golf Tees = NO few points of comparison = very trivial ones bees & jeeps = travel great distances = dumb similarity people & tees = needed to play golf = dumb similarity
= no significant basis of comparison = NO C&C essay
YOU CANNOT WRITE A C&C ESSAY IF THERE ARE NO SIMILARITIES .... everything on the planet has differences so the aim here is to find similarities and then develop differences….
Points of Comparison (& contrast)
• treat the same, or at least similar, elements for each subject: Novel A Major characters Minor characters Themes Novel B Major characters Minor characters Themes
Novel A Major characters Minor characters Themes Novel B Minor characters Language Plot
Deciding Your Purpose….
C&C solar & wind energy
ask yourself…… Why do I want to C&C these objects.
Do you want to inform, to emphasize, to explain, to evaluate, to persuade that one side is better than the other? Do you have more than one purpose?
Your purpose will influence the content & organization of your comparison & contrast essay
Comparative Essays may be:
persuasive or informative
(your thesis statement signals this purpose) Your assignment for this class = Informative C&C essay
solar & wind energy
TO INFORM TO PERSUADE Provide information about both in order to determine whether one is better than the other as a practical means of producing significant amounts of energy.... Proving that one technology is superior to the other
Provide information about both in order to determine that both are a practical means of producing significant amounts of energy….
Formulating a Thesis Statement…
• identify the subjects to be C & C • Indicate comparison as well as contrast • indicate whether you will concentrate on similarities or differences or whether you will balance the two • list the main points of comparison or contrast in the order in which they will be discussed in the essay (essay map)
Despite the fact that television and radio are distinctly different media, they use similar strategies to appeal to their audiences. no essay map = TS = for an informative C&C = no stance = no taking a side underlined part = signals contrast italicized part = signals comparison focus / emphasis is on --- comparison = as it is stated at the end of the thesis
Although Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ & London’s ‘The Sea Wolf’ are both about the sea, minor characters, major characters, and themes of Moby Dick establish its greater complexity. TS = for an argumentative...
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