Topics: Writing, Comparison, Linguistics Pages: 3 (705 words) Published: May 11, 2013
English, Comparative, Guidelines
Based on some recent emails, there seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to approaching the comparative study essay. Understandably, it is quite hard to organise your knowledge of these texts and make it into a coherent comparative. I felt there was no point in trying to write a sample essay, as everyone is studying different texts. But here is the bread and butter of it all...

In essence, you will be asked to write along the following essay titles ("modes of comparison"): - cultural context
- vision and viewpoint
- theme or issue
as explored in 3 texts. Usually 2 of 3 come up every year.

This is an artificial division in terms of essay titles. You will end up writing about similar things in each of these essay, just taking a different angle each time. A comparative is just that - don't try to impress the examiner with your in-depth knowledge of the texts - compare them, its okay to be a little superficial, but try to hit the three texts from all the different angles of comparison.

To gain an understanding of the kind of organising you need to do, have a look at my old notes:

Comparative road map - my own scribbles. Click on image to enlarge. Don't try to read the details here (this sheet was filled out on the other side too). Just note how I had my 3 texts up across and issues/visions/cultural matters down. I studied Sive, Lies of Silence and Witness. I can't say I loved these texts and film, so the comparative didn't come naturally to me. So it is my advice to make a simple table:

Book title 1
Book title 2
Book title 3
Issue 1
Point 1,2,3
Point 1,2...

Issue 2

Issue 3...

outlining the big things and writing out some main points for each. I made this one out on a big sheet (A3). It is probably best to use a pencil - so you can rub things out and keep it neat. Make this kind of table when you are quite familiar with the texts. And then in 1-2 hours of making tables, the comparative...
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