Essay Compare and Contrast

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Kelly Means
English 1113-350
11/8/09
Compare and Contrast
To compare and contrast essays can be a difficult thing to do. One might tend to look for similarities in essays and choose that way. You might focus on essays that are just blatantly obvious in their differences. But that would be too easy. However if one might choose essays that are different and then search to find out how they are the same may prove more entertaining. I chose “How to Say Nothing in 500 Words” and “Just Walk on By.” These two appear to be totally different in all aspects. I chose these because they appear to be so extremely different that it would be challenging to find similarities.

Paul Roberts in “How to Say Nothing in 500 Words” taken from The Longman Reader, is writing to an audience of students. He begins his essay by appealing to the reader’s own memory of writing an essay. He makes the essay personal putting you, the reader, in the essay. He does so in stating, “You are Just looking forward dreamily to the weekend when the English instructor says: “For Monday you will turn in a five-hundred-word composition on college football” (224; par1).

Brent Staples in his essay “Just Walk on By” taken from The Longman Reader, starts off his essay with a different approach(139). He tries to hook his reader in by sparking their imagination, using this sentence, “My first victim was a woman—white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties”(139; par1). Right away he has captured the reader’s attention. Now the reader wants to find out what happened to the woman. Victim, victim of what? Did he kill her, rape her? What? The reader must press on to find out what happened.

Although both authors, Paul Roberts and Brent Staples use a different approach to reach their audience, they are both similar as well. At first thought they seem entirely different but with a little in depth thought you can see that they both achieve the same purpose with their audience. Roberts gets the reader’s...
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