How to Compare and Contrast Two Books

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When you compare in reference to two books, you address one or more ways in which the two books display similarities. When you contrast in reference to two books, you address one or more ways in which the books display differences. Project instructions might define quite specifically the books and the contrasts and comparisons to consider, or they might offer considerable choice. The result of the project usually involves an essay or a report. The more leeway you have, the more choices you need to make before starting the project.

1. Read the first book, then read the second book. Return to the first book now that you have some awareness of the information in both books and reread to take notes on similarities and differences. Reread the second book making similar notes. 2. Explore, when comparing and contrasting books by two authors who wrote during different literary periods, whether the books portray similar or different values. If different, evaluate whether this suggests transient values associated with a specific culture or simply a difference in personal interest between the authors. If similar, consider whether this suggests the shared themes illustrate enduring values or simply reflect a coincidence of personal interest between the authors. 3. Analyze, when exploring books by two different authors who wrote fiction at or around the same time, such considerations as whether the two books show a stylistic similarity or difference, and if a similarity whether anything about the books suggests that the common style derived from the fabric of the culture the authors worked within. Also look for characteristics such as period vocabulary and sterotypical versus realistic characters. 4. Address, when comparing two fiction books by the same author, such comparisons as character development in an early novel versus a novel written well into an author's career. Consider if the two novels by the same author suggest author preference...
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