“The Compare/Contrast Essay”

How to Write

Definition: 

            To compare, (find similarities) and contrast, (find differences) between two distinctions (divisions) of the same topic, focusing on several categories that both distinctions have in common.

Example: 

                        Topic: Tennis Shoes

                        Distinctions:  Rebok vs. Vans

                        Categories:  Cost, Comfort, Function

Written Assignment:   (100 points; submit to the Drop Box.)

          “A Comparison/Contrast of the Literary Techniques

                used in A Doll’s House and The Glass Menagerie.

Description: 

            This week you will select FOUR  “Elements of Dramatic Analysis” and compare (find similarities) as well as contrast (find differences) inhow those four elements were used by the authors to create the literary masterpieces of A Doll’s House and The Glass Menagerie.  

Topic: Dramatic Literature

Distinctions:  A Doll’s House vs. The Glass Menagerie

Categories:  Select four of the following categories from File 3.2

  • Point of View
  • Characterization
  • Theater Conventions
  • Conflict
  • Major & Secondary Plot Line
  • Setting, Imagery/Symbolism
  • Foreshadow/Flashback
  • Theme
  • Dramatic Genre
  • Tone/Mood.

Directions:

            3.2       Study “An Overview of Terms for Dramatic Analysis.”

            Write a 4-5 page, paper in the APA style.  Select which categories you will analyze, then select with method you will use:           

#1:  Chunk-by-Chunk Method:

            Section #1:  Introduction (accomplish these tasks) 

l:  Introduce the TOPIC to be compared and contrasted

                                                Dramatic Literature

2:  Introduce the DISTINCTIONS (divisions) of the topic.

            (A) A Doll’s House  vs. (B) The Glass Menagerie

3:  Introduce at least four CATEGORIES of comparison

(Select from the “Categories” in File 3.2;

for example, Theme, Realistic Characters, Imagery, Conflict)

4:  State your THESIS: Make a value statement about which play you think is artistically superior and why.

Section #2: 

            Profile of all aspects of A: A Doll’s House

  1. Theme
  2. Characterization
  3. Imagery
  4. Conflict

            Section #3:

Profile of all aspects of B: The Glass Menagerie

  1. Theme
  2. Characterization
  3. Imagery
  4. Conflict

            Section #4:  Comparison/Contrast 

                        (NOTE: This section may need to become multiple paragraphs.)

  1. Write a few sentences for each category that summarizes the main points of comparison and contrast.  For example:
  2.  Argue which theme is better stated in one play than the other.
  3.  Argue which imagery is more effective in one play vs. the other.
  4.  Argue which characters are better sketch in one play vs. the other.
  5. Argue which play has the more poignant conflict.

            Section #4:  Conclusion (Accomplish these tasks)

  • Re-state the topic and its distinctions.
  • Write one sentence for each category that summarizes the main points of comparison and contrast.  For example:
  •  One sentence summarizing which theme is better stated.
  • One sentence arguing which play has more effective imagery.
  • One sentence arguing which play has more realistic, developed characters.
  • One sentence arguing which play has the more poignant conflict.

                        3.         Restate the thesis, arguing for which play is a superior work.

                        4.         Conclude with the importance of drama as a tool to communicate                                       values and open dialogues of self-discovery.

Or…..do it another way……………

#2:   “Point-by-Point” Method:

Section #1:  Introduction (accomplish these tasks) 

l:  Introduce the TOPIC to be compared and contrasted

                                                Dramatic Literature

2:  Introduce the DISTINCTIONS (divisions) of the topic.

            (A) A Doll’s House  vs. (B) The Glass Menagerie

3:  Introduce at least four CATEGORIES of comparison

            (See “Categories” from File 3.2)

4:  State your THESIS: Make a value statement about which play you think is artistically superior and why.

Section #2:     Compare and contrast the first category for both A & B.

                        For example:  Theme in:

  1. A Doll’s House
  2. The Glass Menagerie

Section #3:     Compare and contrast the second category for both A & B.

                        For example:  Imagery in:

                        1.         A Doll’s House

2.         The Glass Menagerie

Section #4:     Compare and contrast the third category for both A & B.

                        For example:  Realistic, well-developed characters in:

                        1.         A Doll’s House

2.         The Glass Menagerie

Section #5:     Compare and contrast the fourth category for both A & B.

                        For example:  Conflict in

                        1.         A Doll’s House

2.         The Glass Menagerie

Section #6:  Conclusion (Accomplish these tasks)

  1. Re-state the topic and its distinctions.
  2. Write one sentence for each category that summarizes the main points of comparison and contrast.  For example:
  3.  One sentence summarizing which theme is better stated.
  4. One sentence arguing which play has more effective imagery.
  5. One sentence arguing which play has more realistic, developed characters.
  6. One sentence arguing which play has the more poignant conflict.

                        3.         Restate the thesis, arguing for which play is a superior work.

                        4.         Conclude with the importance of drama as a tool to communicate                                       values and open dialogues of self-discovery.

Directions:

  • Write a 4-5 pg. essay in the APA style
  • Include a catchy title
  • Citations from the two plays works
  • A “References” page listing the two plays
  • “Running Header” 
  •  This is NOT a research paper; it is an “opinion” paper.

NOTE:  The “Compare/Contrast Essay Template” serves as the standard template for

            ALL comparison/contrast analysis that you will expected to write throughout your             college career, so learn this format well, and take this opportunity to master this        style of writing.

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