Writing Compartive Essays
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??? …. iffer 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 …. verything 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 NOT 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 C&C 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. o 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 C&C essay = stance underlined part = signals comparison italicized part = signals contrast = focus of the essay
Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different. While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.
While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs. • ThS = differences outweigh similarities – essay focus = differences Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time. ThS = similarities outweigh differences – essay focus = similarities • No essay map = ? • The focus of the essay = later half of the ThS • Provide a detailed essay map in the later half of your thesis statement NOT in the first half • Thesis for an informative C&C = no stance • Thesis for an argumentative C&C = stance You need to focus the topics given to you – this focus should be evident in your Introduction and then later developed in your Thesis Statement.
C & C solar & wind energy = TS = no essay map for both but notice that one takes a side and the other does not. TO INFORM Solar energy & wind energy both, are practical alternatives to conventional energy sources, though they have their own unique characteristics & uses. TO PERSUADE While both solar and wind energy are practical technologies, solar energy now seems the better investment. Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis.
Structuring the Essay…. Subject-by-Subject = purpose is to emphasize overall similarities or difference • Say everything you have to say about the first subject, then move on & make all the points you want to make about the second subject and so on. • In discussing each subject, you use the same basis of comparison & arrange these points in the same logical order. Appropriate for: short, uncomplicated papers. .. simple comparison…. points of comparison are general & few in number. • Seems like 2 separate essays are weakly connected
Point-by-Point = purpose is to emphasize individual points of similarity or difference. • make a point about one subject & then follow it with a comparable point about the other Appropriate for: longer more complicated essays in which you discuss many different points. readers can easily follow your points. Nevertheless….. it is easy to fall into a monotonous, back-and-forth movement between points ………………. use clear transitions & vary sentence structure as you move from point to point. • Each similarity for A & B can usually be handled in one paragraph in the body of the essay. Each difference for A & B may not be handled in one paragraph – try to split each point of contrast into 2 paragraphs even when using the point-by-point format… (do remember to link the two paragraphs with a transitional sentence) …….. remember the stress is NOT on the number of points that u mention BUT on the DEPTH OF DEVELOPMENT Analogy…. When a subject is unobservable, complex or abstract – when it is so generally unfamiliar that readers may have trouble understanding it – analogy can be most effective. An analogy: – Looks for similarities & differences between 2 essentially dissimilar things. Compares the difficult/abstract/unfamiliar to the more familiar Think of the human genome as the ingredients list for a massive Thanksgiving dinner. Scientists long have had a general understanding of how the feast is cooked. They knew where the ovens were. Now, they also have a list of every ingredient. Yet much remains to be discovered. In most cases, no one knows exactly which ingredients are necessary for making, for example, the pumpkin pie as opposed to the cornbread. Indeed, many, if not most, of the recipes that use the genomic ingredients are missing, and there’s little nderstanding that why small variations in the quality of the ingredients can “cook up” diseases in one person but not in another. (another e. g. on pg 166) True Comparison Analogy analyzes items that belong to the same class – types of engines. Purpose = seeks to illuminate specific features of both subjects e. g. pairs things from different classes – with nothing in common except through the imagination of the writer Purpose = to clarify the one subject that is complex or unfamiliar craft of fiction writing —- craft of carpentry … analogy helps the reader visualize an abstract or unobservable thing