English 101 by pyz17071


									                                                           Comparison-Contrast 1

Assignment: Comparison-Contrast Essay
Mr. Yablon’s Class

       By now, you should have read the chapter on comparison-contrast writing. The
reading selections in the chapter, and throughout the book, all serve as fine examples
of comparison-contrast writing. The subjects of comparison are similar in nature
(therefore comparable), the purposes are focused, they have strong thesis statements,
are well organized, and convey appropriate tones for their subjects.

        What, exactly, is a comparison-contrast essay composed of? What do you need
to think about when doing one? Well, there are several things to think about.

1.    First, you need to decide on a purpose. Why are you making a comparison
      and/or contrast? It isn’t enough to just compare and contrast two or more things.
      You have to do that with some point in mind. For example, you might want to
      show that two things are more similar (or different) than previously thought, or
      you might want to define two shades of an emotion or condition (such as
      happiness versus ecstasy); or you might want to dramatize the effects of drinking
      one glass of red wine at dinner, for good health, versus drinking a case of red
      wine at dinner, with the ill effects of such an action; or you might want to
      persuade readers that stricter divorce laws are needed by comparing the laws of
      several different states. Regardless of the purpose, you must compare and
      contrast with a purpose in mind. That is what directs your essay.

2.    Second, you need to make sure that the two (or more) things you’re comparing
      or contrasting are at least somewhat similar. You can, for example, compare a
      Ford and a Volvo because they’re both cars. You could not compare a car with
      a lawnmower (with the possible exception of an old Volkswagen). So, they need
      to have some related parts.

3.    Third, you need to stay focused on your purpose. That is, you may want to
      inform (to present information as objectively as possible); to evaluate (as in pros
      and cons, with the goal of making some sort of judgment); to persuade (readers
      to take some action based upon your presentation of similarities or differences):
      to clear up misconceptions (by revealing previously hidden or misunderstood
      similarities or differences): or to draw an analogy between two seemingly
      unrelated subjects (such as a singles bar and a day at the zoo).

4.    Fourth, you need to come up with a strong thesis. Now, a thesis always states
      the subject under discussion and the author’s point of view. In a comparison-
      contrast essay, a thesis must do a few more things. It should name the subjects
      being compared and contrasted; it should indicate whether the focus is on
      similarities, differences, or both; and it should state the main point of comparison
      or contrast.
                                                           Comparison-Contrast 2

5.   Fifth, you need to select the points to be discussed. Consider your audience
     when doing this. Be aware of what your readers know, what they don’t know,
     and what you can predict about their reactions. This should influence your
     choices of what to include. Of course, all of your points should support your

6.   Sixth, organize your discussion. For a comparison-contrast essay, there are
     basically two ways to organize your material. They are:

           The one-side-at-a-time (sometimes called the “block”) method, which is
     organized like this:

            I.     Introduction

            II.    Subject “A”    - point 1
                                  - point 2
                                  - point 3, etc.

            III.   Subject “B”    - point 1
                                  - point 2
                                  - point 3, etc.

            IV.    Conclusion

            Note that the points discussed are the same and in the same order. That
     makes for an easy comparison. This type of organization is best used for
     shorter, simpler essays.

           Then there’s the point-by-point method, which is best used for longer,
     more complicated essays. It is organized like this:

            I.     Introduction

            II.    Point 1               - subject “A” then subject “B”

            III.   Point 2               - subject “A” then subject “B”

            IV.    Point 3               - subject “A” then subject “B”, etc.

            V.     Conclusion

7.   Lastly, be aware of language, as always. In order to make sure that the reader
     understands the comparisons and contrasts that you’re making, you need to
     make sure that you’re clear. Part of what makes this essay clear is good use of
     transitions, such as “also,” “in the same way,” “on the other hand,” or “likewise.”
                                                            Comparison-Contrast 3

      Your assignment is to write a two-three page essay, double-spaced, that covers
one of the following topics:

   1. Two-career family versus one-career family
   2. Living at home versus living in an apartment or dorm
   3. Marriage versus living together
   4. Children's pastimes today and yesterday
   5. Public schools versus private schools
   6. Neighborhood stores versus shopping malls
   7. Two-career family versus one-career family
   8. Prayer in public schools
   9. The public’s right to know about politician’s private lives
   10. Men and women serving together in military units
   11. Families then and now
   12. Older parents and younger parents
   13. Friendships
   14. Love, like, lust
   15. City and country
   16. A topic from the book’s chapter on comparison-contrast
   17. Your own topic, (with prior notification)

Of course, if you have any questions, please talk to me as soon as possible.

Good luck.

[File: Comparison-contrast essay.doc]

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