Comparison Essay: A Literary Analysis

| March 10, 2014

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You will be required to read two essays and explore a common theme that both pieces share in a 4 page paper. Your goal will be two-fold with this assignment: you are to compare the various ideas and statements that both works have in common, and then use that comparison to analyze both texts.
You may choose from the following suggestions:
The influence of the entertainment industry on the self-image of women in “Escape From Wonderland: Disney and the Female Imagination” pg. 553 and “The Globalization of Eating Disorders” pg. 723
How and why a soldier takes action in “Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts” pg. 430 and “Why Courage Matters” (on Bb)
The plight of the working class in “The Death of Horatio Alger” pg. 465 and “Nickel and Dimed” pg. 476
How children learn from experience in “My Creature From the Black Lagoon” pg. 525 and “Learning to Read and Write” pg. 258
Your final paper should offer a complete and detailed literary analysis focusing on how your chosen texts treat their connecting theme. The second part of your task is to compare the different effects that theme has in each work. In other words, you should not simply identify the similarities between your texts, but also explore the significance of these similarities.
“Four pages of literary analysis! We’ll never get that done, Mr. Bowden! You’ve doomed us all!”
Calm down. First, read and re-read the selected texts. Second, pay attention when we talk about them in class. I will explain how you should go about writing this paper, step by step. Here is a preview of coming attractions on that score:
What Not To Do:
1) Don’t write two pages about one work, and then two pages about another. This isn’t a comparison because it doesn’t draw a connection between the two. At best, it would act as two mini-essays.
2) Don’t simply summarize both works. Simply telling me what takes place in each doesn’t demonstrate any real understanding.
How to Proceed
Go through each essay chronologically, making note of places where you see evidence of similarities that regard your connecting theme.
Create a Venn diagram (or another of the graphic organizers I’ve shown you) in which you examine these points of comparison
Create an outline in which you organize these examples
Use these examples in your paper, then explain their relevance in an attempt to analyze the ideas the authors are trying to impart.
Organize your paper by ideas, not by summary. Each paragraph of the paper’s body should contain the following:
1) A statement that points out a similarity or difference in both essays, and it must refer back to the connecting theme. This is the paragraph’s topic sentence. See the PPT “Creating Strong Paragraphs”.
2) Give evidence, quote or paraphrase, of the opening statement of the paragraph. These make up the paragraph’s supporting sentences. See the PPTs “Creating Strong Paragraphs” and “Integrating Quotations.”
3) The most important part: explaining how that evidence proves the opening statement of the paragraph. This constitutes the paragraph’s concluding sentence/sentences. See the PPTs “Creating Strong Paragraphs” and “Integrating Quotations.”
Why I Am Making You Do This
Because you need to know how to read something, understand the ideas it is trying to impart, and draw connections with other things you see and hear. What does one news story have to do with another? What does this moment in history have to do with that one? And how does everything you see and hear in our world apply to you and what you think or believe? This assignment should help you develop the skills needed to make those connections on paper, and in life.
Assignment Goals
Students will write an essay that uses direct textual support.
Students will incorporate facts and ideas from these sources into the essay in the form of accurate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.
Students will use the skill of comparison/contrast to evaluate and analyze two texts
Students will create a thesis that demonstrates an analytical understanding of two texts.
Students will demonstrate the ability to create organized, three part paragraphs consisting of a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.
Students will document the essay in MLA style
Your final draft should:
Begin with an interesting and informative title
Use evidence from the texts of the two works to analyze their connecting theme
Be carefully and clearly written
Use diction and style appropriate to a formal essay
Be free of grammatical and mechanical errors
Be double spaced, 4 pages long, written in MLA format, and printed in Times New Roman, 12-pt. Font
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