Compare the way two different works/readings express cultural values at work in the texts.
Students do not need to do any outside research, focus on what the texts say about your topic! Plagiarism is also avoided in this way. For example, you do not need to know all about Greek culture but can assume that what the text says is related to what that specific cultural context of the writer or text thinks about the topic. Try to organize your essay and paragraphs around something that the text says, quotations of passages in the text and their analysis. Each paragraph should try to have something concrete from the text you are writing about in that paragraph, so for literature this means a passage or quotation from the texts.
CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TOPICS OR SUBMIT YOUR OWN (Questions might be combined or overlap if you find that they are related just make clear when introducing your topic and in your thesis what your topic/grounds for comparison is):
1. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the idea of right action and the consequences of our actions. How should humans act in the world or how DO they act in the world if the work of literature does not directly address this?
2. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the idea of moral behavior and what constitutes a moral, ethical human. This could be related to the first question but also could be an analysis of what the characters do rather than simply what the texts say. This could be related to the questions the characters ask not simply the solutions proposed.
3. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the problem of the human dilemmas we encounter in our lives. What are the problems the texts ask us to think about and then resolve, are they resolved satisfactorily in the texts? For example, loyalty or the role of violence, or
4. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate the representation/role of nature in the lives of human beings. Is nature important to human existence and/or how do the texts express/represent this relationship between man and the natural world, including animals.
5. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the relationship between human beings. How do the texts discuss and divide human beings and why? For example, you could discuss the nature of the way power works in the texts or the use of violence and I’m thinking about something related to colonialism even if it doesn’t exist in the modern way so maybe something about the divide between civilized and uncivilized.
6. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the idea of love or affection or if not directly love in the modern sense then the bonds between human beings. What are these bonds and how do they function in both texts?
7. Compare the way two different texts discuss/analyze/elaborate on the cultural values highlighted in each text. What are the most essential values that seem to be expressed in your two texts and how and why are they important for the texts?
Comparative Essay Tips:
To write a good compare-and-contrast paper, you must take your raw data—the similarities and differences you’ve observed in your two texts—and make them cohere into a meaningful argument.
Here are several elements that may be useful:
Frame of Reference. This is the overall umbrella under which you group the two texts you are comparing. The frame of reference may consist of an idea, theme, question, problem, or theory. In other words this is your topic and should be clearly stated in the introduction and of course be present in thesis and paragraphs. The questions offer possible frames of reference. A paper without such a context would have no angle on the material, no focus or frame for the writer to propose a meaningful argument.
Grounds for Comparison. The rationale or reason behind your choice of texts to analyze is the grounds for comparison. The grounds for comparison lets your reader know why your choice is deliberate and meaningful, not random. So, in the body of essay you need to indicate the reasoning behind your choice.
Thesis. The grounds for comparison anticipates the comparative nature of your thesis. As in any argumentative paper, your thesis statement will convey the gist of your argument, which necessarily follows from your frame of reference. The thesis depends on how the two things you’ve chosen to compare actually relate to one another. Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another? In the most common compare-and-contrast paper—one focusing on differences—you can indicate the precise relationship between A and B by using the word “whereas” in your thesis:
Whereas Camus perceives ideology as secondary to the need to address a specific historical moment of colonialism, Fanon perceives a revolutionary ideology as the impetus to reshape Algeria’s history in a direction toward independence.
So, as a model: Whereas A does x, B does y.
Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis. This relationship is at the heart of any compare-and-contrast paper.
Organizational Scheme. Your introduction will include your frame of reference, grounds for comparison, and thesis. There are two basic ways to organize the body paragraphs of your paper.
* In text-by-text organization, you discuss all of A in one half, then all of B in the second half.
* In point-by-point, you alternate paragraphs around points about A with comparable points about B in the next paragraph. (This is probably the best and easiest way to write this essay.)
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