ENC 1101

Fall 2002

Compare/Contrast Essay

What is a comparison or a contrast? A comparison shows how two or more items are similar, and a contrast shows how they are different.

What is a compare/contrast essay? In this situation, the compare/contrast essay must consider both the similarities and the differences found in a topic of your choice. (The example below assumes that the writer is using two fairy tale stories.) This can be achieved through either a subject-by-subject comparison or a point-by-point comparison. In class, we will look at an example using the fairy tale of Cinderella.

The trick is to not argue the obvious. When two or more things are clearly different, your challenge is to find out how they are similar. When two or more things are clearly similar, your challenge is to find out how they are similar.

Assignment: Choose a topic in two parts that you can compare and contrast. I encourage you to pick a fairy tale, but you may choose anything that interests you and can be researched. At least one text must be in print, but the other may be a film. Almost anything Disney has an "original" story behind it that Disney has twisted. Detail the similarities and the differences in the two texts and then make an analytical statement as to why they retain what similarities they do and as to why they exhibit evident differences. This will form your synthesis portion of the essay. Work on creating a strong thesis to build the rest of your paper from.

Three outside resources, other than your texts, are required for this essay. It should follow MLA format and be 1,000 words in length.

Subject-by-Subject Comparison.
Here, you are essentially writing a separate essay about each subject, but you discuss the same points for both subjects. In doing so, you use the same basis of comparison to guide your selection of supporting points. The most important part of this comparison is the final synthesis section, bringing the two pieces together. Your essay will usually look like this:

Synthesis of the two Fairy Tales

Comment/analysis on point 1 in both fairy tales

Comment/analysis on point 2 in both fairy tales

Comment/analysis on point 3 in both fairy tales

Point-by-Point Comparison.
Here, you first make a point about one subject and then follow it with a comparable point about the other. Your essay will usually look like this:

 

Presentation: Two copies of your final paper plus the advertisement are to be in the left-hand pocket of a folder. In the right hand pocket are all of your rough drafts, especially the ones critiqued by your classmates in peer review, your classmatesí one-page critique, and any outside sources you used in writing your paper. A paper not in a folder will not be acceptable to turn in.

I will not grade your essay if you do not follow MLA format. Therefore, if even one of the following criteria applies it will not be graded:

Incorrect Margins (They should be 1" all around.)

Incorrect Name, Date, &tc. Information

The title is underlined or italicized.

Page length requirement is not met. (At least one word on the 4th page).

There are not the required number of sources (three outside sources).

 

All assignments are due at the beginning of class.

Please remember the late work policy and plagiarism penalties are in effect. Your paper will be deducted one letter grade for every day that it is late and could result in a failing grade if you plagiarize. If you have any questions, please see me as soon as possible.

Evaluation Criteria:

An "A" paper presents a well-articulated critique of the argument and conveys meaning skillfully.

A typical paper in this category

A "C" paper demonstrates some competence in its critique of the argument and in conveying meaning but is obviously flawed.

A typical paper in this category exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that can interfere with meaning

lacks the required outside sources or the integration of these sources into the paper

displays incorrect usage of MLA format

does not meet the required page/word length

 

An "E" paper demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in both analysis AND writing.

A typical paper in this category exhibits more than one of the following characteristics:

contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that result in incoherence or the readerís ability to follow the argument

lacks the required outside sources

significantly insufficient in terms of the page/word requirement

cites sources incorrectly or not at all, in what could be termed plagiarism

 

Bís and Dís will also be rewarded to papers, but the evaluation criteria is meant to give the student an idea of the grading rubric.