What is a Comparison and Contrast Essay? A comparison and contrast essay focuses on how two items or texts are similar, different, or similar in some ways and different in others. You can compare and contrast any number of items including theories, events, books, or people.
Write a comparative analysis of Tobias Wolff’s “The Rich Brother” (pg. 319) and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” (pg. 333). Focus on what you see as the three or four most interesting and significant points of comparison and contrast between the two stories. There are many ways in which you could develop your paper; for example, you could write a character analysis in which you focus on the main characters (the two brothers) from each of the two stories. However you develop your paper, avoid simply stating that similarities and differences exist; comment upon the significance of these similarities and differences. Your goal is to enhance your readers’ understanding and appreciation of these stories. Assume that your readers have read both stories; therefore, there is no need to summarize the plot extensively. Again, as you write your paper, keep in mind that you want to help your readers understand the significance of the discussion points that you have chosen. The thesis of your paper should make an overall point about both stories. You must submit a complete rough draft of your Close Reading Essay by March 12th. Be sure to observe the minimum requirements below. An evaluation rubric will be posted shortly. After I’ve evaluated your rough draft and provided suggestions for revision, you’ll submit a final draft incorporating my feedback and the suggestions for revision that you receive from your TutorMe Report (due to UNIT SEVEN drop box by March 19th).
Be sure to read the stories that you are writing about carefully, several times. Annotate them with this assignment in mind, highlighting important similarities and differences (discussion points).
If necessary, open your course textbook, Arguing About Literature, and review Chapter 6 “Writing About Literary Genres: Short Fiction”.
Decide which 3—4 points of comparison/contrast seem most interesting and important, and construct an outline of your rough draft.
Locate 2 articles about the stories from scholarly journals in the Galveston College Library Databases. Be sure that the articles are relevant to the points that you have chosen to discuss in your essay. For this assignment, you must utilize two (no more, no fewer) secondary sources from scholarly journals to support your argument.
Read and annotate your secondary sources and decide how you will incorporate them into your essay. Include a few brief quotations and paraphrases from these sources, using parenthetical citations within your paper.
Using your outline, notes taken while you read the short stories, primary sources (the stories themselves), and secondary sources (the scholarly articles), write a rough draft of your essay.
Assume that your audience — your instructor and your peers — have read the short stories.
Three to four pages in length (750-1000 words) and formatted according to MLA guidelines
An original title that reflects the topic of the paper
Introduction that includes authors’ names, the short stories’ titles, and a thesis statement that presents your topic and makes an arguable point comparing and contrasting the stories
Integrated quotations and/or paraphrases from the short stories and scholarly articles with in-text citations (per MLA style)
Third-person point of view and the literary present tense when discussing what happens in the texts
Works Cited page in MLA-8 format
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