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When you write a comparison or contrast essay, you are engaging in yet another f
When you write a comparison or contrast essay, you are engaging in yet another form of expository writing. Remember that the purpose of such writing is to provide information to your reader, and a comparison or contrast essay is no different” (Wyrick, 237).
In this type of essay, the information you provide typically focuses on the similarities (examined through a comparison) and/or differences (examined through a contrast) between two items, ideas, people, etc. Your opinion about the two elements in question becomes your thesis statement; the body of the paper then shows why you arrived at that opinion, using detailed description that appeals to the senses (sensory details).
This essay may be about a topic of your own choosing. But if you need some help getting started, feel free to write about one of the following prompts:
Consider two different career paths that you might choose to pursue. You could choose two careers that are related somehow to jobs you have held, OR you could choose two career paths that are completely different from any work experiences you have had up until now. Consider these questions:
For which of the two careers are you best suited?
Which of the two best meets your goals and aspirations?
Write a brief essay of comparison and/or contrast in which you analyze the two career paths and reach a decision based on what you discover. Make sure to use the strategy of exemplification to support your examination of the differences between the two careers.
Using vivid, detailed description and compelling narrative to support your discussion, write a brief essay that compares and contrasts two of your most formative life experiences. In what ways were these experiences similar and/or different? Remember to answer the “so what” question. What larger lesson can you offer your reader based on your analysis of those experiences?
You will be graded on organization, the clarity of your thesis statement, and how well you support your thesis with illustrative details that show reasonable comparison and/or contrast. Be sure to avoid the “so-what” thesis problem.
2-3 typed pages (minimum)
Times New Roman 12-font
Additional Compare/Contrast Essay Prompts
Below is a list of possible Compare/Contrast essay prompts that might help to inspire you. Remember to narrow your subject, formulate a thesis that presents a clear point, and follow one of the two organizational patterns discussed on pages 239-240 of our textbook. For additional ideas, turn to “Essay Topics” (pg. 243) and the “Suggestions for Writing” sections following the professional essays (pg. 254 and 256).
Have you ever moved from one town or city to another? Write an essay comparing the two places. Your thesis statement should indicate whether you are emphasizing similarities or differences and convey your opinion of the new area. (If you have never moved, write an essay comparing two places you are familiar with—your college and your high school, for example.)
Assume you had to move to another country. Where would you move? Would you, like Mukherjee, assimilate into your new culture, or would you, like her sister, retain your own cultural values? Write an essay comparing life in your new country to life in the United States. Make sure your thesis reflects your attitude toward assimilation. If you have already moved from another country, compare your life in the U.S. with your life in your country of origin.
Write an essay discussing how your ties to your home or your community differ from those of a friend or a parent. Be specific, and limit your discussion to just a few areas.
Write an essay in which you tell how a technological device—a cell phone, digital camera, laptop computer, for example—changed your life. Make sure you compare your life before you began using the objects with your life after you started to use it. Your essay can be either serious or humorous.
In the Deborah Tannen essay we read in class, “Sex, Lies, and Conversation,” Tannen contrasts the communication patterns of male and female students in classroom settings. After observing a few of your own classes, write an essay also drawing a comparison between the communication patterns of your male and female classmates. Please, when writing, be respectful of others and do not mention any specific names of individuals.