Guide to Writing a Comparison/Contrast Essay
GOAL and CHOOSING SUBJECTS: Complete a typed essay that compares and/or contrasts Maceo Montoyaâ€™s The Deportation of Wopper Barraza and Jose Antonio Vargasâ€™s Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.
Writing a comparison/contrast paper involves comparing and contrasting two subjects (comparison, of course, describe similarities; contrast describes differences). Identify the comparisons (similarities) and/or contrasts (differences). In the introductory thesis, be sure you name which similarities and/or differences you will be discussing; if you have a mixture of both comparisons and contrasts, your purposes still have to be stated from the thesis on.
REMINDERS: Your essay can be informative or evaluative, but you must have a consistent tone throughout the entire paper. Be sure to balance your logos, pathos, and ethos.
THE ORGANIZATION: Because many students have had previous experience in comparing and contrasting subjects, organization sometimes gets overlooked, despite the fact that organization is a major factor in comparison/contrast essays. Overall, your essay will have the basic structure of an introduction, body and conclusion. One method of organization for comparison/contrast essays is called block arrangement of ideas; the other is called point-by-point or alternating arrangement of ideas, which is what we will be using.
Use transitions of similarity or contrast accordingly, categorized for purpose (contrast, similarity, reiteration, or the like). For example, likewise and similarly could be used to transition similarities, but conversely and nevertheless could be used to transition the differences. Choose a transitional phrase that is appropriate for your purpose.] Be sure to balance the two subjects by developing equal amounts of proof for each subject
TIPS: Your introduction identifies both subjects and ends with a strong, clearly defined thesis statement, determining your purpose(s): similarities, differences, or both. For the body paragraphs, be sure you have to least three points or topics (one topic per paragraph) for comparison or contrast, dedicating each body paragraph to support your thesis with detailed characteristics (proof) for each point.