Paper Assignment: Comparison and Contrast
Due (uploaded to GeorgiaView): Wednesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m.
This assignment requires you to compare two works of literature from those that we have read during the first half of the semester. Over the course of this semester, we have discussed the literature that emerged from various groups as the country that now call the United States was being formed. Your thesis should characterize what it means to be an American according to the works you have chosen, and how those works are similar and/or different in expressing this message. You should back up your arguments with numerous examples from the texts themselves, including direct quotations. Eligible works include:
– “The Iroquois Creation Story”
– Winnebago Trickster Tale
– The writings of John Smith
– The narrative of Mary Rowlandson
– “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
– The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
– “Letters From an American Farmer”
– “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano”
– The Federalist Papers
– “The Birth-Mark”
– “Rip Van Winkle”
– “The Fall of the House of Usher”
When comparing two pieces of literature, you must point out what the specific similarities and differences are. Even more importantly, you must explain what the significance of the similarities and/or differences is. Ask yourself why these similarities and/or differences exist and how they make you think about the creators’ different approaches to the subject at hand. Remember that a comparison should be made for a purpose. Your paper should not simply be a laundry list of similarities and differences; you must be able to explain why these similarities and/or differences are important; what do they help you to understand about the work(s) as a whole?
Suggested length: 3-4 pages, double-spaced (I will not accept anything less than 3 pages.)
Here are some steps that you might follow to get you started:
1. Begin by listing the similarities and differences that exist between the two works.
2. Note which similarities and/or differences seem most significant and decide which you will emphasize.
3. Write an introduction that clearly outlines the purpose and point of the comparison. Include a thesis statement that focuses on your main point (what you are ultimately trying to illustrate or prove in your paper) and an essay map that outlines the main points or assertions you intend to present.
4. Develop each subject (or each point) in a separate paragraph (or a series of carefully related and logically linked paragraphs).
5. Make sure the transitions between paragraphs and between sections of the paper show the connections (the comparisons and contrasts) that you want to make.
6. Develop a conclusion that offers an analysis, evaluates the evidence the body of your paper provides, or in some other way shows the significance of the comparison that you have made. In other words, draw some final conclusion about the assertion that you made in your thesis statement.
7. Use MLA parenthetical citations after all quoted and paraphrased material.
8. Include a “Works Cited” page that includes listings for the sources that you used in your paper.
9. Proofread your paper carefully for spelling and grammatical errors.
10. Do not plagiarize. If I have reasonable evidence to suspect plagiarism, I will automatically give the assignment a grade of zero. I do not allow rewrites for instances of suspected plagiarism.
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