ENGLISH 101–PAPER 2

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Length: 5-7 typed pages

For this essay you must compare two or more of the stories in The Story and Its Writer. The assignment is similar to the other analysis paper you have written, but here the task is complicated by the necessity of putting two or three stories "side-by-side" as you analyze. You should not write on the story you chose for Paper 1 again in this assignment.

Comparison involves analyzing relevant similarities and differences. By comparing two or more stories in terms of theme, symbols, characters, handling of historical situations, etc., you can often reveal features of a story that may otherwise have remained inaccessible. You should begin, therefore, by looking through the reader to find stories that seem strikingly similar or strikingly different to you in some way--for example, two or three stories that explore the nature of marriage, racial relations, or of the past; a group of stories narrated from a similar perspective; or any other grouping that seems interesting to you for an identifiable reason. You may choose to compare two works by the same author. If you prefer, you can compare two characters from within the same story.

Begin by trying to find common denominators between the stories–characterizations, settings, plots, etc.–that will give you topics to focus on as you compare. As always, you should avoid simply summarizing the stories you are comparing. After you've decided which elements of the stories you will focus on and compare, you must gather evidence (quotations and analyses of specific elements in each story) to support your thesis. Decide how you want to organize your comparative analysis–would a part-by-part or a whole-by-whole analysis work best?

Work on crafting a coherent essay that begins with a clear introduction to the works you will compare, followed by a thesis statement or "promise to the reader" that lets the reader know what the point of this comparison will be. In the body of your paper, strive to give equal attention to each of the stories; avoid focusing on one to the exclusion of the other(s). Conclude your paper gracefully by tying your comparison together for the reader, so that the reader knows what to make of the juxtaposition of the stories.