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Comparison / contrast writing

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Comparison / contrast writing

Comparison or contrast is a basic procedure of explanation and analysis. A comparison presents two or more objects and describes and analyzes their similarities and differences. Comparison usually makes us see the items under discussion more clearly and in a new light. When writing a literary comparison, you will answer the question "So What?" In other words you will not only explain the similarities and differences between the two or more works but also explain the significance of your comparison.

Since the purpose of a comparison or contrast is to inform readers of something they haven't thought of before. So a comparison should be illuminating, that is, the things compared must either appear different but have significant similarities or appear similar but have significant differences You must have a purpose for your comparison. In other words, the reader of the comparison should not have to ask SO WHAT? at the end of your essay.

A comparison or contrast is controlled by the ground of the comparison, that is, the basis for comparing the items. The basis, or ground, must be significant and it must fulfill a purpose. In a comparison of two literary works, some common grounds of comparison are as follows:

1. plot 
2. character background 
3. character actions 
4. character motivations 
5, setting 
6. theme 
You can develop your discussion of each ground of your comparison by describing and interpreting the attributes of that ground. For example attributes of the ground of setting might be location, year, time of year, time of day, and/or weather.

Key features of a comparison include the following:

1. It allows readers to easily see similarities and differences 
   between two or more sources, 
2. It accurately presents the information from the sources, 
3. It presents the comparison for a purpose (i.e.: it has a thesis).  
There are two primary patterns of organization used in comparison essays. They are block method and alternating method.

The block method is also called summary approach or called "One Side at a Time." The focus is on items being compared. The writer presents one work, describe all of its relevant grounds and attributes, and then does the same with the second item, using the same grounds for comparison. The block Method works best as follows:

1. when two objects compared are relatively simple
2. when points of comparison are general and few in number
3. when amount of information presented is not great
Alternating Method is also called element by element or point by point. The focus is on the grounds and attributes of comparison. Works being compared are discussed in terms of the grounds and attributes of comparison. You usually use the Alternating Method of comparison in your essay writing.

Finnally, you should remember that comparison and contrast is an organizational and analytical structure that supports your ideas but you still need a thesis.

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