COMPARATIVE ESSAY BLOCK METHOD
One method of developing a comparative essay between two literary works is the BLOCK METHOD. • Ideas are blocked into categories and paragraphs. • The author (YOU) will discuss everything that needs to be said about topic A;then, the essay continues to say what is needed to be said about topic B (with a transition paragraph in between).
It is important to understand the difference between COMPARING and CONTRASTING. • Comparing looks at likenesses and differences. • Contrasting discusses how things are different. • It is very important that you take the time to plan how to use this when you do an outline for your essay before you start to write.
The Block Method: An outline • Introduction: • Think about your expository essay intro: you responded to the question using one literary work, this time you will respond to the question using BOTH works. • Think: blurb, sweet old lady on the plane • Note the similarities/differences in the works with relation to the question : THESIS STATEMENT
Main Body: • Your first 2 to 3 (or even 4) paragraphs will be entirely dedicated to the 1st literary work mentioned in your introduction. • You are staying on track with the THESIS STATEMENT, which has answered the question. • You will support your writing with good examples and quotes from the work. • Don’t forget about proper topic sentences and transition words!!!! • TEER
TEER • Transition Word • Topic Sentence • Example • Explain • Refer Back
Before you start the discussion of your second literary work mentioned in your introduction you MUST have a proper transition paragraph. • In this paragraph you will sum up what you have already said about the first work and what you will discuss about the second work. • Proper transition words are VERY important here!!!!
Your next 2 to 3 (or even 4) paragraphs will be entirely dedicated to the 2nd literary work mentioned in your introduction. • You are staying on track with your THESIS STATEMENT, which has answered the question. • You will support your writing with good examples and quotes from the work. • Don’t forget about proper topic sentences and transition words!!!! • TEER
Conclusion: • You need to draw the two sections together here. • You need to provide overall conclusions as to how the 2 works answer the question – refer back to your original THESIS. • It’s a good idea to give a general opinion on the 2 works (no personal pronouns!) • Try to have a good quote with which to leave the readers. • Do NOT introduce new ideas at this point.
TRANSITION WORDS!! • For Comparison: • Just as….so too • Similarly • In the same way • Likewise • The same as • Similar to
For contrast: • But/yet/or • In contrast • Otherwise • Rather • However • On the other hand • Nevertheless • Alternatively • At the same time • On the contrary
Let’s look at the example essay written using the BLOCK method: • Topic A : what is it? • P #2 discusses: • P#3 discusses: • P#4 discusses: • P#5 discusses: WHAT IS MISSING??
What will you write about?? • You need to start developing ideas about which two works you will compare. • What other literary works have we studied this year? • Start by brainstorming: • Themes • Symbols • Characters • Conflict
Remember… Always use the planning space for your essay. It will take about 5 minutes to plan but will give you extra time to write a coherent essay.
Let’s take a look at 2 other literary works we have studied this year and examine how they compare with Macbeth. • Oedipus Rex • Night
CONFLICT/CHARACTER • The external conflicts are obvious, we will concentrate on internal struggle – which also gives us a deeper understanding of the character(s). • We will also look at character traits.
Macbeth • His internal struggle is very intense • Vacillates • He struggles immediately with what the predictions of the witches tell him about his future. • Struggle to listen to Lady Macbeth – she appeals to his manliness – he responds to this. • Steeped in murder – becomes desperate. • His internal struggle in for power – he is not to be pitied. • What else? • QUOTES
Character traits : Macbeth • A courageous and strong general • A moral coward • Ambitious • Power obsessed • Superstitious and imaginative • Loved his wife • His character deteriorated
Oedipus • His internal struggle is also very intense: • He originally flees to avoid the prophecy he has been told • Jocasta encourages him to forget what he has heard and move on (contrast with Lady Macbeth) • He has so much inner turmoil, but contrastingly to Macbeth, his struggle is not power obsessed – it what the Gods have presented to him, his own self-loathing. • He does everything he can to not accept this truth about himself – he is not responsible for his actions the way Macbeth is
Character traits : Oedipus • Proud, efficient and intelligent King • Compassionate • Excessive pride (tragic flaw) – wants his greatness to be recognized • Enjoys power • Admirable • Intelligent man – willing to take action
Night • Although Elie’s internal conflict was indeed intense, it was not the same type in inner struggle that the characters of Oedipus and Macbeth suffered. • His struggle was that of human survival, his struggle to keep/lose his faith and his exposure to such inhuman actions and the slaughter of human innocence.
Oedipus/Macbeth • The inner struggle of faith does not fit quite as well into the story of Oedipus and Macbeth. • We could consider: • Macbeth’s struggle with what the witches say and what he wants • MacDuff certainly questions the presence of God and his lack of faith when his innocent family is slaughtered • Oedipus is the contrast – the Gods relentless intervention.
SYMBOLS • A symbol is a person, place, or thing comes to represent an abstract idea or concept -- it is anything that stands for something beyond itself. • There are many symbols throughout these 3 works – don’t forget that different symbols may represent the same ideas and connect similar thoughts/motifs/themes.
Macbeth • Night/Nighttime Imagery • Represents: • Evil • Death/murder • Darkness of the human soul • Foul deeds • Other?
Murder/killing takes place at night • Battles – death/destruction • Macbeth’s soul becomes darker and darker • “stars hide your fire…..” • Witches also represent this darkness and evil • Lady Macbeth in the sleepwalking scene – she must always have a light by her side • “doctor quote”
Night • Night/Nighttime Imagery • Represents: • Evil • Death/murder • Darkness of the human soul • TITLE • The travel to their deaths/cattle car • Living through the darkest period of humanity
Elie’s experiences : Title • Cattle car imagery • Evil deeds committed • Nazis advancement • Contrast : relentless inhumane murders not battle. • Destruction of millions of Jews • The entire story can representing one long nightmare for the Jewish people
Oedipus • There is no strong presence of Night or night time imagery in this play
Macbeth • Kingship • Symbolic of rise to power • Symbolizes excessive ambition and pride • Symbolic of wrong-doing/evil
Macbeth claims the title of king himself through evil and murder • His rise to power was not through bloodline or loyalty • A king should be gentle and kind : Duncan
Oedipus • Kingship • Symbolic of rise to power • Symbolizes excessive ambition and pride • Symbolic of wrong-doing/evil
Unknowingly commits murder (in terms of prophecy) • Similarly, this murder does lead to him becoming king – but in a much different way than Macbeth • Laius was a good and respected King
Characters in all 3 works • The characters of Macbeth, Oedipus and Elie all symbolize the struggle for self-preservation. • Macbeth : greed and ambition to become king. • Oedipus : pride and struggle to not become what the prophecy predicted • Elie : struggle to stay strong, survive and stay true to himself and his steadfast faith in God.
Theme • A theme is the central idea or ideas explored by a literary work. • A work of literature may have more than one theme. • We can see various themes and motifs present in all three works
“The human struggle to survive/self-preservation” • Macbeth did whatever it took to become king. • His struggle was not one of survival but one of greedy, power driven self-preservation. • He was steeped in blood, evil and over ambition to get to where he wanted to be. • In the end where does it leave him?
Elie did whatever he had to do to survive – to live – in contrast to Macbeth. • He did it for both himself and his father • Witness to inhumane acts and extreme violence and aggression – he prevailed. • In the end – where did it leave him?
Oedipus was relentless to discover his true story. • His struggle for self-preservation was not to seek power and kingship – itwas about his true self/story. • In the end?
“Man’s capacity for evil knows no bounds” • Macbeth was responsible for the killing of a kind and good king – this was THE crime of Shakespeare’s time: high treason. • Macbeth became more and more evil as the play progresses. • Duncan’s murder • Banquo/Fleance • MacDuff’s family • Steeped in blood and death
6 million Jews killed • Nazis destruction of an entire race • SS soldiers versus the Jews • Jews versus Jews • Eliereceived and was witness to extreme inhumane acts • So much evil and murder present in the camps
Oedipus: details of what he discovers • He tries so hard to avoid his fate • Evil – what the Gods told him – no mercy • Evil – he had to accept the evil acts he brought upon himself • Contrasts with Macbeth’s evil.
“Through death and destruction truths are revealed” • A man’s heart can turn dark. • Influence of evil (witches/prophecy/apparitions) • Ambition and want for power lead to death and destruction • Murders • Corrupt way to the throne • Goodness prevails : Malcolm becomes king
Elie experiences extreme pain and suffering • Death and destruction in the camps • Contrastingly to Macbeth – Elie discovers that at the heart of every man there is evil (in the inhumane destructive conditions of the camps).
Oedipus also discovers his real truth (through death and destruction) • His path is different, pre-determined by the Gods. • Self destruction
“Uncontrolled lust for power leads to certain and terrible consequences” • Macbeth transforms in to a power obsessed character steeped in murder, death and destruction. • Nazi regime • Oedipus