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Compare and Contrast Essay. Expository Writing. Objective. Today we will write an essay in the compare/contrast format. Review. Compare- to examine how thing are similar Contrast- to examine how things are different. Review- How to Read a Poem. Read the title

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compare and contrast essay

Compare and Contrast Essay

Expository Writing

  • Today we will write an essay in the compare/contrast format.
  • Compare- to examine how thing are similar
  • Contrast- to examine how things are different
review how to read a poem
Review- How to Read a Poem
  • Read the title
  • Mark off the sentences in the poem, using hash marks
  • Read the poem through quickly, highlighting unknown words
  • Read the poem again for initial understanding
active reading
Active Reading

Answer as many of the 5 W’s as possible

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?




the prompt
The Prompt
  • Compare and contrast the two poems by Edgar Lee Masters.
george gray edgar lee masters
“George Gray”Edgar Lee Masters
  • I have studied many times
  • The marble which was chiseled for me—
  • A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
  • In truth it pictures not my destination
  • 5 But my life.
  • For love was offered me…and I shrank from its
  • disillusionment:
  • Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid:
  • Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
  • Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
  • 10 And now I know that we must lift the sail
  • And catch the winds of destiny
  • Wherever they drive the boat.
  • To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness.
  • But life without meaning is the torture
  • 15 Of restless and vague desire—
  • It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

The earth keeps some vibration going

There in your heart, and that is you.

And if the people find you can fiddle,

Why fiddle you must, for all your life.

5 What do you see, a harvest of clover?

Or a meadow to walk through to the river?

The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands

For beeves hereafter ready for market;

or else you hear the rustle of skirts

10 Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.

To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust

Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;

They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy

Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”

15 How could I till my forty acres

Not to speak of getting more,

With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos

Stirred in my brain by crows and robins

And the creak of a windmill—only these?

20 And I never started to plow in my life

That someone did not stop in the road

And take me away to a dance or picnic.

I ended up with a broken fiddle—

25 And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,

And not a single regret.

“Fiddler Jones”

Edgar Lee Masters


Notes taken while rereading the poems


Fiddler Jones

George Gray






















don’t hide from life

take chances

live your life

meaning in life

use your talents


Back to


step one
Step One
  • Give your essay a title.

Two Poems from Spoon River Anthology

step two the plan
Step Two: The Plan

Things I might want to compare and or contrast-

  • Characters
  • Mood
  • Theme
  • Etc.
step three summary statement
Step Three: Summary Statement
  • State the genre, title, and author
  • Give the situation or background

The characters Fiddler Jones and George Gray speak from the grave in Edgar Lee Master’s poems about life and death.

step four what is your point thesis statement
Step Four- What is your point? Thesis Statement
  • Here, the point is to compare and contrast.
  • What will you compare and contrast?

literary elements, events, or beliefs

  • Although the characters and mood in “George Gray” and “Fiddler Jones” by Edgar Lee Masters are vastly different, the theme of living life to its fullest is present in both.
step 4 make a plan block it out
Step 4: Make a Plan-Block it Out

Thesis + Plan





step 5 make an informal outline jot
Step 5: Make an informal outline- JOT

Thesis + Plan



Use your notes

for examples,

elaborations, and

Embedded quotes.


Use your notes

for examples,

elaborations, and

Embedded quotes


Use your notes

for examples,

elaborations, and

Embedded quotes

Click below to

review notes

step 6 use transitions
Step 6: Use transitions
  • a similar, another, also, besides, like, likewise, resembles, comparable, similar to, comparison, differ, different, unlike, on the other hand, contrary, but, yet, opposite from, to contrast, dissimilar, different from, by comparison
step 7 plan a conclusion
Step 7: Plan a Conclusion
  • Remind the reader of your thesis
  • Repeat key information using synonyms
  • Nothing new



Call to action



steps 8 12
Steps 8-12

8. Write your first draft

9. Revise your draft

10. Edit your essay

11. Make a final draft

12. Proofread/ Publish/ Share


Two Poems from Spoon River Anthology

  • “George Gray” and “Fiddler Jones” by Edgar Lee Masters are characters who speak from the grave from the book of poems called Spoon River Anthology. The main characters Fiddler Jones and George Gray are very different. Like night and day, the mood in each poem is in total contrast . Although the characters and mood in both poems are vastly different, the theme of living life to its fullest is present in both.
  • Fiddler Jones is the polar opposite of George Gray. While Fiddler Jones is artistic and lighthearted, George Gray is filled with regret, fear, and sadness. While fiddler Jones ended up with “a thousand memories,” George Gray lived life “without meaning.” One character embraced the human experience and the other hid from it.
  • Similarly, the mood in each poem is at opposite ends of the light spectrum. Fiddler Jones reflects of his life in a light and playful manner. He remembers being taken away by friends to “dance and picnic.” George Gray’s tragic life is punctuated by darkness, missed chances, and regret. He remembers hiding from life because he was afraid.
  • Both characters arrive at the same conclusion when reflecting on their lives; a life lived without meaning is meaningless. Even though George Gray missed his chance to experience life while living, he now sees the error of his ways. Fiddler Jones lived and felt every joy life offered because he also allowed himself to experience life’s pain.
  • What are the steps for writing a compare/contrast essay?
  • What is the format for writing this type of essay?
  • Write your own compare and contrast essay.