Expository Writing Essays of Comparison and/or Contrast
INTRODUCTION • Begins with a “hook.” • Good hooks include a rhetorical question, relevant quote, anecdote (short, short story), surprising/shocking fact or example. • Sentences following hook must somehow relate to hook (in other words, the hook cannot stand alone.) • In literary analysis, book/story and its author should be mentioned in intro.
Intro. Continued • Introduction should capture your reader’s interest, give relevant background information, mention title and author (if applicable), and delineate nicely to your thesis.
Thesis Statement • Perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT part of your essay. • For most high-school length essays it should be ONE SENTENCE. • Will be the last sentence of your introduction. • Must state your primary arguments/ideas in the order in which they will appear in the essay.
Body Paragraphs • Follow the order/organizational pattern that was established in your thesis. • Generally speaking, you will have one body paragraph for each main idea/point of discussion that was included in your thesis statement. • This is where you support your thesis! This is where you give facts, examples, statistics, and other information that demonstrate what you said is in fact valid.
Body Paragraphs • Include examples, statistics (if applicable) and facts/data – cite when necessary: Direct Quotes Paraphrases Summaries • Description (depending on the type/purpose of essay)
Body Paragraphs • Must include adequate evidence to support the argument you are trying to make. Evidence, Evidence, Evidence! Cite it, Cite it, Cite it • Must have strong transitions, unity, coherence, ONE consistent point of view, ONE consistent verb tense, and maintain a formal tone with formal language (no contractions, colloquialisms, etc.)
Body Paragraphs • Topic Sentence • Evidence… presented with citations, strong transitions, etc. Reads like a paragraph, not like a list. • Concluding sentence (s). Wrap up the paragraph by making sure you have made it clear how your evidence supports your thesis AND transition smoothly into the next paragraph.
Conclusion • Summarizes your findings… wraps things up. • Do not introduce NEW ideas. • Refers back to your thesis. • Ends with a bang! Write an end hook!
Expository Writing • Aims to inform or explain. • TYPES – research paper, compare-contrast, book report, etc. • Compare/contrast writing – looks at the similarities and differences, or advantages and disadvantages, or only similarities or only differences between two subjects/pieces of literature/topics.
Compare and/or Contrast Writing • Purpose – to inform, to look at similarities and/or differences. • Audience – often a teacher, but could be anyone who is interested in your topic. • Form – Often an essay (in this case, it will be a 4, 5 or 6 paragraph essay), could be a letter • Subject – Any two things that can be compared and contrasted. Characters, themes, plots, settings, two pieces of literature, you name it!
Compare/Contrast Writing – Starting Point • Gather information. • Decide if you are ONLY comparing, ONLY contrasting or comparing AND contrasting! • List information in a way that works for you. • Classify this information into groups…
Identify your major points. Your major points are the ones that you will write an entire paragraph about. In other words, they have to be broad enough that you can write at least FIVE good sentences examining the similarities and/or differences between the two subjects for that ONE point. Choose points for which you can find and cite solid support/evidence!
Organize! • Organize your thoughts. Organize your evidence! What type of order will you use? Chronological – order in which things happen in time? • Logical? Familiarity? • A general rule is save your best, strongest, most compelling argument (or comparison/contrast) for last!
EXAMPLE – Comparing/Contrasting 2 eating establishments! • Diners have many choices when it comes to Italian food in the Akron area. Two fine choices are The Olive Garden and Carrabbas; these two restaurants have unique settings, fine service, and, most importantly, menus that offer a variety of options.
Methods of Compare/Contrast Organization There are two accepted ways to organize a compare contrast essay. • Subject by subject or AABB This is when you discuss each SUBJECT in turn. For example, The Olive Garden would be subject A and Carrabbas would be subject B.
Identify your points of discussion (your features). According to the thesis statement they are atmosphere/setting, service, and food. • For SUBJECT BY SUBJECT organization, you discuss each subject by itself, in its own paragraph, discussing each of the features identified in your thesis. (So Subject A, then Subject B, thus the AABB)
In Other Words…… • In your first body paragraph, you would ONLY discuss The Olive Garden, which is subject A. You would discuss each of the features (setting, service, food) as they relate to The Olive Garden in one or two paragraphs (whatever it takes!) Then you would start new paragraphs and discuss ONLY subject B, Carrabbas.
Then….. • In your conclusion, you would discuss both restaurants and your findings. • The point is, in the body paragraphs, you only discuss one restaurant per paragraph.
In relation to the Odyssey • If you were comparing Odysseus to his son, you would discuss ONLY Odysseus’ traits in the first 1- 2 body paragraphs, THEN you would discuss these exact same traits as applied to Telemachus in 1-2 body paragraphs (the same number of paragraphs you had for Odysseus!)
ABAB OrganizationFeature by Feature • In ABAB organization, Subject A is still The Olive Garden and Subject B is still Carrabbas. You still have the same three features, the difference is, each paragraph is about ONE feature, and each paragraph discusses both subjects (restaurants).
So…… • Body Paragraph #1 will examine the similarities and differences between the settings of BOTH restaurants. • Body Paragraph #2 will examine the similarities and differences between the service in both restaurants. • Body Paragraph #3 will examine the similarities and differences in the food.
Choosing your method of organization • ABAB (feature by feature) will ultimately result in a 5 paragraph essay. • AABB (subject by subject) will ultimately result in an essay of 4 OR 6 paragraphs. You will either write 2 paragraphs on each subject or 1 paragraph on each subject. Keep in mind, I’m ok with only 4 paragraphs, but they need to be VERY good paragraphs that present equally as compelling evidence and arguments as a 5 or 6 paragraph essay!
Conclusion Your last paragraph is your conclusion. • IT MUST: • Restate your main ideas • Summarize what you have said • Leave your reader with a good taste in his/her mouth • In the case of AABB writing, it can draw some conclusions.
In other words, make your last sentence something memorable! It is the last thing your reader will read, and perhaps, the last thing he/she will remember!
Summary of Notes • Introduction a. Hook b. Information about the stories that leads to your thesis c. Thesis
II. Body Paragraphs a. Topic sentence b. 4 – 6 supporting sentences with citations c. Concluding sentence NOTE – Use ABAB (feature by feature organization)
Conclusion a. Topic sentence b. 3-5 sentences summarizing your findings c. End hook – leave your reader with a good taste in his/her mouth
Important Reminders • Thesis MUST indicate the order in which you will present your ideas. • You may choose your type of organization. • Use good transitions between sentences and between paragraphs. • Use THIRD PERSON point of view.
Using information from the Odyssey (Citations and Works Cited) • Your essay MUST include information from the text. You will probably have to paraphrase and/or summarize what you read and use it as support. You are required to use Quotes from the story to help support your arguments. • Summaries, paraphrases and quotes must ALWAYS be correctly cited. • Will be discussing this more in the coming days!
Works Cited Page • This is where you tell your reader about your resources. • We use the MLA style of citation (Modern Language Association) • THIS IS MANDATORY; OTHERWISE, YOU HAVE COMMITTED AN ACT OF PLAGIARISM EVERY TIME YOU DIRECTLY QUOTE, PARAPHRASE, OR SUMMARIZE A SOURCE.
Works Cited Page • You can buy the MLA Handbook for this info. • You can use Noodletools.com through Hoban’s website… it will put your Works Cited page into MLA format so long as you have all the required source information.
Works Cited Page • Page is titled – Works Cited • Each entry is NOT numbered, NOT bulleted • Sources presented in Alphabetical order based on first word of entry. • The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. lines of each entry are indented 5 spaces (but the first line is NOT!) • Each entry ends in a period. • It is the last page of your paper.
Parenthetical References • These are words that go in parentheses that appear right after directly quoted, paraphrased or summarized material. • The word that goes in the parentheses will match the FIRST word listed for the source in your works cited page (usually the author’s last name). • If it is not an online source, you will also list a page number.
Parenthetical Reference - example Telemachus shows compassion in understanding his mother’s grief. “She’ll never stop her bitter tears and mourning, well I know, till she sees me face-to-face” (Homer 354). NOTE: parenthesis goes after end quote; there is NO punctuation after the author’s last name, only a space, then the page number; the end punctuation for the entire line comes AFTER the end parenthesis (period is moved from after to face to after end parenthesis.)