word “ compare ” H u m a n i t i e s
Essay Topic: Compare Willy Loman with one of his sons, Biff and Happy. Your comparative essay should not only compare (show similarities) but also contrast the two characters, addressing both similarities and differences of the characters. (When I use the word “compare” in this assignment, I am talking about showing both similarities and differences.)
To get started, follow these three steps:
Step 1: Identify the basis of comparison. In other words, what aspect of the characters will you compare?
- Attitudes towards money, success, work, or the American Dream
- Their importance they place on appearance instead of reality.
- Morality, such as being an honest person who does not lie, deceive, manipulate, steal, or cheat. Or consider their ability to be selfless and put other people’s needs above their own.
- Self-knowledge, how well do they understand themselves, their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Family values: attitude towards being settling down, being married and having children, relationships with family members
Step 2: Create a List of Similarities and Differences
Carefully examine the characters for similarities and difference using the criteria you identified in step 1.
Step 3: Write a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is the writer’s educated opinion that can be defended. For a comparative essay, your thesis statement should assert why the similarities and differences between the characters matter. Important note: The thesis statement should not merely tell what the similarities and differences are; the thesis statement should state why they are important; for example, what is learned from the comparison? Or how can the characters or the play be better understood because of the comparison of the characters?
After you write a tentative thesis, you can prepare your outline. Think of reasons why your thesis is true. Those reasons will become your topic sentences. You will then need to find textual evidence, direct quotes from the play, that show that the topic sentences are true. In your essay, you will give the quotes and immediately following each one, you will explain why those quotes support the topic sentence. For your outline, though, all you need to do is summarize with a key word or phrase what the detail is. It just needs to be something that you will recognize and know what quote you have in mind. (After all, the outline is a tool to help you.) Your outline will also give a concluding sentence that summarizes how you will develop your concluding paragraph. To come up with this sentence, consider playing the “so what” game and freewriting different answers about what is important about your thesis.
After the outline is completed, you will be ready to participate in this week’s discussion and learn more by giving and receiving feedback to and from others.