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compare and contrast essay, help sample please?


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Hello All,

 Does anyone know where I can find an example of a compare and contrast essay? Or would someone be willing to share their child's paper? I am trying to find an example for my 9th grader and am having a hard time finding anything that is a fairly simple essay.


Thanks so much!

Debbie

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I'm working on compare and contrast essays with my daughter at the moment.

These links are helpful. They give some general info and help with planning and structuring. The second one has a simple example, I think.

https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/comparing-and-contrasting/

https://www.eapfoundation.com/writing/essays/candc/

 

My daughter is comparing democracy and communism at the moment, but is still in the research phase, so I don't have anything of hers to share just yet.

 

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  • 4 months later...

@dovrar I'm sorry, I forgot about this thread. Are you still looking for examples of compare and contrast essays? 

@Farrar Would you be able to give some feedback on this please? And anyone else who would like to chime in? All feedback is appreciated.

My daughter is 13 and this is her first attempt at literary analysis. I'm not terribly confident in this area, so some honest but gentle feedback would be helpful 🙂 

(Some of the formatting looks a bit odd when it's copied to here.)

 

 

 

Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 depicted a world in which knowledge is censored, and followed Guy Montag's journey from being the burner of books to trying to save them. Guy Montag, a “fireman” who burns censored books, met Clarisse McClellan, who made him question everything, eventually resulting in Montag reading books and then trying to save them. Meanwhile throughout the book, Montag's wife, Mildred, lived a life watching the walls—TVs with meaningless entertainment—, and talking with the family—fictional people on these walls. This essay will compare and contrast the characters of Clarisse and Mildred, with attention to the fact that both Clarisse and Mildred influenced Montag, even though they were polar opposites in personality.

 

Clarisse and Mildred’s relationships to Montag differed wildly. Even though he knew Clarisse for only a week, Clarisse made a big impact on Montag, and his views on life. Bradbury depicts on page 19: “How long had they walked walked together? Three minutes? Five? Yet how large that time seemed now.” On the other hand, Montag had been married to Mildred for ten years, and yet realised that she was like a stranger to him. “And he remembered thinking then that if she died, he was certain he wouldn't cry. For it would be the dying if an unknown, a street face, a newspaper image.” (pg 59). Interestingly though, a similarity between these women is that at some point in his life, both Clarisse and Mildred captured Montag’s attention, both impacting him in one way or another.

 

Clarisse and Mildred acted as catalysts towards Montag, though in different ways. Clarisse showed what was and what could be, while Mildred was a constant reminder of the world Montag is living in. Even from the first time they met (pg 19), Clarisse prompted him to question his happiness and wonder about what life used to be. Mildred, in contrast, was a daily reminder of the society they lived in. Bradbury described her appearance on page 65 as  “..hair burnt by chemicals to a brittle straw…..the body as thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like whit bacon.” This depiction demonstrates the standards of beauty of their society. Additionally, Mildred's love of the “family” and the walls represented what “living” in the society's like. These frequent reminders affected Montag, and fueled his desire to change the way of life.

 

Bradbury used fire and water symbolism throughout the novel to describe Clarisse and Mildred. When Montag first met Clarisse, her eyes were described as “two shining drops of bright water” (pg 14). Interestingly, Mildred’s eyes were described on page 21 as “Two pale moonstones buried in a creek of clear water over which the life of the world ran, not touching them.” Bradbury using water as symbolism for living in relation to Mildred, since Clarisse is also symbolised by water, reinforces the fact that Clarisse is used to represent life. Additionally, while in this passage the phrase “a creek of clear water over which the life of the world ran, not touching them” is used to show that Mildred overdosed, it can also be used to represent Mildred, and in turn the society they lived in as a whole. Mildred and her friends, in contrast, were described as having “..sun fired hair..” and “..blazing fingernails…”(pg 124). Fire being used as a symbol for destruction is quite prevalent throughout the book and was used to describe the people of their society. It was also used in a more literal sense in Montag’s line of work. Bradbury’s use of fire and water depicts the opposing impacts that Clarisse and Mildred had on Montag's existence.

 

In addition to fire and water, Bradbury used symbolism of a mirror throughout the book for both Clarisse and Mildred. After meeting Clarisse for the first time, Montag described her as “..like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know that refracted your own light to you?” (Pg 18). Clarisse acted like a mirror for Montag, making him see himself and the world for what it was. When the bomb struck the city, however, a mirror was used in relation to Mildred. “..he saw or felt the walls go dark in Millie’s face, heard her screaming because in the millionth part of time left, she saw her own face reflected there, in a mirror instead of a crystal ball, and it was such a wildly empty face, all by itself in the room, touching nothing, starved and eating of itself that at last she recognised as her own.” (pg 204). Throughout the book, Mildred’s character is used as a mirror of the society and Clarisse's to represent Montag's desire.

 

Clarisse and Mildred led very different lives, and their states of mind were opposite. Clarisse opposed the norms of their society and wanted to know “why” things are. Clarisse’s family too, didn't live by the standards of their society, shown by Clarisse's constant mention of her uncle in addition to Beatty’s mention that they had a record on her family (pg 79). Mildred, in contrast, lived the life that the society intends people to lead, spending her life in front of the walls. Her insisting of a fourth wall summarised her state of mind in few words. “‘How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth wall-TV put in? It's only two thousand dollars.’

‘That's one-third of my yearly pay.’

‘It's only two thousand dollars.’ She replied. ‘And I should think you'd consider me sometimes. If we had a fourth wall, why it'd be just like this room wasn't ours at all, but all kinds of exotic people's rooms. We could do without a few things.’

We're already doing without a few things to pay for the third wall. It was put in only two months ago, remember?’

‘Is that all it was?’ She sat looking at him for a long moment.”

Clarisse and Mildred had opposite states of mind, showing Montag what the state of mind of the people of their society is like and then the state of mind they could have.

 

Mildred’s values and view on books were the opposite to that of Clarisse. Mildred spent her days watching the walls, talking with her “family” and driving the Beatle. When Montag revealed the contraband books he’d been hiding in their house, Mildred was appalled. “Mildred backed away as if she were suddenly confronted by a pack of mice that had come up out of the floor.” (Pg 86). She continued to be against the books, not understanding and not trying to understand the books Montag reads. She eventually reported the books to the authorities and, when running away, expressed concern only for the “family”. Clarisse, on the other hand, spent her days thinking. She despised what passed for education at her school, and wondered what things used to be like.

Beatty also mentioned when talking to Montag that there had been false alarms on Clarisse’s family, though no books were ever found (79). The stark difference between the characters was pivotal in Montag's life and ultimately resulted in his intent to fight for change.

 

A similarity between Clarisse and Mildred is that they were both casualties of their society. In many ways, though, Mildred was more of a casualty of their society than Clarisse. At the start of the book, she overdosed on sleeping pills. The next day, Mildred acted like it never happened, leaving it unknown whether it was intentional or not. Mildred then continued to spend her days in front of the walls, watching and talking with the “family”. She ended up informing the firefighters of the books in their house and ran away, dying when an atomic bomb fell on the city. Mildred suffering in their society expresses that the people of their society also suffered. In contrast, Clarisse spent her life not conforming to the society’s norms, though died because of them. It is not entirely clear how Clarisse died. Mildred told Montag that she was run over. However, when Montag talked with Beatty, regarding Clarisse, Beatty told him “‘We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early.’” implying that her death may have been on purpose, though it's never confirmed.

 

It is clear that both Clarisse and Mildred influenced Montag, even though they were polar opposites in personality. Bradbury's use of both conflicting symbolism and characters, in addition to Montag's contrasting relationships with Clarisse and Mildred, shows both the impact they had on Montag's character, and the harsh society they lived in, versus the knowledge-filled world it once was.

 

 

Reference:

Bradbury, R. (1953). Fahrenheit 451. London: Harper Collins.

 

 

Edited by chocolate-chip chooky
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The literary analysis here is really on point. It's great. She has lots of good insights into their characters and roles in the story. The way that she brings out the metaphors is great. The structure of how she lays them out is solid. She chooses good quotes to support her points. She clearly gets the book and the characters. She also clearly gets the basic thesis paper format - intro, conclusion, topic sentences, all good. Overall, great job on the literary analysis.

The biggest issue is probably the thesis. The thesis doesn't have a bold stance. "This paper is about..." or "In this paper, I will show..." or other such thesis statement beginnings are not something I personally recommend. They have a younger, less polished feel. In this case, it means she never really says anything here. Essentially this thesis is... I'm going to compare Clarisse and Mildred and pay attention to their differences and roles in the story. That's vague. I think it could potentially be the basis for a thesis statement, but it would need to be reframed as a real statement. In this, she's just saying that the paper will pay attention to their differences. That's different from saying something like, say... "The two women of Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse and Mildred, are two of the most different characters in the text, but also two of the most influential on Montag." Or something like that. 

The writing is pretty good. There are some awkward sentences. Take the first paragraph. The second sentence is okay, but feels rambly. The third sentence is a real mess. I actually just had to look up whether you're even allowed to have a comma after an em dash. I couldn't find a definitive answer, but really, it just looks deeply wrong to me. Plus, the sentence is just awkward and needs to be reworked anyway. The thesis statement is okay as a sentence, but the two clauses one right after another feel slightly stilted to me. Overall, I think it could just benefit from a once through. Maybe read it aloud?

I would also say that her citations approach is a little odd. I'd take out the places where the page number is stated as part of the sentence and instead just cite those pages parenthetically. She has a couple of places where quotes are punctuated as phrases but really should be quotes. It's really a minor thing - kids don't know this stuff. None of it is natural because it's not like kids are reading tons of school style academic works to see it done and imitate. It just needs a once through on the citations and punctuation involved in them.

Really, overall, a good paper. Amazing that it's her first stab at literary analysis.

.

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Thank you, Farrar. You're a gem 🌻

So, this was her thesis:

This essay will compare and contrast the characters of Clarisse and Mildred, with attention to the fact that both Clarisse and Mildred influenced Montag, even though they were polar opposites in personality.

Do you think it's unnecessary to say that the paper will compare and contrast? Is that what you mean when you say it seems young/unpolished and a bit vague?

I like your clear, bold statement. We'll have to work on creating theses like that.

Farrar, thank you so much for taking the time to read it and give such thorough feedback. This is really appreciated and every bit of feedback is being taken on board.

 

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36 minutes ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

Thank you, Farrar. You're a gem 🌻

So, this was her thesis:

This essay will compare and contrast the characters of Clarisse and Mildred, with attention to the fact that both Clarisse and Mildred influenced Montag, even though they were polar opposites in personality.

Do you think it's unnecessary to say that the paper will compare and contrast? Is that what you mean when you say it seems young/unpolished and a bit vague?

I like your clear, bold statement. We'll have to work on creating theses like that.

Farrar, thank you so much for taking the time to read it and give such thorough feedback. This is really appreciated and every bit of feedback is being taken on board.

 

I understood that that was the thesis. I just didn't think it was a strong thesis. The whole "the thesis should be a BOLD STATEMENT!" line does make me roll my eyes a bit sometimes when it see it in persuasive essay materials. I mean, in a lit analysis or an historical analysis type paper, sometimes a student is writing about something rather subtle. Not every thesis is "The death penalty is a moral affront to humanity!" But, within the context of the sort of paper it is, the thesis should be a bit bold and clearly a statement that will be justified by the facts and arguments.

When you begin by saying your paper is going to compare or explore or something along those lines... then you're sort of undermining the boldness and clarity of the statement itself. So, yes, that's what I mean when I say it sounds young or unpolished. Instead of saying what you intend to discuss you try to put a little sign on your thesis in case someone misses it, which isn't great because it assumes someone might miss it. Or it sounds like a formula, and not a very good one. Only a small step above, "My thesis is that..." And it can sound like the thesis is going to argue that the paper is comparing two things. Think about the central part of the sentence. The main sentence is about the purpose of the paper, not about the role of the women in the story. But she's not trying to argue about what her paper will or won't do. Instead, she argues that the two characters are almost opposites as people but serve a similar role in the narrative. She doesn't argue that... they're being compared, so sentence should make that clear. Does that make sense?

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  • 8 months later...
On 3/13/2019 at 9:19 PM, dovrar said:

Hello All,

 Does anyone know where I can find an example of a compare and contrast essay? Or would someone be willing to share their child's paper? I am trying to find an example for my 9th grader and am having a hard time finding anything that is a fairly simple essay.


Thanks so much!

Debbie

This usually helps me too, I’m looking for examples of work on the same topic and read it. It helps to find new ideas and inspiration. I use various free sources like this one, for example https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/costco/ I see no reason to pay for it, the freely available information is quite enough. After reading a few works with the opinions of other guys, I get fresh ideas for writing my composition and the result is always not bad.

Wish you good luck

Raymond
 

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On 8/17/2020 at 12:47 AM, Raymond876 said:

Examples always help me write. After reading several works on the topic I need, I can find new ideas and inspiration. After which I can easily finish my work

 

That's a great tip actually. I was always bad at writing but this method helped. Just read as many essays on a similar topic as you can. Then it will be much easier to write your own. If nothing helps, I think it's a good idea to apply to a writing service. In order to choose the best one, read reviews on stressays website.

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