Comparative Analysis Essay

ENGLISH 1C – Section 63 – Spring 2020
Essay 3 (300 points / 30%)

Introduction: This 1,700 word essay asks you to create a conversation between two texts, Horace Walple’s The Castle of Otranto and the Robert Louis Stevenson The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Consider how you build up your essay by engaging the two novels in a dialogue on their themes, concepts and textual patterns. When writing a comparative analysis, you need to keep in mind your grounds for comparison, and the relationship between the two novels you are comparing.

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Grounds for comparison: This is the context within which you place the two things you plan to compare and contrast. The frame of reference may consist of an idea, theme, question, problem, or theory, based on which you conduct your comparison. The rationale behind your choice, lets your reader know why your choice is deliberate, meaningful and significant, not random.

Thesis: The grounds for comparison anticipate the comparative nature of your thesis. As in any argumentative paper, your thesis statement will convey the gist of your argument. But in a compare-and-contrast, the thesis depends on how the two things you’ve chosen to compare actually relate to one another. Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another? Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between the two novels clear in your thesis. Be sure to relate all links between the novels back to the thesis.

Other Instructions: Keep in mind you are writing an essay that is analytical and persuasive; you need to take a position and argue a point of view, not merely summarize a text without offering evidence to support your own argument (an original position/opinion) about its meaning or significance. Evidence comes from the text itself. Please remember that grammatical, coherent writing is the minimum requirement for a passing grade; points will be deducted from essays that are incoherent and make significant numbers of grammatical errors.

Research: Papers need to reference at least 4 secondary sources besides the book you are discussing. There are many articles and even books devoted to the novel, but you do not need to use research material directly related to your book. The material can be about similar thematic, social or cultural topics. You don’t need to find material that is directly related to the text.

Accurately describe your argument in a clear thesis sentence.
Signal each topic and give a clear indication of how the paper will proceed.
Locate evidence (directly from the text) to smoothly integrate into each body paragraph.
Analyze this evidence in order to show how it illustrates your arguments.
Present a strong overall argument and conclusion using active verbs and avoiding vagueness.
Use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next and is thoroughly edited so that sentences are readable and appropriate for an academic paper.
Include new terms introduced in class, as well as a working knowledge of how to apply them to the text.
Use correct MLA format, including size 12 Times New Roman font, 1” margins, internal citations (Stevenson 89) and correct pagination/headers. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with MLA format.
Length: At least 1,700 words.
Outside Research: At least 4 secondary sources about the novel or about the issues you write about.
Deadline: 23:59, 06/06/2020 (Saturday of Week 10). No delay is allowed.

Useful and Important Arguing about Literature Readings/Resources:
“The Elements of Argument” – Evidence (p. 7)
“Strategies for Arguing about Literature” (pp.54-61)
Chapter 4 – “The Reading Process” (pp. 88-109)
The examples in “applying the strategies” (pp.93-97) are especially helpful as models for how to close read.
“Strategies for Composing” (pp. 124-132)
The section titled “Limit Plot Summary” (126-127) is particularly important to keep in mind for this essay.
“MLA In-Text Citation” (pp. 218-219)
Sample student essay (pp. 66-69). Use as a general guide, but be sure to adhere to the specific composition rules for this class (refer to the “Writing Mechanics” PowerPoint on iLearn under “Course Materials). For instance, you should not include quotations in your introduction as this author does.

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