second essay assignment

Essay #2: Compare/Contrast


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Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing. To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay, therefore, looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and their differences. This writing mode is often used in college where you need to express your understanding of concepts by comparing and contrasting two theories, methods, constructs, etc. For the second essay assignment, you will practice the organizational skills involved in this writing mode, as well as the critical thinking that results from re-imagining a concept by relating it to other concepts.


Write a 4-5 page essay in which you compare and contrast two items from Born a Crime. To write this essay, you will need to identify the specific criteria you are using to compare/contrast. Start by focusing on one topic from the list below*:

Policy. Contrast the goal(s) of the apartheid state’s racial policies with the actual hybridity found in South African society/culture.
Identity. How did colonialism and institutionalized racism affect the identity development of coloreds and black South Africans? Compare/contrast their differences and similarities.
Gender. Throughout the book, we see evidence of gender oppression in South African society. Trevor’s mother, Patricia, could not wholly break free from the cultural yoke. Compare/contrast Patricia’s experiences as a woman in South Africa with those of American women.
Parenting. Compare/contrast Patricia Noah’s parenting style with that of the modal black parent in black townships such as Soweto.
Intergenerational mobility. Why was Trevor Noah able to eventually leave Alexandra (or, the townships) and obtain professional success while many of his Alex friends could not? Compare/contrast Noah’s background and resources with those of the cheese boys, and explain what those differences meant for their transition into adulthood.
Once you choose a topic, you will identify the specific criteria within that broad topic for comparing/contrasting. Next, choose an organizational plan (see pg 2).


In writing this essay, you should draw from the following:

— Discussion Forum

— Reading journals

— Feedback on your writing

Make sure you:

— stay within the bounds of your topic and create a specific & arguable thesis within that

broader topic

— demonstrate your reading analysis skills by writing thoughtfully about the topic and by

using a range of chapters. *Do not just use a few chapters from the beginning of the book—

I will think you have not read the entire book.

*There are, of course, other topics from Born a Crime that you can write about. For instance, an interesting research/writing project would investigate the differences between how countries like Germany, South Africa, and the U.S. have dealt with their racial histories, and the resulting consequences for each society. But, I put on the list topics that can be managed in the very short

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