“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” -Max Ehrmann
What is the Comparison essay? THE BASICS • A 4-6 paragraph essay discussing similar & different traits of two societies during a period of time. • Comparison essays require be able to actually describe the characteristics of 2 places
AP = Address the Prompt • Understanding the question & answer the question as asked is fundamental to success • Circle key words in the question: • Time frame • Topic • Region • Consider: • What time period is the question referencing? • What do I know about this time period? • What is the motive behind the question?
Example Questions • Compare two of the following early civilizations’ economic, political and social structures: • Mesopotamia Egypt Indus Valley Shang China • Compare the spread of Buddhism & Christianity during the classical age. • Compare the role of technology in Chinese and Mediterranean civilization. • Compare the administration of government in Han China and imperial Rome. • Compare how the First World War and its outcomes affected TWO of the following regions in the period from the war through the 1930’s: East Asia, Middle East, South Asia
Defining the Requirements The 3 obvious…
Defining the Requirements The 3 obvious… • Addressing both similarities & differences • Thesis statement • Using evidence to support the thesis • Analysis • Utilizing direct comparison • Analyzing why the similarity/difference exists
Required Element: Sim/Dif • Identify at least: • 1 accurate similarity & 1 accurate difference • Thesis does not count – must be in body • Remember differences, not just similarities: “compare” implies both
Required Element: Thesis • Restate location & time period boundaries • To build argument, focus on comparing ideas & trends • Should directly answer the question asked • Rather than describing societies separately, it will: • Name 2 concrete similarities & 1 concrete difference OR • Name 1 concrete similarity & 2 concrete differences • …similar in that both ___ • …differ in that ___ was ___, while ___ was ___.
Sample Thesis - WWI • In East Asia and South Asia, countries of those geographical areas changed internally and also had to suffer the blows of the Great Depression.
Sample Thesis - WWI • WWI instigated nationalistic movements and political changes in both the Middle East and South Asia.
Sample Thesis - WWI • Outcomes of the First World War affected the Middle East and South Asia through politics and economy as forms of nationalism arose in both regions, while the Middle East struggled against each other and South Asia struggled with each other against the British. Although nationalism was a the forefront of both regions, in economics the Middle East was affected more so than South Asia.
Required Element: Evidence • Give multiple, specific examples to support thesis claims (requires that you know history)
Defining the Requirements The 2 analytical… • Addressing both similarities & differences • Thesis statement • Using evidence to support the thesis • Analysis • Utilizing direct comparison • Analyzing why the similarity/difference exists
Required Element: Analysis Keep in mind that analysis is the why & how of an essay. Not “what happened,” but… “why __ happened” & “how __ happened” • Comparison essay requires two types of analysis • Direct comparison • Reason for similarity / difference
Required Element: Analysis 1 DIRECT COMPARISON • Use both societies in the same sentence to explain what is actuallysimilar or different about the facts • Rather than listing parallel facts & expecting the reader to see the comparisons, consistently illustrate the specific similarities and differences. • Need at least 1 accurate, specific direct comp • Thesis & topic sentences do not count –
Required Element: Analysis 2 REASON for SIM/DIF • Explain why similarity or difference from direct comp exists • _____ is similar because____. • Be careful to avoid presenting just another comparison • Seek fundamental, foundation reason. Think TED: • Technology & innovative ideas • Environment & geography • Diffusion & interaction of cultures • Need at least 1accurate, specific explanation
Rule of 3 • 3 controlling ideas in thesis • 3 body paragraphs • 3 facts per paragraph • 3 direct comparisons – 1 per paragraph • 3 reasons – 1 per paragraph