I have to write a 5 paragraph comparison and contrast essay on Agamemnon, Hamlet, and The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. When writing this, do I compare all three stories at once in each paragraph as well as their differences in each of the 3 body paragraphs?

asked by Liz
  1. You can organize like that, but you'll have a very difficult time writing a smooth, clearly reasoned paper. Try this ...

    Whenever you are writing a comparison/contrast paper (paragraph, essay, research paper), you need to plan it out very carefully on paper first.

    Try this:

    1. Write all the information about Agamemnon on one page.
    2. Write all the information about Hamlet on another page.
    3. Write all the information about "The Love Song ... " on a third page.
    4. Then put them together in this order:

    1. Intro
    2. All about Agamemnon
    ~~~2A. detail 1
    ~~~2B. detail 2
    ~~~2C. detail 3
    ~~~2D. detail 4
    ~~~2E. detail 5
    3. All about Hamlet
    ~~~3A. detail 1
    ~~~3B. detail 2
    ~~~3C. detail 3
    ~~~3D. detail 4
    ~~~3E. detail 5
    4. All about "The Love Song ... "
    ~~~3A. detail 1
    ~~~3B. detail 2
    ~~~3C. detail 3
    ~~~3D. detail 4
    ~~~3E. detail 5
    5. Concl.

    The number of details for each topic will vary depending on your main points. Each detail for each topic needs to be contrastable with each corresponding detail for the other topics. You won't be writing about every little thing in each work ... just the major, contrastable points in each.

    I would include comparisons (how they are similar) in the introduction and conclusion, but sections 2, 3, and 4 and all those details will be stating and explaining how these works are different.

    Or you could plan it in reverse if there are fewer contrastable elements than comparable elements. That is, put the contrastable elements in the intro and conclusion, but put all the comparable elements in the 3 body paragraphs.

    There are two recognized patterns for writing comparison/contrast papers. One is casually referred to as "zig-zag,” also known as "point by point," but this can be very confusing for the reader if you don’t use transitions effectively. The other is topic-by-topic (which is what I've outlined above) and is much easier for the reader to follow.

    See http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/comparcontrast.html for further help with comparison/contrast writing.

    Once you have organized your information, please re-post if you’d like feedback from someone here.

    posted by Writeacher

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