comparative analysis argumentation

Final Paper –Comparative Analysis Argumentation

Your task for the final essay is to write an academic essay in which you compare and/or contrast the ideas of two different texts engaged in the exploration of a common theme on identity. Evaluate their different perspectives, identify what you consider to be the crucial argument, and then develop an idea of your own that stems from the course themes.

(Essay length: approx. 1,200 -1,500+ words)

Consider the course description from the syllabus:

Identities and Metamorphosesexplores memory and the constructionofidentity, both personal and collective,within the human experience in relation to that of others and the world around us. The course investigates the personal and cultural conditions under which texts are produced, disseminated, and received. We will consider not only the personal and historical experiences that inform these works, but also the potential futures they imagine.We will focus on the following essential questions: How do we construct our identities? How is our identity a response to our context, society, and past? How do we negotiate the boundary between the inner, private self and the public self? How is our identity a response to our relationships?

What is the question of comparison you will address based on the themes of the course? Perhaps it is helpful to think of the essay in terms of a conversation or even a debate with the reader.

Helpful Steps:

STEP 1: Comparative Analysis Written Proposal – Two texts, Question, prewriting ideas, notes, a proposal topic.

STEP 2: Comparative Analysis Working Thesis, Introduction and Outline

STEP 3: Rough Draft – Mandatory Tutorial Window with draft: December 11th – 17th.


Final Comparative Analysis Paper, Process and ReflectionDue: Tuesday,Dec 18thby 10:00am No late papers will be accepted.


STEP 1: Prewriting and Prompt

1. Write a Prompt deciding what texts you will use in your final paper and prompt addressing the essential questions: How do we construct our identities? How is our identity a response to our context, society, and past? How do we negotiate the boundary between the inner, private self and the public self? How is our identity a response to our relationships? (This will become your working thesis.)

2. “Read” the two/three pieces again until you know what each is about quite well. Take notes what stands out for you as the reader, what patterns you see. Make clear each text’s purpose, audience, tone, point of view, diction, imagery and written context surrounding the text.Try and find make connections, examine similarities/differencesin how the texts are approach the themes of the course-identity.

3. Make detailed notes about the main ideas you will focus on, and what evidence (direct quotations or paraphrasing) from the texts will be used to support these points. You will still have a thesis for a comparative commentary that will be your main point of analysis. Think of a thesis based on your rough notes and the main theme or idea that is presented in thepieces.

3. Write your direction or focus – your beginning working thesis.

STEP 2: Thesis, Introduction and Outline

1. A thesis statementis a sentence that makes an assertion about a topic and predicts how the topic will be developed. It does not simply announce a topic: it sayssomething about the topic. It is focused and specific enough to be proven within the boundaries of the paper. Key words (nouns and verbs) should be specific, accurate, and indicative of the thrust of the argument or analysis, and the organization of supporting information.

Reminder – A thesis statement:

2. Introduction– What should your introduction promise?

Introductions represent a promise the writer makes to the reader. Your introduction should announce your paper’s topic and purpose situate that purpose in relation to what you’ve discussed in your course and offer your readers a preview of how you will satisfy that purpose.

The introduction:

  • Addresses a topic.
  • Announces what you are writing aboutto your readers.
  • Presents a claim, finding, or argument.
  • Contains the thesis statement – this is a promise that your paper is going to make a point, not just cover a topic.
  • Participates in a conversation.
  • Excites and engages your reader’s intellectual curiosity.

Ultimately, an introduction should seek to engage readers so that they will become invested in your writing. This means helping a reader already committed to your work and the subject to recognize what unique or exciting question your paper will address.

3. Create and Outline best suited to organize your paper. Use the method you need to organize your thought into body paragraph sections.


Body Paragraphs – Decide how best to organize the body of your paper.

  • In text-by-text, you discuss all of A, then all of B.
  • In point-by-point, you alternate points about A with comparable points about B.

Elements of a Paragraph . . .

1.Transition sentences: guide your reader smoothly from the topic of the preceding paragraph into the topic of your new paragraph. Writers sometimes begin with a transition sentence before introducing the topic of the new paragraph.

2. Topic sentences: state the main idea of a paragraph. Beginning a paragraph with a topic sentence ensures your reader recognizes early in the paragraph what larger idea the paragraph is going to demonstrate.

3.Body sentences: develop the topic of the paragraph. These sentences work to analyze quotations or paraphrased evidence, provide context, set up a comparison/contrast, showcase evidence, and sometimes they enumerate the logical points for readers to give them a sense of a paper’s bigger picture. Specific evidence and analysis that supports one of your claims and that provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence. In body sentences, you need to consider how much quoted evidence will demonstrate or prove your point and how much paraphrased evidence should be used –be prudent.

4.Concluding sentences: may bring a section to its end before you move on to a new section of the paper. It is a brief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. It connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.


In academic writing, a well-crafted conclusion can provide the final word on the value of your analysis. Effective conclusions take the paper beyond summary and demonstrate a further appreciation of the paper’s argument and its significance: why it works, why it is meaningful, and why it is valuable.

To get started, you might ask yourself these questions:

How do the ideas in your paper connect to what you have discussed in class, what new ideas have you added to the conversation? What ideas do you critique?

Conclusions show readers the value of your completely developed argument or thoroughly answered question. Consider the conclusion from the reader’s perspective. At the end of a paper, a reader wants to understand your reasoning, your argument an. They want to gain a different or new understanding and view on the texts read.

Rough Draft –Mandatory Tutorial Window: December 11th – 17th. Complete the draft complete so you may use the time and the tutorial wisely to revise your essay.

REVISE, REVISE, EDIT, EDIT. If this is your final paper, you should be revising your draft more than once before submission.

Final Comparative Analysis Paper, Process and ReflectionDue: Tuesday,Dec 18thby 10:00am (no exceptions)Relax! You are done!

Texts Possible for Comparative Analysis

  • David Calverley-Morris, “People Weren’t Ready for Us”
  • Leo Tolstoy, “What is Art?”
  • Terry Tempest Williams, “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness”
  • Rudi Fuchs, “Victory Over Decay”
  • Philip Kennicott, “How to View Art: Be Dead Serious about It, but Don’t Expect Too Much”
  • Ahmed Mater’s discussion of his work, Magnetism
  • Linda Komararoff’s essay, “Illuminations”
  • Art Pieces and Museums as text seen on course academic study trips
  • Fatema Mernissi, “Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem”
  • Alice Walker, “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self”
  • Joan Didion, “In Bed”
  • Kaustav Dey: “How Can Fashion Shape Identity?”
  • Rebecca Solnit, “Apricots”
  • Judith Newman, “To Siri, with Love: How One Boy with Autism Became BFF with Apple’s Siri”
  • Andrew Soloman, “Can Your Child’s Identity Shape Yours?”
  • Amy Tan, “Confessions” and “Mother Tongue”
  • Natasha Trethewey, “Flounder” and“White Lies”
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night
  • Nikki Giovanni, “Mothers”
  • Amy Mullins, “The Opportunity of Adversity” and “My Twelve Pairs of Legs”
  • Christine Leong, “Being a Chink”
  • Gloria Naylor, “Mommy, What Does ‘Nigger’ Mean”
  • Brent Staples, “Black Man Ponders and Public Space”
  • Zora Neale Hurston, “How it Feels to be Colored Me”
  • Robin D. G. Kelly, “The People in Me”
  • Richard Rodriguez, “The Chinese in All of Us”
  • Boyd Varty: What Wisdom Can We Gain from Nature?

***Any text from the semester can be used as one of the texts to enhance and sophisticate your argument or perhaps as the third text in the paper***


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