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Instructions for Compare/Contrast Essay Instructor: Elizabeth Lenherr Due Date: 16 April 2012

During this section course of the semester we have been learning various ways to read and interpret or analyze literature in the form of media/films. Compare/contrast papers are a more intense version of a literary analysis paper. The same guidelines apply: ANALYZE dont SUMMARIZE! Both literary analysis papers and compare/contrast papers have the same goal of providing further insight into the text/s, or in this case, the film/s. While literary analysis papers focus on exploring specific elements of one piece of work, compare/contrast papers must explore the elements of two different pieces of work and competently and relevantly draw similarities and differences in the ways that those elements are presented in the pieces being explored. Keeping this in mind, you are responsible for producing a well-written and thought out paper using the comparison and contrast techniques as a way of convincing your reader to view the films from a particular point of view. For this paper, you are required to compare and contrast two pieces of work from the following list:

1. 2. 3. 4.

HBO Series Dexter: Pilot episode Bus 44 The Boondock Saints Death Note

Links to all of the above films/tv can be found on our class blog. Remember that you are comparing and contrasting two of these films/tv focusing on particular elements not plots. Your paper must include the titles (and year released) of the two pieces you are comparing and contrasting in the introduction paragraph, as well as a clearly stated goal or objective (thesis statement). Your thesis statement must include which elements you plan to explore, and more importantly why? Any claim in the paper must be supported with facts from the film/tv and facts from the film/tv must be properly cited and referenced. Failure to properly cite and reference the films/tv you are exploring in your essay will result in an F. In addition, you MUST include at least 2 forms of evidence: one source from either the JSTOR database (we learned about this in the required library orientation) or Google Scholar, and one other source from a valid website, encyclopedia, journal and/or database article. Be sure to visit the Purdue Owl website to check for proper citations of these types of sources.

THE STRUCTURE OF A COMPARE/CONTRAST ESSAY In addition to the typical essay requirements of the course, you may choose one of these structures to follow for your paper. Analytic Structure: This structure is based on identifying individual components so they can be easier to compare and contrast later. The structure is as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Part 1: Intro paragraph: include titles of both pieces you are exploring and valid thorough thesis statement Part 2: Discussion and analysis of the literary element in media #1 Part 3: Discussion and analysis of the literary element in media #2 Part 4: Comparison and contrast of the elements of both media #1 and media #2 Part 5: Conclusion: sums up everything mentioned in your paper without bringing up new information

Readapted from Matos 2011

Synthetic Structure: This structure consists of directly delving into the comparison and contrast of both literary texts in order to directly highlight differences and similarities. This structure is as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Part 1: Intro paragraph: include titles of both pieces you are exploring and valid thorough thesis statement Part 2: Comparison (the similarities) of literary element in media #1 and media #2 Part 3: Contrast (the differences) of literary element in media #1 and media #2 Part 4: Revelations and insights of the comparison and contrast Part 5: Conclusion: sums up everything mentioned in your paper without bringing up new information

Further Instructions After selecting the media you would like to analyze, you will write a compare/contrast paper consisting of 700-1000 words (ideally 3-4 pages in MLA format plus a Works Cited page). It is required that you use at least two (2) outside sources for this paper in addition to the two media you will be discussing. The paper must incorporate at least two quotes or paraphrases from the films/tv discussed in the topic as evidence to the claims made in the paper, and at least one quote or paraphrase from each of your two outside sources. The final draft of the paper will be evaluated according to the rubric that is attached to this document. All papers must be printed out, stapled, and turned in before the established due date. Electronic versions of the paper sent through email, as well as papers with cover sheets, colored paper, or stickers, will not be accepted.

Important Details to Keep in Mind Expectations and word count are higher for this paper than the first. As the semester progresses, I want to see evidence that your skills are becoming stronger. The key to successful comparison/contrast is balance. Do not give more emphasis to one primary media and disregard the other media you are comparing it with. The paper must have a clear thesis/interpretation that should be supported by the arguments presented in the body of the paper. Be creative when it comes to selecting an approach. An unoriginal approach to a topic is perhaps the easiest way to obtain a poor grade for this paper (obviously, besides plagiarism). Make sure that your thesis statement is in the introduction, and please underline it. The paper should include a creative title and opening sentence that captures the readers attention. The paper must be formatted according to MLA guidelines. Font should be Times New Roman size 12. The paper must consist of 700-1000 words, and should have of a minimum of four (4) paragraphs. The paper must include a Works Cited page with all the sources used in your essay. Do not put a source in your Works Cited page if you did not cite or paraphrase it in your essay. Everything mentioned and cited throughout your paper MUST have a reference on your works cited page. Ideas must be presented in a clear and organized fashion, and must contain few grammatical errors. Avoid the use of long quotations, and avoid summarizing the text that you chose. You goal is to analyze and critically approach the film/tv; assume that your reader is an expert on the media you are discussing. Please be sure to mention the title of the film/tv you chose in the introduction. No new ideas should be discussed in the conclusion; no evidence should be incorporated in the introduction. Students are encouraged to use dictionaries to look up certain words. However, the use of online or computer translators (such as Babelfish and Google Translate) is strictly forbidden. Students having difficulties with the paper are encouraged to visit the English Writing Center for individualized assistance that is free of cost. Keep in mind that the writing center tutors (and the instructor) are not editors, and they will not write your paper for you nor correct every single mistake your paper has. On the contrary, they will evaluate your paper as a whole and give you guidance/help in terms of the flaws, disruptions, or discrepancies that they may find in your essay.

Late papers will be accepted, but keep in mind that ten (10) points will be deducted for each day it is late, including weekends.

Readapted from Matos 2011

Grading Rubric: Compare/Contrast Papers


Area Originality and Creativity ---FIVE (5) POINTS Excellent The title, topic, and introductory sentence demonstrate outstanding originality and creativity. (5 POINTS) The main idea or objective of the paper is specific, precise, and clear (5 POINTS) Ideas are clearly and thoroughly explained. Provides a balanced amount of details and evidence. Demonstrates a wide use of English vocabulary. (15--12 POINTS) Includes effective, insightful, and logical evidence from all the sources required for essay (15-- 12 POINTS) Development ---FIFTEEN (15) POINTS The paper compares and contrasts ideas using effective rhetorical strategies. The intro opens the topic appropriately and the conclusion provides complete closure (15-12 POINTS) Strength & Structure ---FIFTEEN (15) POINTS The comparison and contrast established is very structured, solid, logical and balanced (15 12 POINTS) Tone ---FIVE (5) POINTS General Essay Rules ---TEN (10) POINTS The paper is written in a professional, academic, and objective tone (5 POINTS) Follows all of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (10 8 POINTS) Follows all of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, Works Cited, spacing, etc.) (5 POINTS) A previous complete draft reviewed by a classmate was included with the final draft. (5 POINTS) Good The title, topic, and introductory sentence demonstrate a salient degree of originality and creativity. (4-3 POINTS) The main idea is somewhat clear but lacks specificity, precision, and clarity (4-3 POINTS) Ideas are clear but lack supporting evidence and details. Certain words are repeated constantly. Provides a somewhat balanced amount of evidence and details. (118 POINTS) Includes evidence that is somewhat effective. Not all the required sources were incorporated in the essay (118 POINTS) Some comparisons and contrasts seem disconnected and lack rhetorical strategies. The intro briefly opens up the topic. The conclusion leaves some suggestions or questions unanswered. (118 POINTS) The comparison and contrast established is fairly structured, and somewhat logical and balanced (11 8 POINTS) The paper is written in a semiprofessional tone; lacks some objectivity (4-3 POINTS) Follows most of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (7 5 POINTS) Follows most of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, Works Cited, spacing, etc.) (4 3 POINTS) Fair The title, topic, and introductory sentence are quite unoriginal and demonstrate a lack of depth. (21 POINTS) The main idea or objective is unclear, and/or too general and imprecise. (21 POINTS) Ideas lack clarity and supporting details. Ideas are disconnected from the thesis. Vocabulary is too simple. Poor The title, topic, and introductory sentence demonstrate a total lack of originality. (0 POINTS) The paper lacks a main idea or central objective. There is no point being made. (0 POINTS) Total lack of clarity. Lacks the basic elements of a compare/contrast paper. Demonstrates a limited ability and use of vocabulary. (4-- 0 POINTS) Evidence is irrelevant, questionable, or incorrect. None of the required sources were incorporated into the discussion. (4-- 0 POINTS) Ideas and evidence are random and incoherent. The paper demonstrates a lack of thoughtfulness and organization. No rhetorical strategies. The reader constantly feels lost. (4-- 0 POINTS) There is no structure, strength, organization or logic in the compare/contrast presented (4 - 0 POINTS) The paper is written in an informal, immature, and unacademic form (0 POINTS) Follows few of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (1 - 0 POINTS) Follows few of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, page number, spacing, etc.) (0 POINTS) No previous draft was included with the final draft.

Thesis/Objective ---FIVE (5) POINTS Content ---FIFTEEN (15) POINTS

(75 POINTS) Includes weak evidence which does not support the arguments made. Serious lack of required sources in the essay. (75 POINTS) Essay jumps from one idea to the next without creating effective comparisons. The intro does not present any idea or context for the paper. The conclusion does not provide sufficient closure. Disorganized. (75 POINTS) The comparison and contrast established lacks structure, organization, logic and balance (7 5 POINTS) The paper is written in an informal tone; lacks professionalism (21 POINTS) Follows a couple of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (4 2 POINTS) Follows some of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, paging, spacing...) (2 1 POINTS) A previous draft that was too incomplete and/or not reviewed was included with the final draft. (2 POINTS)

Evidence from Media ---FIFTEEN (15) POINTS

MLA Format ---FIVE (5) POINTS Previous Draft ---FIVE (5) POINTS

N/A

(0 POINTS) Grammar & Spelling ---VARIABLE DEDUCTION Presentation ---FIVE (5) POINTS 1/5 of a point (0.20 pts) will be deducted for every grammatical error in the paper. In other words, you will lose 1 pt for every 5 grammatical errors, spelling mistake, or wrong word choice. You can lose a maximum of 10 pts for this category. The student orally presented the main argument and findings of the paper in front of the class on the day that the essay was due. The student does not need to read the paper in order to discuss these notions in front of the class.

Student: ________________________________________

Total Amount of Points: ______ Final Grade: _____

*Bringing your essay to the English Writing Center for proofing will result in +2 bonus points for this essay!

Readapted from Matos 2011