ENG 4U: Comparison Essays

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Transcript ENG 4U: Comparison Essays

ENG 4U: Comparison Essays

Comparative Essays: Alternate Formats

• Block format Essentially, the block format looks like two separate essays. You discuss one subject in its entirety before moving on to the next. This method is usually reserved for longer papers.

Comparative Essays: Alternate Formats

• Point by point or ping-pong style You alternate between discussing a point of comparison for two subjects all the way through the paper. This is my preferred method to use.

The Introduction: Essential elements

• • Your introduction must begin with a “general lead” that does not mention either the work you’re studying, the author, or any of the characters. It is designed to gently focus the attention of the reader. As such, it should deal with the topic in a very general way.

i.e. If you’re doing the topic #6 for who is the more suitable leader for Denmark – Claudius or Hamlet, you should discuss the concept of leadership, or examples of successful leaders from history.

The Introduction: Essential Elements

• • Next, you require a one line summary of the play (slanted to focus on your topic of discussion) which also mentions the author and title. The example below deals with the comparison between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Horatio.

i.e. William Shakespeare’s 1603 tragedy, Hamlet is the tale of a young prince obsessed with avenging the death of his father while navigating between associates who are, or falsely pose as friends.

The Introduction: Essential Elements

• Every essay requires a thesis and three proofs (i.e. the plan of development). In a comparative essay, the plan of development is the criteria upon which you’ll be comparing or contrasting the characters.

The Block Arrangement

• • Question: Which is the better vacation to take? A beach vacation or a mountain vacation?

In your introduction, you state your thesis (i.e. which is the better vacation to take) as well as the three criteria which you’ll base your decision on. (i.e. A beach vacation is the better holiday to take because of the favourable climate, the types of activities one can participate in, and the locations one has to choose from.)

Block #1

• • • • You discuss everything there is to say about Mountain vacations first (according to the criteria laid out in the plan of development).

Climate Types of activities Locations • Between paragraphs you need a transition statement that tells the reader what will be discussed next.

Transition Statements

• • • • • •


Also In comparison By the same token Likewise Similarly At the same time • • • • • • • • •


However Whereas On the other hand Yet/and yet Instead By contrast/ in contrast On the contrary Conversely but

Block #2

• You discuss everything there is to say about beach vacations (according to the criteria laid out in the plan of development AND in the same order they were discussed in block #1).

• • • Climate Types of activities Locations You end with a concluding paragraph that restates the thesis and summarizes your plan of development. It is also wise to leave the reader with something to think about for further study about this topic.

Ways to Start Conclusions Creatively

• • • • • At the end of the day In the final analysis In conclusion/ To conclude It may be said with confidence that Upon closer analysis (or some combination of the above constructions)

Ping Pong/ Alternating Format

The introduction is the same as it was for the block format.

• • For the first body paragraph, take the first point of comparison (climate) and discuss it as it relates to mountain vacations first, and then beach vacations.

Repeat the process for the next two points of comparison, making sure to follow the same order (i.e. mountains first, beaches second).

Sample Comparative Essay: The Ping Pong Method

Question: What is the better housing choice; a house or a condominium?

• The first step is to think of possible points of comparison. You won’t necessarily use all of them, but getting out all of your potential proofs on paper gives you a fall back plan if you find one of your proofs is underdeveloped.

Introduction (note that this is not a formal literary paper so there is no summary) • General lead: Young adults striking out on their own are faced with a difficult decision regarding housing. The housing market is awash with properties waiting for tenants. However, the decision can only be made after careful consideration of several factors.

Introduction continued…

• Plan of development and thesis… One must take cost, available space, and included amenities into account when determining which method of housing is better. On a balance, a single, free-hold home is the best form of housing.

Body paragraph #1

• Topic sentence (be sure that it is always connected to the thesis statement). It may feel like you’re being repetitive, but remember that your purpose is to prove your side of the argument.

One factor that illustrates how a free-hold, single home is a better housing choice for a young adult is cost.

Body Paragraph #1 continued…

• Condominiums are more expensive than free hold homes taxed at a comparable rate despite the misleading sticker price. Condominium corporations charge high maintenance fees monthly, regardless of whether or not there are any repairs to be made or whether or not said repairs are required for the unit one lives in. Residents are even charged these fees regardless of the age of the building. Even brand new buildings require residents to pay these exorbitant fees. On the other hand , a free-hold home offers more freedom in this regard. The owner may do any repairs they require themselves, or may choose a contractor to their liking. Furthermore, they do not have o pay for lighting or heating common areas that the resident may not make much use of. When all of the expenses are totalled, a free-hold home is considerably less expensive to live in than a condominium of comparable value. In addition to cost, another factor which suggests that a free hold house is a better choice of living arrangement is space.

Body Paragraph #2

Free-hold houses are better than condominiums because they offer considerably more living space for their residents than condominiums. on. Condominium units often have very little storage space: perhaps amounting to a locker inconveniently located in a common area. They have no back garden to recreate in or entertain. As such, they are neither child, nor pet friendly. Children and pets need fresh air and space to run around and recreate. Some buildings do not even allow pets! A condominium, regardless of how large it may seem in blueprints, is unable to satisfy these needs. In contrast, free-hold homes come equipped with a basement, an attic, and more often than not, a garage in order to hold everything from luggage to old hockey equipment. A free-hold home, regardless of its square footage, has some green space for children or pets to play in, or for residents to sun-bathe Furthermore, free-hold homes are better because they offer amenities that come at a premium in condominium units.

Body Paragraph #3

Condominium units often lack the useful features that come standard in a free-hold home. The types of amenities should always be taken into consideration when choosing a residence . For example, external water hoses are often no available for use by residents. This makes mundane tasks like washing the dog, or polishing the car, inconvenient and expensive. A condo resident is forced to pay for these services out of pocket at an alternate location. Condominium units also forbid the planting of terrace gardens, or barbequing on balconies. The condo corporation can restrict many activities in the building that owners of free-hold properties take for granted. A corporation can even fine a resident for hanging drapery that does not suit their tastes. On the contrary , free-hold homes have water-supplies that can be used at the owner’s discretion; making washing duties much easier. House residents can garden or barbeque to their heart’s content. They are free to decorate their home as they choose without fear of a condo corporation second guessing their personal taste. These amenities and freedoms make free-hold homes a superior choice for prospective residents.


At the end of the day, it may be said with confidence that the ideal living space for a young adult, striking out on their own, is a free hold home. They are less expensive, have more usable living space, and offer more useful amenities. The housing market offers many choices. The key to making the right choice is conducting sound research before making any decision that can have long term repercussions. Note that the thesis and plan of development have been clearly restated. There is also a sentence which leaves the reader with a point to consider that extends beyond the essay itself.

Now it’s up to you!

Use the ping pong method to write a short essay on one of the following topics: 1. Which is the better pet: cats or dogs?

2. “Country living is superior to city living.” Prove or disprove this statement.

3. Coke or Pepsi? Let the cola war begin!

4. College is a better form of post secondary education than university. Prove or disprove this statement.

5. A topic of your choosing…

ENG 4U Comparative Essay


• You will write an introductory and first body paragraph for one of the following topics. Please pick your second favourite (as you’ll want to save your first choice for a later activity). You may only use the play, Hamlet, as a resource. Outside research is neither required nor permitted.








Either Fortinbras or Laertes is an excellent foil for Hamlet in this play. Using three points of comparison, demonstrate how this is the case.

Gertrude and Ophelia are closer in character than they appear at first glance. Using three points of comparison, demonstrate the validity of this statement.

Parents cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of their children. Select two parental figures in Hamlet and demonstrate the veracity of this assertion.

Horatio exhibits the qualities of a true friend in contrast with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Write a comparative essay on Hamlet’s “friends.” Compare and contrast the roles of Hamlet and Claudius in the tragedy that engulfs the characters by Act V. Who is to blame?

Claudius is a more suitable leader for Denmark than Hamlet is. Discuss.

Requirements for the full-length formal essay

You are to write the rough copy entirely in class . You will have one week . You may use your lunch hours, spare, or before or after school to write in my presence. However, you are been completed may type the good copy, but it not permitted to take the papers home until a rough copy has . I will sign the rough copy to ensure that it was done entirely in school. You must match the rough copy done in class day.

. No papers will be accepted after the week is finished , so do some pre-planning before you enter class on the first