In your first essay, you applied your analytical and interpretive skills to a work of literary fiction. In this second essay, you will continue to develop those skills, but will do so by placing two texts from this course in conversation with one another. In other words, you will be comparing OR contrasting a major theme in two short stories we’ve read thus far. The goal here is not just to point out similarities or differences, but to emphasize what is surprising or interesting about those similarities or differences.

For example, you might ask:

1)    Are there unexpectedly similar themes or messages within two stories published in very different time periods?

2)    Are there two stories we’ve read that address a similar topic, but send different messages about that topic?

3)    Are there two stories with protagonists who seem very different, but who actually struggle with a similar problem?

Your thesis should clearly state the answer to one of these questions, and your essay should use specific quotes and details from the stories as supporting evidence.


·      To emphasize the importance of locating and exploring connections across different texts

·      To practice effectively organizing discussions of two different texts

·      To continue to improve your interpretive reading and writing skills


·      4-5 double-spaced pages plus Works Cited page in MLA style.

·      12 point Times or Times New Roman fon1-inch margins on all sides

Writing Guidelines (These will also be used as grading criteria):

1.     Employ a thesis statement in the introduction that clearly states a) how two stories are similar or different, and b) why that similarity or difference is significant or surprising

2.     Formulate topic sentences that tie directly back to the thesis and state the one main idea of their respective paragraphs

3.     Support those topic sentences with evidence from the text(s) being analyzed

4.     Do not “ping pong” back and forth between stories in a single paragraph. You can alternate your discussions of each story from paragraph to paragraph, but not from sentence to sentence. Alternately, you may also address all relevant details from one story in the first half of your paper, and then turn your attention to the second story in the second half of your paper.

5.     Keep summary to a minimum: only quote from the story or paraphrase plot events in the interest of proving a larger interpretive point, and keep the focus on your analysis

6.     Integrate source(s) smoothly: avoid long block quotations, use attributive tags, cite using MLA style

7.     Employ an academic tone that avoids conversational or casual language

8.     Use clear transitions between sentences, correct grammar, and appropriate vocabulary


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