Writing an Essay that Compares and Contrasts Two Works
Kidneys for Sale:
by Miriam Schulman (pg. 446-451) and
Why legalizing Organ Sales Would Help to Save Lives, End Violence
by Anthony Gregory (pg. 451-453), in
a 4-6 page paper, compare the views of the two authors.
Explain where you agree with them, where you
disagree, or where you have real concerns about what the writers say.
—Determine your purpose BEFORE you begin. (What’s the point?)
*You will either want to inform your audience (people who will read your paper) about the two
subjects in order to provide a better understanding of them…
*You can persuade your audience that one of the two views is preferable to the other.
—Locate, organize, and synthesize information on both works of literature to support your thesis.
may want to mutually discuss two works equally, emphasize one work using the other to highlight specific
details and techniques, show a preference for one piece over the other, or emphasize an idea or method that
is particularly noteworthy in both.
—The points are important, but you will have to go beyond them to draw a conclusion from your
The thesis is the idea that you are defending in your paper, and/or your thoughts on the
You must prove this with pieces of textual evidence taken from the works in question.
In X work, the author uses examples to support her main idea.
This is vividly show in the
In contrast, the author of
work Y uses abstract ideas to support his main idea.
The following passage illustrates
this reliance on abstractions:
Make sure that you have chosen an area of with common ground from each (idea with related idea, imagery
with imagery, tone with tone, problem with problem and so forth).
For an essay of this sort to work, you
must find a common denominator in both works as a point of departure for the entire paper.
compare two authors’ techniques, ideas, examples, incidents, arguments, theme or tone if needed.
Some ideas on comparison and contrast in general:
In comparison and contrast and analogy, you usually follow one of two basic organizational schemes: (1)
you discuss each topic separately, covering all the pertinent features of the one and then the other or (2) you