Posted: January 25th, 2023

Compare/Contrast Essay

You will be writing an essay comparing and contrasting elements from any two of the following stories:

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  • “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson
  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,”  by Ambrose Bierce
  • “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’brien
  • “A Rose For Emily,” by William Faulkner
  • “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe
  • “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe

You may choose any stories you like but do not choose more than two. The things you will be comparing and contrasting will be different elements within each story. You may choose to analyze only one element or up to three but no more than that. For example, you may want to compare and contrast the authors’ tones in the Gothic stories or you may want to compare and contrast different types of figurative language between stories, or you may even want to discuss symbolism and setting in one or more stories. Any combination is fine. Choose something you are interested in to make your writing and research more enjoyable. 

Once again, do not include a significant plot summary. This is an analysis where you will be analyzing the stories you choose for the elements you want to discuss and finding other sources to reference and support your own thesis and claims. 

You should mention the stories you are discussing, their authors, and the elements you will compare and contrast in your introduction along with a strong, identifiable thesis. You will need at least 3 credible sources to include in your analysis. You must also make a works cited page with these references as well as the stories you choose to use in your essay. You should have a total of at least 5 entries on your works cited page. 

You may use online sources as long as they are credible. Wikipedia is not a credible source, but it is a good place to start. These pages typically give references at the bottom to the credible sources used for the website.  I strongly suggest using the library’s database to find other sources from journals, books, etc. Databases often have MLA citing tools that will make your Works CIted entries for you if you struggle with that. 

Remember your essay must be in MLA format, have at least 5 pages (not including the works cited page in this count), and include a complete works cited page in alphabetical order. You should only be writing in 3rd person (no first person-“I, me, personally, in my opinion” etc.). 

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