Fall 07 Comparative Analysis Assignment

Dr. Howe

Comparative Analysis Assignment

For your final essay assignment, I am asking you to compose a 5-page essay comparatively examining two of the following four essays we've read: Malcolm X, “Can a Prison Be a School?”; Frederick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write”; Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”; and Gloria Anzaldua, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” As you will have seen as you read these texts, all share certain similarities. Choose one similarity—something your two essays both do—and examine how each essay does it differently. A statement of this comparison will be your thesis.

I will be looking for the following key elements in your essay:

  • A strong thesis statement that provides a pathway and transitions throughout your essay and includes or gestures toward the “so what?” point
  • A clear organization dictated by the needs of the thesis and built up with levels of argument
  • Well-chosen illustrations for your thesis from both of the texts you're working with
  • An accurate and useful discussion of the major point of similarity that frame an equally accurate and useful discussion of the way each text approaches that point of similarity in different ways, from different perspectives, with different goals, or with different results
  • A clear distinction between your words/ideas and the words/ideas of your sources, meaning a close and detailed attention to the conventions of citation and documentation in MLA format
  • An introduction setting up your thesis, introducing the texts you're working with, and gesturing toward the “so what?” point
  • A brief contextualization of your thesis through an appropriate—and brief—summary of your texts
  • A rich and informative title
  • Writing that is strong, clear, grammatically correct, and impeccably spelled and edited
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