Every student has been assigned a compare and contrast essay at least once in a lifetime. At first, it seems there is nothing difficult about this paper — after all, you take two objects and compare them, right? Well, yes and no. First of all, like any other piece of academic writing, a comparative essay should have a purpose. Then again, you might be forced to compare things that do not have that much in common. In such a situation, a lot of students start googling for compare and contrast essay examples online.
Below, we will provide you with two compare and contrast essay examples for college level. Both deal with literary analysis and both have their strong and weak points. So, let’s take a close look and analyze the major do’s and dont’s with both of these compare and contrast essay samples.
The Process of Coming of Age in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Roley’s American Son
Two American novels, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son, in spite of their obvious differences in themes and issues, both deal with a process of coming of age. Holden Caulfield, from Catcher in the Rye, and Gabe Sullivan, from American Son are both entering this stage of life, and in spite of all the differences in family income, nationality, and personal traits, they are going through identical phases, known, perhaps, to every teenager in this world.
In J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is shown as a perfectly normal boy from an average American family, who goes through some changes without realizing how common they are. This boy seems to have all the opportunities to be happy – a nuclear family with two loving parents, a famous brother and a loving younger sister.
Gabe Sullivan in Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son is seen as a different character in different circumstances; however, the conflict with his family is undeniable. Gabe, the narrator of this novel, puts himself into contrast with his elder brother Tomas, presenting himself as a “ son who is quiet and no trouble” (Roley). Page after page we observe Tomas’ aggression towards Gabe, which does not make their relationship any better.
However trivial and superficial, the loss of interest in studies is one of the indispensable features in a coming of age process, which both boys show quite vividly. Holden is being “kicked out” (Salinger) from “about the fourth school” (Salinger), while Gabe keeps getting lower and lower grades until his relatives send him away to private school.
Both Gabe and Holden show either weakness or fear to confront a stronger personality, as being stuck between childhood and adolescence, they see themselves as weak people rather than strong ones.
Both Gabe and Holden are in search of a perfect male pattern in their lives, and both of them are rejecting their closest relatives. Both characters seek for a good example somewhere outside their families. Thus, Holden greatly admires his teacher Mr. Antolini, while Gabe finds his father-like figure on a road when he runs away from home.
Another conflict, probably the most typical one for a teenage period, is a conflict of one’s personality against society, shown both by Holden and Gabe quite vividly. Holden obviously tries to escape from society’s conventions, offering his girlfriend Sally to “drive up to Massachusetts and Vermont, and all around there” (Salinger) and to “live somewhere with a brook and all” (Salinger).
Gabe’s conflict with society is different, though. He is obviously ashamed of his Filipino mother, ashamed of himself, and believes them to be a second-sort people because “they look different” (Roley). His pain for his mother’s humiliation is vividly shown in a scene where she would not be served in a shop because shop-assistant intentionally ignores her.
The set of circumstances mentioned above results in an attempt to escape, one of the most painful moments for all teenagers. Holden seeks solitude in New York when he leaves school earlier than he is supposed to, while Gabe steals his brother’s car and escapes to North California. Both of these actions represent the same coming of age stage, which is often referred to as a rebellion.
So, one can say that even though Holden and Gabe’s behavior and motives during their coming of age processes were fundamentally different, the very stages they came through were, in fact, the same. The average phases of coming of age, such as conflicts with family members, inner conflicts, conflicts with society are common for all teenagers. From the psychological point of view, it can be driven that even though there are no identical people, there can be identical motives and behavioral premises.
This compare and contrast essay example offers a detailed comparison for a college level, combined with basic elements of literary analysis. Let’s start with strong aspects of this work.
Make your point clear in an intro: a great thing about this essay is that it properly introduces its topic, characters, and main points that are going to be analyzed in body paragraphs.
Have a separate paragraph for each logical thought: another strong point of this paper is that it has a dedicated paragraph for each new thought. This helps the reader skim through the paper easily, which is a huge plus.
Use quotes to prove your point of view: next, a student uses a lot of textual evidence to prove his point of view, which is essential when analyzing a literary work.
Sum up your findings in conclusion: this is a rather lengthy piece of writing, which is why the author is totally right to summarize all major points discussed in body paragraphs. Notice that our writer does not restate these points word for word, but rather reminds readers of what was going on in the main section of this comparison.
Stress topic relevance in conclusion: another great plus of this paper is that it highlights topic relevance — all teenagers go through these conflicts, which is why to is crucial to understand them.
Bury the lead in your intro: while conclusion highlights our subject relevance, the intro does not. It is a big ‘no-no,’ as the purpose of an introduction is to hook the reader. Make no mistake — your reader will ask the ‘so what?-question, and it is your goal to answer it.
Forget logical transitions: even though our writer clearly states one point per paragraph, he does jump from differences to similarities rather abruptly. A couple of logical transitions (i.e., “still, despite all of the differences mentioned above, Holden and Gabe do have some things in common”) would make narration flow better.
Contrast conflict types in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Two Kinds by Amy Tan
On the face of it, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Two Kinds by Amy Tan seem to have nothing in common. Though, in spite all differences in plot structure and theme in general, these two stories deal with similar conflicts. The first problem raised in these stories is the problem of transportation from one being into another one.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka emphasizes the idea of human loneliness and alienation from other people. The very first conflict we encounter in this short story is an inner conflict, depicted by means of Gregor’s hatred to his job — a job he could not quit because of his parents’ debts to the company owner. Kafka strengthens the idea of the gap between what we are and what we want to be, which is quite often difficult to escape. This gap creates an internal conflict mentioned above.
Two Kinds by Amy Tan draws attention to human relations as well, though the subject is obviously different. This story deals with a family relationship, and though it also depicts a gap between children and parents, the general atmosphere of this short story is not so oppressive and unreal. Two Kinds presents a normal, real situation, without fantastic elements or grotesque hyperboles. The main theme of this short story is the abyss between our parents’ expectation and our actual dreams and abilities. Just like in The Metamorphosis, the internal conflict is shown through the girl’s disappointment in herself. The reality and the actual plausibility of this conflict makes Tan’s picture realistic and true-to-life, which has a really impressive effect on the reader.
When it comes to transportation, Two Kinds does not depict any unreal images, like transforming of a man into a bug, which is the case with Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Here we observe a transportation of Chinese girl into an American one, a shift that has certain moral and cultural implications. Such a shift is never an easy one, and it costs Amy a lot of pain and efforts. What is even more upsetting is that we can never be certain of this shift’s necessity.
All in all, despite all differences in Tan and Kafka’s plot, imagery, and means of presenting information, it is quite clear that essentially, both stories deal with the same issue. Depicted conflicts originate from similar reasons. Both are purely human conflicts, resulting not only from internal issues but also from characters’ relationships with their families. So, both stories use transportation as a symbol of shift – a shift that eventually happens to any person, for better or worse.
The second compare and contrast essay sample is a simpler one, but still impressive. Here are the lessons you should learn from this paper.
Stick to the point: the author states all major points of comparison in the intro and sticks to the same order in his body parts.
Keep it short and simple: the author conveys a lot of info in a few words. This is a great plus — especially for academic writing (yes, even if you are supposed to ‘fill in’ a lot of pages).
Include new info in conclusion: this part should never have any new information; however, this paper mentions symbolism and means of presenting information — something that has not been touched upon in the body paragraphs.
Forget the purpose of your analysis: the paper offers a great compare and contrast analysis but forgets to mention why this issue is important (i.e., we all go through transformations on different life stages). While the author tries to touch upon this issue, this thought still seems rushed-through.
We hope that these examples of compare and contrast essay, alongside with the writing tips, have helped you figure out what makes a good academic paper. If however, you still have questions about comparative papers (or simply do not have enough time to write the assignment on your own), you can always get in touch with our professional writing team and get all the help you need!