The Assignment:

Assignments that ask you to compare and/or contrast two or more texts are common in college courses. You may be asked to compare opposing viewpoints. You may be asked to compare or contrast a series of proposals and determine which is the strongest. You may be asked to synthesize various perspectives – including where they overlap and diverge – to create a more comprehensive overview of a topic. Whatever the reason, you will engage with multiple texts at once.

Comparing texts to one another is a foundational skill in research, synthesis, and argument. For this paper, you will compare (and contrast) two works of fiction.


  • “Everyday Use" by Alice Walker.  There is a link to this story in our Canvas course.
  • “The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant has been uploaded to our Canvas course.

Comparing and contrasting the two texts:

Comparing and contrasting is more than just listing the similarities and differences between two or more texts. Both stories discuss similar themes and have round characters, so there are a lot of similarities and a handful of differences to study.  Look at some of the suggested topics such as sacrifice, family, social class, and loyalty.  Consider breaking these topics down into points that will be backed with evidence from the stories.  So if you are considering the topic of sacrifice, you will want to explore several main ideas to show how sacrifice is portrayed in each story similarly and differently.  Make sure that you have enough evidence from the text to back up these points.  Your evidence may be a combination of direct quotes and paraphrasing.  Remember to use the I.C.E. method to integrated your quotes.  


  • Your paper must be at least 3 full pages
  • You will include a strong, clear thesis statement that presents the purpose of your comparison
  • Use standard MLA essay format:
    • typed
    • double spaced
    • 12 point font
    • 1” Margins
    • appropriate font
    • works cited
    • in-text citations
  • You will submit your final draft in Turnitin as either a .doc or .docx file
    • This is non-negotiable. I won’t be able to grade your papers if you submit a pdf, .pages, .txt., or other file type

Things to Consider:

  • A comparison/contrast essay may focus on just similarities, just differences, or a combination of both.
  • The thesis of the essay should make the focus and purpose clear.
  • Compare/contrast essays are typically organized in one of two ways: text-by-text, or point-by-point.
  • In a text-by-text format, you will discuss one text at a time. In a point-by-point format, you would organize your paragraphs around main points and discuss how both texts relate to that point. Whichever you choose, be sure to make it very clear where your information is coming from. 
  • This is the first paper where you will use citation. Because you will be working with more than one source, the ICE method for source integration is important in this paper. Please see previous PowerPoint and handout.