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CMP102 - Composition 2 - Taylor: Poetry Essay: Comparison/Contrast Assignment

Poetry Essay: Comparison/Contrast Assignment Details

  1. Choose one of the themes in our anthology:
    • Innocence and Experience   p. 74
    • Conformity and Rebellion     p. 316
    • Culture and Identity              p. 534
    • Love and Hate                      p. 858
    • Life and Death                      p. 1122
  2. Find two (2) poems from within that section that, after reading, you feel you "digested" them well. They may be very much alike or very different
  3. Do you SSSSTTh and F of S. Find one or two things about each poem that you thought were special.
  4. Following your comparison/contrast sheet for your essay. Be sure to write down the sources you may have used from the library.
  5. Don't forget your cover page and Work Cited page.
  6. When finished you should feel as if you have given the reader of your paper a good understanding of the poems.
  7. Proofread/revise.
  8. Go to the Writing Center if you would like some help.
  9. Remember - you have many chances to make this paper better (peer editing, revision). 
  10. Good Luck!

About the Comparison/Contrast Essay

A comparison/contrast essay weighs the differences and sometimes similarities between two distinct things: two boyfriends, high school vs. college courses, your first car with the car you have now, two of your children or a brother and sister, etc. As always it is important to do some pre-writing to be sure you have enough "ammunition" to write a complete essay. 

In this assignment, your job will be to compare/contrast two poems. If you turn to page xvii, you will see four basic themes - Parents, Nature, Love, and War. Pick the subject that interests you the most. Pick one or two poems from that section or pick one poem from that section and find a second poem that has the theme you have chosen. Do a poetry analysis sheet for each poem to be sure you ave a good grasp. If not, pick a different poem. 

  1. Pick your poems. It might be a good idea to skim a few poems so that you choose two that truly interest you. 
  2. Once you have picked your two poems, you should do a poetry analysis sheet for each poem. Maybe you will decide you do not like these poems or the poet. Maybe you will decide you don't understand the poems. This is an important step. It always helps to somewhat enjoy what you are doing. 
  3. Now your poetry analysis sheet is completed and you have a grasp of the poems. Pick the 3 or 4 sections of the analysis sheet in which you have the most to say. Two of your choices should be situation and theme. Now for the format:

Introduction - (Just what the name says!) Your job in this paragraph is to introduce the reader to the tow poems. It would be good to give an overview about your choices, perhaps why you made your choices. Be sure to say the poet's name and the name of the two poems. Remember our introduction discussion. (7-8 s.)

First Body Paragraph - Give the best information you have about the first poem (S,S,S,S,Tone, Theme, F of S). You need not use all our analysis, just where you have a better grasp. You want the reader to truly understand the poem. If you find you do not have much to say, perhaps you should have picked another poem. (12-14 s.)

Second Body Paragraph - Now you are writing to about your second poem. Keep a keen eye on what aspects you chose to write about in the first poem since it makes sense to be somewhat similar or entirely different. Try to follow the same order you wrote in for your first body paragraph since that will make your paper clearer for your reader and more of a comparison/contrast. (12-1 s.)

Conclusion - Sum it up. Why do you suppose these poems are in your text? Might they be there in 100 years? Would you like to meet this author? Did this poets life have an influence on what the poet says? These are things your reader may be interested to know (5-7 s.)