For Essay 2, you will write an essay that compares and/or contrasts. Your essay’s focus needs to be on theme and setting and/or characterization; your essay’s focus will depend on which prompt you choose. (The lessons in Unit 2 will walk you through how to write this essay. Carefully review all the content in this unit first before writing the essay.) You may choose one of the following prompts:
1. Compare/contrast Mary in “Lamb to the Slaughter” to one of the women in “A Jury of Her Peers” (Minnie Foster, Mrs. Hale, or Mrs. Peters — or possibly all three), paying particular attention to theme as well as setting and/or characterization, and make an argument about justice and the role of gender.
2. Compare/contrast the parent/child relationships in “Everyday Use” and “Marriage Is a Private Affair,” paying particular attention to theme as well as setting and/or characterization, and make an argument about the conflicts that can exist between generations.
3. Compare and/or contrast the grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and Mathilde in “The Necklace,” paying particular attention to theme as well as setting and/or characterization, and make an argument about the pitfalls of pride. Again, Unit 2 will cover, in detail, how to write a comparison/contrast essay. In brief, “an essay in the comparison and contrast shows how two works are similar to and different from each other” (Abcarian and Klotz 57). For this particular essay, you must demonstrate your understanding of characterization, setting, and/or theme, which we will also cover in this unit. Your essay must be between 750-1000 words and adhere to MLA formatting. It needs to quote directly from your chosen text(s) for support, but it should not use any secondary research.
Keep in mind that the comparison/contrast essay should not just summarize the story or stories, nor should it just state how two things are alike and/or different: the essay should move beyond that and also present an original opinion or argument based on those similarities/differences, as you see them.
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