Writing a Comparably Excellent Comparative Essay

A comparative essay is a favourite with professors for assignments or exam questions. You will see it so often over the course of your academic life, you can practically type one in your sleep once you get the hang of it. But getting the hang of it is important, because many students underestimate the depth of analysis required.

As human beings, we routinely compare things subconsciously, like when we weigh a low-cal muffin versus a chocolate cake for dessert or when deciding which college to go to. Thus, this type of essay is an exercise in cogently articulating similar comparisons.

These essays generally justify the thesis that the two things being compared may have a lot in common despite their differences or vice versa. So essentially it can show two different ways of achieving the same end or two similar things that achieved divergent purposes website there.

Suppose an English Literature student has to compare the Romantic (Blake, Wordsworth) and Classical (Pope, Cowley) poets. He/she could first mention all the characteristics of Classical poets and then those of the Romantic poets. Alternatively he could deal with the differences in their characteristics one by one, as shown in this sample comparative essay:

“The Classical poets wrote in an exalted scholarly language, intended to convey emotion but also to present the writers mastery over epics, (Greek) mythology, the Bible and archaic English. This is illustrated in this excerpt from Cowley’s Davideis

I sing the man who Judah’s sceptre bore

In that right hand which held the crook before;

Who from best poet, best of kings did grow;

The two chief gifts Heav’n could on man bestow.

Much danger first, much toil did he sustain,

Whilst Saul and Hell cross’d his strong fate in vain.

Till with unwearied virtue he subdued

All home-bred malice, and all foreign boasts;

Their strength was armies, his the Lord of Hosts.

In contrast, the Romantics strove to write in a ‘language such as men do use’ about the beauty in the mundane aspects of life. Wordsworth would infuse an enchanting quality into the memory of chancing upon daffodils or a peasant girl’s plaintive song, as evidenced in these stanzas from The Solitary Reaper [Note: choosing appropriate illustrations is important in comparative essays]

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang

As if her song could have no ending;

I saw her singing at her work,

And o’er the sickle bending;–

I listened, motionless and still;

And, as I mounted up the hill,

The music in my heart I bore,

Long after it was heard no more.

The Romantic Movement was designed as a counterpoint to the aura of superiority and elitism associated with Classical works, and the Romantics carved their niche in the literary landscape, one delightfully ‘commonplace’ poem at a time.”

Along with differences you could also mention some similarities, to make the essay writing more comprehensive. Like with a marketing assignment, you could jot down a rough draft initially and then refine it as you get more information.


Leave a Reply