Kelly ‘14
Comparison Essay
Prompt
Pride and Prejudice and A Streetcar Named Desire, two classic works written 134 years and
two countries apart, share several essential themes. Both works examine attitudes toward
marriage, both works demonstrate conflicting attitudes toward money and manners, and
both works feature plots driven by the restrictions their societies have placed on women.
Analyzing a pair of contrasting characters in the two works can help to illustrate these
themes and their significance.
Write an essay in which you compare a character from Pride and Prejudice with his or her
counterpart in A Streetcar Named Desire, then use the comparison to comment on one or
more of the essential themes of the work. You may choose to compare: Mr. Darcy and
Stanley, Elizabeth and Stella, or Lady Catherine and Blanche. (Other pairs may be
compared, but must be cleared with the teacher before beginning.)
Suggestions for how to organize your essay:
Introduction
Introduce both works by title, author, and genre, and place them in the context of
their respective time periods and settings. Be sure to set up the idea that they have some
commonalities. (You may work with ideas that I suggested in the prompt, but use your
own language and be thoughtful about which ideas you choose to present.) As you
transition toward your thesis, you will need to introduce the two characters you will
compare (and contrast*). End your intro with a thesis that presents the main ideas you will
compare.
Body
In each body paragraph, compare an essential trait of the two characters. For
example, if you are comparing Darcy with Stanley, you may choose to consider their
attitudes toward women or their pride. In comparing Lady Catherine with Blanche, you
might discuss how both characters expect people to treat them deferentially.
Conclusion
This is the “so what” part of the paper. Consider one or more of these questions:
What can we learn about the two works by juxtaposing these essential characters? What
do they illustrate about one or more common themes? How do the differences between the
texts illuminate significant differences between the societies that created them?
*Note: To say “compare and contrast” is redundant. When your teachers/professors ask
you to compare, it is implied that you will also need to contrast.
Grading Rubric
A
20 points
B
17 points
C
15 points
D
13 points
F
10 points
Introduction
skillfully addresses
all suggested
elements
Introduction flows
smoothly from
introducing the
works to a clear
thesis
Introduction
adequately
presents the works
and includes a
simple thesis
Introduction is
missing more than
one element
and/or the thesis is
misleading
Analysis of both
characters is
insightful
Analysis of both
characters shows
some insight
Analysis of both
characters is clear
but predictable
Ample, specific
concrete detail
skillfully
incorporated
throughout the
paper
Ample concrete
detail is less
specific than an A
paper; smoothly
incorporated into
the argument
Adequate concrete
detail may be
general ; quotes
may be longer than
necessary and/or
formulaically used
Conclusion
skillfully connects
all elements of the
paper and presents
new insights into
the texts
Very few or no
errors in
conventions;
quotations are
cited correctly
Conclusion clearly
connects the
elements of the
paper and presents
some insight into
the texts
Few errors in
conventions; minor
errors in citation of
quotations
Conclusion recaps
main ideas and
makes general
statements about
themes
Introduction fails
to include a
suggested element
and/or the thesis is
lacking in some
significant way
Analysis of one or
both characters is
lacking in some
significant way
Paper relies on plot
summary or
vaguely-connected
quotations for
support; quotes are
poorly
incorporated in the
argument
Conclusion
attempts to connect
the characters to
the themes with
limited success
Some errors in
conventions do not
interfere with
reading; some
errors in quotation
citations
Persistent
conventions errors
interfere with
reading; significant
errors in quotation
citations
Conventions errors
are distracting and
significantly
interfere with
reading; paper fails
to cite quotations
Analysis of one or
both characters is
missing or
inaccurate
Concrete detail is
missing or
inaccurate
Conclusion fails to
connect the
characters to the
themes or does so
inaccurately
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Kelly `14 Comparison Essay Prompt Pride and Prejudice and A