Summer 2011
AP Language and Composition
Mrs. Black
Summer Reading Assignment: Comparison and Contrast Essay
Consider the following suggestions for the opening and closing paragraphs:
What are their titles? What do they describe or depict? What is their tone or mood? Who created
them? When were they created? What themes do they address? Do you think one is of higher
quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why (appropriate for the concluding
What could I compare and contrast in the body paragraphs?
Consider the parents, the lives of the two authors, two specific individuals, or the two families at
large. Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other? What are
they like? What do they believe? Why are they interesting? What stands out most about each of
them? Most important of all, how do the individuals contribute to the key messages in the
books? What does the audience learn about life from reading each of the books?
There are many different ways to organize the body of a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:
Subject-by-subject: Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first book you are
discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second book. Thus,
if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong thesis and
several body paragraphs for each point you want to make. Spend most of your paper discussing
how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second book. The final
paragraph should bring the two books together.
Point-by-point: Rather than addressing topics one book at a time, you may wish to talk about one
point of comparison at a time from each book. Otherwise, make a point and compare and contrast
both books in the same paragraph. Choose another issue and compare and contrast both books,
again in the same paragraph. Continue this pattern until you have covered all of your points.
There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast
paper. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what's going on!
Format: typed, Times New Roman 12, 400-500 words
See the vision through the eye of the tiger.