expectations have led you to believe. There are two basic ways to organize the body of your paper. If you encounter an assignment that fails to provide a frame of reference, you must come up with one on your own. "Classic" compare-and-contrast papers, in which you weight A and B equally, may be about two similar things that have crucial differences (two pesticides with different effects on the environment) or two similar things that have crucial differences, yet turn out to have surprising commonalities (two. The best frames of reference are constructed from specific sources rather than your own thoughts or observations. Just as looking through a pair of glasses changes the way you see an object, using A as a framework for understanding B changes the way you see. But in a "lens" comparison, in which you spend significantly less time on A (the lens) than on B (the focal text you almost always organize text-by-text. The rationale behind your choice, the grounds for comparison, lets your reader know why your choice is deliberate and meaningful, not random. But in a compare-and-contrast, the thesis depends on how the two things you've chosen to compare actually relate to one another. Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis. Faced with a daunting list of seemingly unrelated similarities and differences, you may feel confused about how to construct a paper that isn't just a mechanical exercise in which you first state all the features that A and B have in common, and then state. In the most common compare-and-contrast paperone focusing on differencesyou can indicate the precise relationship between A and B by using the word "whereas" in your thesis: Whereas, camus perceives ideology as secondary to the need to address a specific historical moment of colonialism, Fanon perceives.
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Be aware, however, that the point-by- point scheme can come off as a ping-pong game. The rest of the paper, whether organized text- by-text or point-by-point, will treat the two theorists' differences. Thus, in a paper comparing how two writers redefine social norms of masculinity, you would be better off"ng a sociologist on the topic of masculinity than spinning out potentially banal-sounding theories of your own. Linking of A and. In fact, your paper will be more interesting if you get to the heart of your argument as quickly as possible. But no matter which organizational scheme you choose, you need not give equal time to similarities and differences. Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another?
In the "lens" (or "keyhole comparison, in which you weight A less heavily than B, you use A as a lens through which to view. Surrounded by hard times, racial conflict, and limited opportunities, Julian, on the other hand, feels repelled by the provincial nature of home, and represents a new Southerner, one who sees his native land through a condescending Northerner's eyes. Thus, a paper on two evolutionary theorists' different interpretations of specific archaeological findings might have as few as two or three sentences in the introduction on similarities and at most a paragraph or two to set up the contrast between the theorists' positions. A paper focusing on similarly aged forest stands in Maine and the Catskills will be set up differently from one comparing a new forest stand in the White Mountains with an old forest in the same region.
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