Transcript of "Whap comparison-essay-intro-thesis"
WHAP - COMPARISON ESSAY
Thesis Writing INTRO
Law & Order: police procedural & legal drama tv series on NBC
- 2nd longest tv series of all time
(after The Simpsons & tied with Gunsmoke)
- aired for 20 seasons and had several spin offs
- Set and filmed in New York City
Law & Order follows a 2-part approach:
1st 30 min. is the investigation of a crime
(usually murder) & apprehension of a suspect
by New York City Police Department homicide
2nd 30 min. is the prosecution of the defendant
by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Plots are often based on real cases that recently made headlines,
although the motivation for the crime and the perpetrator
may be different.
How is writing a history essay like "Law & Order?"
How is Law & Order & History Writing Similar?
1st Step: Investigate a crime (murder).
2nd: Gather & analyze evidence then ask
questions of witnesses, relatives/friends, &
persons of interest.
3rd: Identify the criminal who did the crime &
form a motive for the crime.
4th: Organize the evidence, interview witnesses,
work with the court to prepare for trial.
5th: In the courtroom, make your opening
statement: Murder used weapon in location to
kill and give brief motive and explanation of
evidence that will prove your assertion correct.
6th: Present evidence and call witnesses to verify
motive, location, ability to commit the crime, all
showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the
accused committed the crime.
7th: Closing statement drives home the opening
statement and jury is convinced the accused is
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
1st Step: Investigate the prompt (question).
2nd: Gather & analyze evidence then ask
questions about what prior knowledge you
have about the prompt.
3rd: Identify the answer to the prompt &
form a thesis (answer) for the prompt.
4th: Organize the evidence, consider point
of view, begin to plan a basic outlined
approach to build a convincing solution.
5th: Write your introduction and declare your
thesis statement: Answer to the question
using a brief introduction to the evidence
that will be presented in the essay to prove
6th: Present the evidence by using a topic
sentence and evidence to back it in each
7th: Conclude your essay by driving your
thesis home in a convincing fashion.
Free-Response: The Comparative Essay
Description: The comparative essay is one of
3 different styles of essay you will be writing
this year. It is the simplest in terms of
structure but, of course, difficulty varies with
the prompt. Your essay needs these elements:
3-4 direct comparisons
a conclusion paragraph
• You must describe similarities and
• And analyze why at least one
THE LANGUAGE OF COMPARE AND CONTRAST
Key words commonly used to express comparison include:
like similar as
same in the same way too
both most important have in common
the same as similarly as well as
Key words commonly used to express contrast include:
although yet whereas
however but while
Differ instead unless
Unlike on the contrary contrary to
Even though on the other hand the reverse
Remember, comparing shows how the subjects are alike, and contrasting shows how
The dog, like the cat is a household pet.
The dog, unlike the cat, is dependent on its master for affection.
Sometimes both happen in the same sentence.
While the dog and cat both make good household pets, the dog requires more attention
than a cat.
Thesis statement: this is the key to the entire essay.
Start by brainstorming similarities or differences
making sure to go beyond restating the question.
Remember a good thesis must:
1) specify the topic
2) answer the whole question asked (similarities
and differences, all elements of the prompt)
3) be more specific than the question prompt (the
4) analyze the cause for differences or reason for
similarities (the WHY)
Use the whole introductory paragraph to
bring the thesis together.
Body Paragraphs: After your introduction you must fill in the
body of your essay. Each paragraph should start with an
analytical topic sentence. This topic sentence must link
back to and expand on your thesis and contain the essence
of the comparison you are trying to make.
If we label our topics of comparison A (Egypt) and B
(Mesopotamia) and our points of comparison 1
(political), 2 (religion), and 3 (social) the best way to
structure the essay is:
I: 1 (political) (A, Egypt; B, Mesopotamia)
II: 2 (A, B)
III: 3 (A, B)
This allows you to spend the most time actually making and
proving your thesis. You may have more comparisons to
make depending on the question. Try to make at least 3.
Conclusion: This is the least important
piece of the essay but is a great
opportunity to gain expanded core
points. Try to link the topic of the
essay to the broader story of history.
Why are your conclusions
important? What does it show us
about history as a whole?
What should a thesis
A specific argument that answers the question.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Compare the Italian Luigi's Pizza and Tex-Mex Fusion goodness of
Torchy's Tacos according to cost, taste, and overall eating experience.
In comparing pizzas and tacos, they are both similar and different.
DO NOT DO THIS!
EXAMPLE QUESTION AND THESIS
Compare and contrast the Han Empire during 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. with the
Spanish empire of the sixteenth century.
The specific argument here would include at least one comparison and one
contrast and reference to both the empires and the time frames.
Many students may write:
“There were many similarities and differences between the
Han Empire during 206 B.C.E-220 B.C.E. and the Spanish
empire of the sixteenth century.”
Unfortunately, this is not good enough for the AP World exam. It is
too general and more or less repeats the prompt.
With a simple addition and a bit of tweaking, you can make this thesis work:
“There were many similarities and differences between the Han Empire during 206 B.C.E.-
220 B.C.E. and the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century. One was land-based and the
other sea-based yet they both grew rich from conquest of territory outside their
You can make two sentences instead of one from the second sentence:
“There were many similarities and differences between the Han Empire during 206 B.C.E-
220 B.C.E and the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century. One was land-based and the
other sea-based. They both grew rich from conquest of territory outside their boundaries.”
For several hundred years the Mongols ruled over both Russia and China. After
casting off Mongol domination, both areas began a process of political and
cultural recovery. Compare and contrast these processes in Russia and China.
1) Note the VERBS in this essay prompt: compare and contrast. This means you must write a
thesis that expresses what China and Russia had in common and where they were different. In
short, your thesis must address the comparison.
2) Your thesis (and essay) should stay within the parameters of the question or prompt.
An essay on the Columbian exchange should not deal with the Swahili Coast of Africa .
3) Next, your thesis should state an opinion. Be bold. Do not merely restate the question or
one of its assumptions. To argue a point, you must first of all have one. The following is not an
acceptable thesis; it simply restates information given by the prompt:
NO NO! Russia and China both gained freedom from Mongol
4) Your thesis should contain the categories that you will use in the essay as evidence.
ANOTHER NO! NO! The recovery of Russia and China after the Mongols
had many similarities and differences.
The above sentence is vague, wimpy, and is really just a restatement of an assumption in
the prompt. It is a fluttering of loose ends needing to be nailed down onto concrete
Better When Russia and China recovered from Mongol domination
they had similar political goals but different cultural goals.
This thesis is getting there. It at least declares in general categories how the paths of
China and Russia were different and how they were similar after the Mongols. It
has broken down (analyzed) these things into categories that lend themselves to a
well defined essay. But it could be better.
Note the difference between the above thesis and the one below:
Best While both Russia and China built strong
centralized governments after breaking free from the
Mongols, Russia imitated the culture and technology of
Europe while China built upon its own foundations in
Think about this thesis for a moment.
It directly addresses the comparison (tells what they have in common and
where they were different.) It contains the categories (political and cultural) on
which the writer will hang relevant historical facts, and the terms (foreign
influence and isolationism) on which the comparisons will be made. These
categories will form the paragraphs of the essay.
This thesis is a verbal engine sufficient to drive the type of essays that could
generate an 8 or a 9 on your APWH test, providing you accomplish the other
Comparative Structure for Essay
I. Introduction: Thesis & Roadmap
II. Body of Essay (Each paragraph should
A. 1st Sentence for each body paragraph
should be a comparative (a direct
B. 2nd sentence then explains/analysis
the direct comparison in the first
C. Then subsequent sentences in the
paragraph should provide at least 2
info statements/evidence in each
Your assignment is to apply the information in this lecture to the
writing prompt you were given that asks you to analyze the
similarities and differences between life in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
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