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Compare and Contrast Essay

Sep 1, 2022
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Writing an effective essay can sometimes be a very draining process. If it is a compare and contrast essay, it can be an even tougher task to write an intriguing one where two seemingly different topics have to be pitted against each other as opposed to concentrating on one single topic in a persuasive essay. 

Compare and contrast essays share many similarities with other types of essays, but they also differ in many ways—and that is the heart of comparing and contrasting! By observing the similarities and differences, the reader gains a better understanding of each subject by using the other as a frame of reference.  

In contrast to persuasive or argumentative essays, compare and contrast essays deal with multiple topics at once rather than focusing on just one. The disadvantage is that they do not describe individual subjects as thoroughly as single-topic essays do. The compare and contrast essay can also act as an exercise in demonstrating how well you understand both subjects. 

Let us learn how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Compare and Contrast

It is a common practice to write compare and contrast essays.  

Imagine you have decided to buy a new cell phone. There are quite a few of them in the market that you have liked. But you are in a dilemma over which one to finalize. One phone may have certain features the other one doesn’t and vice-versa.  

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When such a situation arises, comparing and contrasting the two things could prove to be a really handy option. 

When we compare two things, we list down or describe the similarities they share in common. 

Oppositely, while contrasting, we write down the differences between the two entities. 

Therefore, a compare and contrast essay is one where we write the similarities and the differences between two things. They can be an inanimate object, an abstract idea, or any living being like animals, human beings, etc. 

Some important points to keep in mind while writing a compare and contrast essay are: 

  • Our points should be explained in as much detail to support the point we intend to make so that they stand out. 
  • The contrasting points should be based on the same criteria, like; 
  • iPhones have top-quality cameras and Samsung produces phones with camera quality that is slightly inferior to that of iPhones. 
  • Here, the camera feature is the criteria based on which the phones are contrasted. 
  • To maintain a flow in the essays, we can use linking words like similarly, in common, like, as well as, etc. to compare, and on the other hand, however, although, even though, etc. to contrast. 

While outlining the different ideas that should be incorporated into the essay, you might find yourself at a roadblock as to which points should be included. In such situations, use a Venn Diagram which is a visual aid that will assist you in determining which characteristics your subjects share and which are unique to them.  

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Venn Diagrams

A Venn diagram is an effective tool for brainstorming and comparing two or more objects, events, or people. It can be used as a starting point for developing an outline for a compare and contrast essay. 

A Venn diagram is made up of two overlapping circles. Each circle represents an idea/object that is to be compared. The similarities both the objects share should be written in the overlapping portion. The points here can be used to compare similar characteristics in the essay.  

And the portion that doesn’t overlap should be used to accommodate the differences between the objects. The points here can be used to contrast the differences in the essay. 

The Harry Potter series features several well-known characters. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are probably two of the most well-etched-out ones. While these two boys may be opposed, they share several similarities as well as differences. Observe how the following Venn Diagram acts as the outline for the compare and contrast essay that is to follow about these well-known characters by comparing them point by point. 

Now, using these points, let’s see how the compare and contrast essay on the topic of Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy looks

Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy 

Can a hero and a villain ever be the same person? Surprisingly, it appears that the answer to that question is no. Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter have more in common than you might think. Comparing and contrasting these two distinct characters based on their fates, families, and friends reveal that Harry and Draco might prove to you how the line between hero and villain can blur owing to the circumstances. 

You have no control over your destiny. The truth of these words drives the paths of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy’s lives. However, how each boy’s fate unfolds is what distinguishes one as a hero and the other as a villain. Harry Potter was born to be the “Chosen One.” He did not choose this fate, but it was thrust upon him as a child. His life course is largely dictated by the events played out for his family. Draco Malfoy, on the other hand, has family expectations of supporting the death eaters due to his father’s affiliation. Failure to follow Voldemort could result in his as well as his family’s death. 

While fate is inevitable, it is their families who cement their fate. True, both boys had parents who adored them. However, the fact that Harry’s parents died when he was a child and that he was raised by the Dursleys prepared him for the difficulties that lay ahead. He had developed a thick skin as a result of years of ridicule and emotional abuse. So, when it came to what was right and wrong, he was willing to stand up and fight for what was right. This was not the case with Draco. Draco, who had been coddled by his mother Narcissa, lacked the courage to stand up to his family or Voldemort. He just accepted his fate. 

Their friends were another factor that influenced their characters. Both boys had a tight-knit group of friends on whom they could rely. The thugs, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were Draco’s friends. Their friendship, however, was more of a leader-subordinate relationship. Harry, on the other hand, was close to Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley. Throughout the series, their friendship grew to be as close as a family. They were also crucial in Harry’s victory over Voldemort. 

When comparing and contrasting Draco and Harry, it’s clear that the boys aren’t as dissimilar as they appear. Their fates could have been altered had their families or friends been different. So, the question becomes, are heroes and villains defined by good and evil? 

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