Point-by-Point Contrast—Part One This is a basic description of point-by-point contrast method of analyzing and using words that contrast. This handout is essential for writing effective topic sentences, thesis, and some explanations, because you will need to refer to both poems in a single sentence. You may also find the information on pp. 33, 48-53 in Steps for Writers helpful. Point-by-Point Contrast In a point-by-point contrast essay, you prove your thesis by presenting evidence from both sources in each body paragraph. Writing Sentences that Draw A Contrast– Most of your topic sentences in this paper will have to refer to BOTH poems. INTRO PARAGRAPH TOPIC SENTENCE and THESIS–You will want to open your paper with a general statement that refers to BOTH poems by name and author. This general statement should simply provide an overview of the subject matter for both poems. It is also very likely that your THESIS statement will have to refer to both poems. BODY PARAGRAPH TOPIC SENTENCES–Each body paragraph must begin with a topic sentence that makes a point in reference to BOTH poems (use a contrast word to write a complex sentence). Then, each body paragraph should support that topic sentence with one quote from each poem. In short, you make an interpretive point (your main idea) in each body paragraph, and apply that point to BOTH poems in each body paragraph. This is why a body paragraph topic sentence must refer to BOTH poems. EXPLANATIONS of EVIDENCE–It will also sometimes be helpful when explaining a quote to refer to both poems. It is often easier to explain the quote by contrasting it with what you have already said about the other poem (this is especially true with Owen). WORDING THAT CONTRASTS–Words like “whereas”, “although”, “while”, “unlike,” etc. are all very useful when trying to write topic sentences or explanations. Since you always want to reveal the meaning through contrast, you will find yourself using these words to help you refer to both subjects in a single sentence. Below are examples of correct and an incorrect use of comparison/contrast words. Correct Examples Whereas Brooke presents war as _____________, Owen’s message is ______________. Notice that the word “whereas” requires a complex sentence that refers to both subjects. Brooke presents war as _____________, whereas Owen’s message is ______________.
Unlike Brooke, Owen’s battlefield _______________________. The “unlike” is a great word for explaining second evidence in a body paragraph. It refers to what you have already written about the first evidence (which is so crucial when it comes to explaining Owen). Although both poems deal with the death of a soldier, they ______________________. This might be a great construction for a transitional sentence. Incorrect Example
Whereas Brooke presents war as _____________. Owen’s message is ______________. The first statement is an incomplete sentence. The “whereas” requires a reference to both subjects in order to be complete (think of “whereas” here as “while”). The period makes the first into an incomplete sentence, whereas a comma would maintain the contrast and complete the idea. In order to draw a contrast, you must first establish a basis for comparison. For example, you can begin thinking about contrasting by actually comparing like things—in this case, two war poems. Although both poems deal with war (comparison), they have two different views of war (contrast). The view of war is where your contrast begins—but it’s too general. You need to find some common components/categories/aspects of each poem that allow you to draw a contrast (essentially, you’re defining the “parts” of each poem so you can take it apart to reveal the meaning).
Part Two—Paper Structure and Ideas
YOU MUST FOLLOW THIS STRUCTURE. This handout breaks both poems down into quotes for you to use in each paragraph of your paper. It also establishes body paragraph points for analysis, but it doesn’t clearly explain the relationship. This means that most of this paper is mostly about you finding the relationship between each quote, understanding the categorization of evidence, and developing strong explanations to unify the argument. It is all about the explanations. Assignment: General Purpose of Paper: To contrast two poems using the point-by-point method Specific Purpose of Paper:To contrast the purpose of Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier with Wilfred Owen’s message in Dulce et Decorum Est. Use the quotes below to structure your paper. No more than eight sentences for each paragraph.
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH (6-8 semtemces) Start with a topic sentence that provides information about BOTH poems (use a “whereas” sentence—see Point-by-Point Contrast, Part One handout) Contextualizing (setting up) the thesis: The sentences between the topic sentence and the thesis will set-up your argument. In this paper, you will use a quote in your intro paragraph (and again in your concluding paragraph) to “frame” your analysis—a framing quote.
FRAMING QUOTE–A framing quote is the same quote used in both your introduction and concluding paragraphs. It “frames” (or “book-ends”) your argument. You use this quote to help set up your argument in the intro paragraph, and then you present it again in your concluding paragraph to help pull your points together. Use the following quote in the introduction (and conclusion) paragraph to frame your analysis:
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori. (Owen 25-28)
Use the quote above to help set up your argument/thesis. You can use it to demonstrate the purpose of both poems, because Brooke’s inspirational intent is the opposite of Owen’s warning—essentially, Owen warns against Brooke’s attitude. Since there’s no line or section that so clearly illustrates Brooke’s intent in The Soldier, using Owen easily establishes the intent of both poems (because Brooke’s is the opposite of it). Reminder: Using a quote in an intro and/or concluding paragraph isn’t necessarily the same as in a body paragraph, because it isn’t intended to support a main idea. It is intended to help set up the thesis. Still, all quotes must be introduced.
Previewing Your Main Points should be as simple as summarizing each topic sentence for each body paragraph. Note: You may or may not use any of the historical or biographical information in your intro paragraph—but you don’t want to use it in the body of your paper. You don’t want it to overwhelm your paper with unnecessary information, either. There is no need to explain every historical fact. Why don’t I have a quote from Brooke in the intro paragraph, when I have to have a quote from both in body paragraphs? As I stated above, I don’t have a quote from both poems in this intro, because there is no clear quote that conveys Brooke’s message in his poem. I can simply use the quote that conveys Owen’s message to set up my argument about both poems, since Owen is warning the reader against Brooke’s attitude. End the Paragraph with a Thesis Statement: Your thesis will contrast Brooke’s view of war (meaningful view) and his intent (to inspire) in The Soldier against Owen’s view of war (futile) that supports his intent (to warn) in Dulce et Decorum Est. Each view of war is composed of ideas/images. In order to make it easy to analyze, I broke the poems down into “parts” (or categories, as your Steps for Writers textbook calls them). I suggested the three “parts” you could contrast to the view of war in each poem: the idea of the soldier in each, the environment in each, and death in each. Thus, each one of these “parts” becomes the point you contrast in each body paragraph. Not only do I create categories for contrast that fit the poems, I contrast them sequentially—contrast beginning to beginning, middle to middle, etc.
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