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DISCOUNT CODE FIRST25
3-4 pages long, double-spaced, MLA format
comparing two poems
make sure that you have a thesis that makes an opinionated argument and provides a clear focus for your essay
Langston Hughes wrote a famous piece of literary criticism, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” in which he posits that the “job” of an African American poet is to promote black pride. Hughes asserts that an African American poet should “change through the force of his art that old whispering ‘I want to be white’…to ‘Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro—and beautiful’” (701). Focusing on this assertion, compare “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “I, Too.” Considering theme, speaker, metaphor, personification, and/or other literary devices, let your comparison bring you to an evaluation of the poems. Which poem better achieves Hughes’ stated goal? (Be sure to answer the question in bold in your thesis!)
Tips for Writing a Successful Comparison/Contrast Paper:
Don’t state the obvious. Point out similarities between two works that initially seem different or differences between two works that initially seem similar.
Avoid a laundry list of all the differences and similarities you can find; choose the most meaningful similarities or differences, the ones that help prove your thesis.
Give yourself a clear focus in your thesis. Overall, is your point that these works are primarily similar or different? Try a “While…” or “Although…” structure: “Although Disneyland and Magic Mountain are both theme parks, their differing philosophies, events, and community involvement reveal Disneyland to be the superior of the two.” Organize using the point-by-point method. This means that you will be using evidence from BOTH poems in each body paragraph. In addition, you may want to use a secondary method of organization, such as chronology or order of importance.
Use transitions in your topic sentences to show your reader why you are moving from one idea to the next. “Similarly, Disneyland also has its fair share of thrill rides.” OR “In contrast to Magic Mountain’s lack of community activism, Disneyland promotes community service as a major part of its publicity.
Additional Tips for Success:
Make sure to develop an opinionated thesis.
Support all claims with evidence from the text.
Close read as much as possible—remember, you need to ANALYZE your evidence to prove your point.
Avoid plot summary; your classmates and I are your audience, so you can assume that we know what happens in the poem.
Follow MLA format throughout; cite all quotes using parenthetical citations; include a Works Cited page.
My preference is that you do not use any sources for this paper other than the poems themselves. However, if you do consult any sources on the internet or elsewhere, those must be cited both in the body of your paper AND on your Works Cited page. Otherwise, you will be plagiarizing. If you have any questions about this, please ask me before your turn your essay in.
Consider going to the Writing Center for help with your prewriting/brainstorming/outlining.
DISCOUNT CODE FIRST25