Comparative Essays Ap World History

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Your professor is probably not interested in your opinion of the novel; instead, she wants you to think about it’s such a great novel—what do Huck’s adventures tell us about life, about America, about coming of age, about race relations, etc.?

First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. That’s fine—begin to work on comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover.

You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper: While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government. Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: you will most likely provide a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel.

The question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze.

This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing.

After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence.A reader of this weak thesis might think, “What reasons? Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong?You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason.Now you write: Here’s a working thesis with potential: you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation; however, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions.Your reader is intrigued, but is still thinking, “So what? Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters.You turn on the computer and type out the following: This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information.You will expand on this new information in the body of the essay, but it is important that the reader know where you are heading. ” Ask yourself these same questions and begin to compare Northern and Southern attitudes (perhaps you first think, “The South believed slavery was right, and the North thought slavery was wrong”).Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment.Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships.Yearlong course that outlines, you will also practice exam.Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying.


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