compare and contrast essay
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COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY Students will compare (similarities) and contrast (differences) key themes and issues in two cultures within one chronological period. It will focus on at least two different societies or civilizations, which are probably interacting with each other in some manner or method. Traditionally, students are much more comfortable with this type of essay, and it is easiest to begin with this type first. Nevertheless, students will not have a choice about which essay to write. They may choose between two or three sub-themes or regions, but all students will write the same essays on relatively the same topic. One possible prompt would be: compare and contrast one West European and one African state during the Post-Classical Era. Two states would be France and Mali Again all essays must have an acceptable thesis, which addresses all parts of the similarities and differences between two subjects or themes mentioned in the prompt. It is best in the thesis paragraph or thesis statement to make a significant and direct comparison. It is not acceptable to simply say, “the two civilizations were similar and different” – specify how they are similar and different. The paragraphs which follow should compare and contrast three themes or groups. Maintain parallel order as described in your thesis sentence. Each paragraph should have a detailed and specific sub-topic sentence. A possible thesis sentence based on the prompt above is: While Mali and France of the Post-Classical Era shared many governmental and economic similarities, their religious practices were quite different. Students must substantiate the thesis with appropriate historical evidence. It is not sufficient to make a statement without use of proof or evidence. Students should use evidence, which is clear and detailed. In each paragraph, students should cite include key vocabulary, dates, historical events, persons, trends, and occurrences. The simplest formula is to have one fact per comparison category, if the grouping is government, your paragraph should have at least one piece of evidence on Malian and one on French government. An example is PostClassical French government was largely feudal with a king distributing lands to nobles in exchange for service. Nobles maintained local order and justice and were obligated to give the king 40 days of military service yearly. Similarly, Mali had a king and power was held regionally by provincial elites. Students must make two or more relevant, direct comparisons between or among societies. Because of this, students should organize their essays by grouping in a relevant manner. The acronym P.E.R.S.I.A.N. or S.C.R.I.P.T.E.D. will suffice, and they should use three major groups. Within the groups, the student should compare and contrast the two civilizations. In the above example, please note the underlined word “similarly”. It sets up a directed comparison. Many words do the same. And students must analyze at least one reason for a similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison. Such a sentence could be: while France was a feudal kingdom, Mali was a tribute empire. Feudalism was established because the king could not adequately defend the realm. He was the nobles superior. A tribute empire was regional because the king exacted tribute from regional nobles but often did not rule them directly.
CHART: COMPARE & CONTRAST TWO CIVILIZATIONS COMPARISON REGION/EVENT: Europe Japan COMPARISON THEMES (3): Social Political Philosophy and Religion
THESIS: Define Feudalism. Time and Place Give Dates for each. Explain the reason for the rise of feudalism in each region. 1ST 2nd Analyze one reason Region or Event Region or Event why each theme is similar/different Similarities and
Differences 1st Theme (1st Body Paragraph Social
2nd Theme (2nd body Paragraph Political
3rd Theme (3rd body paragraph ) Philosoph y and religion
-Lord = nobility -Knight (vassal) – Fief =Land -Peasants own no land=have no rights -women have no rights -Merchants good
-Daimyo= lord -Samurai (vassal) -Shugo = land -Peasants own land = have rights -women are more equal (can be samurai) -Merchants bad
Three social classes based on birth and land ownership. Treatment of peasants and women are better in Japan.
-Many states -Decentralized -Many loyalties -Kingdoms are self sufficient (Manorialism) -Constant warfare
-Centralized Control -Military dictatorship -No multiple loyalties -The shoen (villages) need trade
Chivalry: Knights got paid in land. Protect women, poor, church, fight only as a last resort (men only) -Religion and government are mixed
Bushido: Loyalty, fight and die for the lord. Women can be samurai. Ritual suicide is necessary to preserve honor. Open to all religions.
-In both the lords own independent realms = local laws, taxes, army, castles -Difference: Europe is constantly at war. Japan unifies under a Shogun Japanese personal code while in Europe the Pope is the voice of God on Earth. Knights serve a larger community and Salvation does not depend on honor.
CONCLUSION: Restate thesis and describe the decline of feudalism in each region.
Japanese history has strong farmers and women. They chose feudalism. While European (Roman history) is based on strong male roles and feudalism was necessary due to external crisis. (The fall of Rome) The Japanese need peace to facilitate trade. The history of Confucianism led to respect for one strong leader.
Religion and philosophy are personal in Japan and based on Confucian values. European values tend towards personal profit.