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Write a comparative essay of 850-1000 words on two of the literary texts on the syllabus assigned from Jan. 27 to Feb. 18. You are to arrive at a topic of your own choice, involving the comparison or contrast of two works (stories, poems, or plays). The assignment requires constant reference to the relevant literary texts, including judiciously selected quotations which support your interpretive argument. The topics are designed to encourage your efforts at critical reading and writing; additional secondary reading is neither required nor expected. However, if you do incorporate some ideas from secondary reading, be sure to cite these secondary sources appropriately. 

TOPIC: Focus on the literary treatment of innocence vs. experience as a subject in the two works. For instance, do they share some central moral idea, or some philosophical, social, political, or religious concerns involving their attitudes toward innocence and experience? Or instead do they differ significantly in their treatment of such concerns or attitudes? Are there interesting or surprising points of similarity or difference in the ways in which ideas of innocence and experience are represented in the works? Your paper should take into account at least two significant features of form and style that express the works’ attitudes towards the theme of innocence and experience. These may include the works’ structure, point of view, tone, irony, imagery, symbolism, etc. 

You have probably written comparison/contrast essays in previous writing courses, so this may seem a familiar task. However, you must keep in mind that comparison/contrast essays need to make a point. A thesis like the following is worthless: “Poem X is similar to Poem Y in many ways, but also different.” An effective comparison/contrast essay always keeps the reader’s focus on the purpose of the comparison, i.e., what significant insights can be gained by the comparison. See Abcarian & Klotz, pp. 56-59 for useful advice on organizing an essay of comparison on a literary topic, including a sample student essay

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