Ever wondered what makes a good comparative essay, especially if you are writing on an advanced academic level and want to make a good impression on your professor? Good news then! Below, we have a couple of great compare and contrast essay examples for college that will help you wrap your head around this whole thing. More than that, we will quickly analyze each of these samples and tell you exactly what’s right and wrong with both of these examples. So, let’s get started!
Disclaimer: following compare and contrast essay examples are given for educational purposes only and cannot be considered original pieces. Use them for learning and inspiration, but do not turn them in — this could result in plagiarism accusation from your professor.
The following essay shows one of two acceptable patterns for writing a compare and contrast paper. It takes two notions (in this case, art epochs) and ‘dissects’ them by elements (in this case, subject matter, perspective, light & shade), comparing and contrasting each ‘dissected’ element side by side.
Byzantine vs Renaissance art
Byzantine and Renaissance art have surely contributed greatly to the history of world culture. Even though one period, that is Renaissance, practically followed another, the differences between these cultural epochs are tremendous. Differences in historical background have surely played their part in the development of various painting techniques during these epochs.
A crucial aspect that differs Byzantine art from that of Renaissance is a religious attitude. Byzantine art had a merely devotional purpose. The majority of Byzantine frescos have been made for religious matters and tended to create a feeling of enlightening rather than reality. Renaissance, however, focused mostly on realism and naturalism. Even though biblical motifs are often traceable in Renaissance painters' works, these artists did not neglect mythological elements either. As Byzantine artists were mostly concerned about piousness conveyed in their works, Renaissance artists were mostly interested in their creation's beauty.
Religious and philosophical attitudes that influenced the development of Byzantine and Early Renaissance cultures, surely, had an impact on the subject matter of the artists’ creative works. If Byzantine art is mostly known for its icons, with a rare exception of imperial portraits, Renaissance enjoyed a far greater scope for imagination.
A shift in subject matter was followed by a shift in painting techniques. As it was already mentioned, Byzantine artists focused on biblical motifs mostly. They experimented with color, depicting figures that would look flat and unnatural. Background details were often shimmering and setting schematized. On the whole, such a technique created a feeling of flatness and unnaturalness.
Renaissance period, on the contrary, focused on life-likeness of its art, therefore, Renaissance painters developed a number of techniques that would make their art more realistic and natural. Probably the most prominent of them are sfumato, or blending of shades to create a feeling of depth and volume; chiaroscuro, or contrasting light and dark hues in order to convey an impression of three-dimensions; and foreshortening, creating an illusion of figures gradually retreating to the painting background.
Another important change during the Renaissance period concerned attitude towards perspective. Byzantine art was two-dimensional. Renaissance painters, on the contrary, tried to create a feeling of volume and depth, making their figures more accurate and precise.
Use of light and shade during the Byzantine era differed drastically from that of Renaissance. The use of light and shadow had a dialectical purpose in Byzantine masters' works. During Renaissance there was no need in didactical elements, that is why it is not surprising that most prominent artists of that epoch were working on their tonality to create additional, intermediate shades. While Byzantine painters focused on creating contrast, Renaissance masters were trying to preserve the lifelikeness of their depictions.
Therefore, in spite all differences in technique, composition, use of shade and light in Byzantine and Renaissance art, the most important thing that differed Byzantine and Renaissance painting was the feeling of reality. While Byzantine works were based on contrast and abstractness, Renaissance paintings managed to create an impression of lifelikeness and naturalism.
Now that you have read this compare and contrast essay sample, let’s find out what our author did right… and see what else could be improved to get you that A+!
Good topic introduction: this opening paragraph makes it pretty clear what is going to be discussed in main body parts, which is always a great plus.
Great paragraph organization: paragraphs are short and to the point; plus, comparing and contrasting two epochs by specific elements makes it easier for the reader to follow the author’s point.
Clear logical transitions: notice how smoothly our author moves from subject matter to perspective and so forth. Such clear transitions always make up for a smooth and easy read.
No information about topic relevance: even though this paper is well-written, the author fails to mention why he’s comparing these art epochs in the first place. What makes them so special? Why is this comparison relevant today?
Unimpressive conclusion: this part looks rushed-through. And, once again, it fails to mention why the heck readers should care about this comparison in the first place.
This paper is written in a slightly different style. Instead of comparing and contrasting specific points within both stories, it first analyses story #1, then story #2, and then draws all relevant conclusions.
Position of a woman in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and George Eliot’s Middlemarch
Apart from other social themes, both Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Middlemarch by George Eliot deal with a woman's position in a Victorian society. On the face of it, two main characters, Dorothea Brook in Middlemarch and Jane Eyre in Bronte’s novel are placed in different conditions; however, certain similarities can be traced. Both Middlemarch and Jane Eyre emphasize women as submissive, secondary characters who are supposed to live as shadows of their husbands, never minding their own talents and desires.
In Middlemarch, we see that Dorothea desperately tries to take part in certain social activities, such as improving cottagers' living conditions or helping her husband with his work on ancient mythology. However, she faces opposition from the society governed by men. Women, according to Middlemarch, were born to become wives, taking care of their homes and husbands and never meddling in puter world affairs. What is more, “women were expected to have weak opinions” (Eliot).
A submissive position of any woman is strengthened by the fact that even after his death, Mr. Casaubon, Dorothea’s husband, goes on imposing his will on her by his testament, in which he forbids his wife to marry Will Ladislaw on condition that she is going to be deprived of his property. The lives of the Brooke sisters, Dorothea and Celia, are vivid examples of this position. Throughout the whole novel, both of them are trying to take part in social life but always find themselves under adversity, facing certain difficulties, either financial or moral. Finally, Celia is shown as a completely disappointed person, while Dorothea seems to be happy. However, we realize that her life differs greatly from the one she expected to lead at the beginning of the novel.
Jane Eyre is a story of a different kind. On the face of it, the description of a woman’s position is even more dependent than the ones of Dorothea and Celia. However, in spite of her situation, Jane tries to maintain her independence. Her world outlook is different from that of women in Middlemarch, and, surely, it changes Jane’s attitude towards life. As an orphan, she got used to taking care of herself without any outside help that leads to social independence in the way of thinking and acting, which is often taken for a feministic line in the narration.
This idea of equality goes through the whole novel and is described by Bronte as the ideal way of building a relationship between a husband and wife. She utterly rejects the idea of the father-like husband we encountered in Middlemarch. Interestingly, Bronte does not stress the necessity of a marriage in woman’s life, but we can see that this is still the only option for her in the final scenes of Jane Eyre, since they depict an idyllic picture of a married couple. In spite of Jane’s seeming independence and separation from her contemporary ladies, she still follows their steps, even though she bears a different attitude towards reality. Jane is also supposed to be “conventionally vague and polite” (Bronte), and play a part of a perfect wife, just like other women. However, her attitude and thoughts of equality, do not hurt her, like Brooke sisters in Middlemarch; on the contrary, they seem to give her powers to endure any situation.
To sum it up, Middlemarch and Jane Eyre both deal with the description of woman’s fate, placing a special emphasis on the role of marriage. The novels coincide in the idea of marriage necessity in a woman’s life; however, they disagree on the question of female attitude towards it. Characters in Middlemarch are obviously inferior to their husbands, while Bronte in Jane Eyre is one of the first authors to bring up the issue of equality between men and women.
This is a great compare and contrast essay example that is based on literary analysis. And, even though it will definitely get you a solid B (or even an A-), there is still some room for improvement. But let’s start on a positive note.
Emotional hook in the intro: the author immediately draws attention to gender inequality, which will (generally) have a strong reaction from both men and women.
Factual proof from the original text: there are quotes from the original text, which gives credibility to the author’s logic.
Clear deductions in the conclusion: essay conclusion quickly sums up the main findings of the paper to remind the reader of the most important points analyzed in this paper.
Too many assumptions: at the same time, our writer makes too many assumptions in the body text — and, even though there is textual evidence to prove the student's point of view, these conclusions are not always evident. This, in turn, gives the paper a biased look.
Hopefully, these examples of compare and contrast essay have given you a better idea on how to approach your own paper. If however, you still feel that compare and contrast essay samples are not enough, and you would like to get more practical help, you can always order a custom paper from our professional writing team!