Comparison/Contrast Essay Instructions

M3: Comparison/Contrast Essay Instructions

Write a five-paragraph essay with five to seven sentences in each paragraph comparing and contrasting two of the characters in our novel, The Last of the Mohicans.

Use MLA format.

Use 12-point Times New Roman, double space, use the tab key to indent at the beginning of each paragraph and do not use the enter key at the end of each line.

Important Note:

When you submit your essay, it will be automatically scanned for “cut and paste” or plagiarism. If your paper or parts of it have been lifted or taken from another source, you will not receive credit for the submission. There are no “second chances” if you submit a “copied” or plagiarized essay.

Document your source and quotation(s) using MLA style documentation including citations and a work cited page with appropriate entries.

Outline for a Five-Paragraph Essay

Paragraph 1: Introduction

The introductory paragraph should include the following elements: Background information: Enough information necessary for your reader to understand your topic

Thesis statement: Indicates your paper’s topic, makes your paper’s purpose clear, and provides an overview of the three main supporting points that will unify the essay. The thesis statement is typically the last sentence. If you are writing in response to a text, the introduction should include the title, author, and genre of that piece.

Paragraph 2: Body Paragraph

Begins with a topic sentence that identifies one main idea that will be discussed as support or proof for the thesis statement

Supporting sentences use specific details, demonstrated through closely related examples or evidence, to expand and explain the main idea.

Generally, a well-developed paragraph has at least five to eight sentences.

Paragraph unity means that all ideas in a paragraph are closely related to its topic sentence and further develop that topic sentence.

That is, all sentences in a single paragraph must be unified around a central point or idea.

Paragraph 3: Body Paragraph

This paragraph, and any subsequent body paragraph, should begin with a topic sentence that signals the reader that a new idea or point is being introduced.

As you organize your essay, keep in mind its coherence.

Coherence refers to connections among paragraphs and ideas—the logical sequence of your thoughts.

Use transition words or phrases at the outset of your body paragraphs and to move from one idea to another within your paragraphs.

Have you transitioned logically from the main idea in the previous paragraph to this one?

Are you making clear connections among the paragraphs and ideas? Be sure to think about coherence during the revision stage of the writing process.

Paragraph 4: Body Paragraph

This paragraph begins with the final topic sentence that relates back to the remaining point mentioned in the thesis statement.

Each paragraph should contain a new main idea.

Again, flesh out this main idea with specific examples, details, and relevant support.

Be sure to maintain paragraph unity. That is, each sentence must relate to your topic sentence. 

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

The conclusion revisits your overall purpose for writing and often invites your reader to consider the implications of why your ideas are significant.

The conclusion may restate the thesis, summarize the paper’s major points, or leave the reader with a final thought to ponder.

If you choose to restate the thesis or summarize the essay’s main ideas, do not repeat the same wording from the introduction or body paragraphs.

Remember not to introduce new, unrelated ideas in the conclusion.

Think of the introduction and conclusion as“bookends”that serve to hold the essay tightly together. The introduction will “push” into or initiate the examination of your topic and the angle you decide to focus on, while the conclusion will “pull” tight all the ideas that you have gathered together for a unified essay.

Remember, the five-paragraph model can be expanded to include more body paragraphs that probe more deeply into your subject. Check with your instructor to ensure whether or not you can exceed this length for an assignment.

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