Compare and Contrast Essay Assignment:

Choose TWO of the textbook readings we’ve discussed so far and develop an argument based on a significant comparison and/or contrast you observe between the two authors. Your essay must have a THESIS and you must use QUOTES from the essay and close read them to provide support for your thesis. You may also provide specific personal examples or observations from your life as further support for your thesis.

Here are possible texts to choose from:

  • 1-3c Susan Bordo: “The Globalization of Eating Disorders”
  • 4-4 Chang-rae Lee: “Mute in an English-Only World”
  • 5-1 Lizette Alvarez: “Arranged Marriages Get a Little Reshuffling”
  • 5-4 Elaine Sciolino: “The French, the Veil, and the Look”
  • 5-6 Barbara Ehrenreich and Annette Fuentes: “Life on the Global Assembly Line”
  • 6-4 Johan Norberg: “The Noble Feat of Nike”

Here are some questions to help you brainstorm and examples of possible topics to get you started! Remember that these are here to help you think through your answer to the main assignment. They may inform your thinking, but they should be consulted—NOT answered as a list.

  • Compare or contrast the effects of media culture in Susan Bordo’s “The Globalization of Eating Disorders” and in Lizette Alvarez’s “Arranged Marriages Get a Little Reshuffling.” Do you think the “media images” of online dating sites bring harmful or beneficial changes to the arranged marriage of traditional cultures? How does Bordo’s attitude toward Western ideas and technology differ from Alvarez’s attitude?
  • In Chang-rae Lee’s “Mute in an English-Only World” and Elaine Sciolino’s “The French, the Veil, and the Look,” people of different cultures interact, whether it be Korean immigrants and their American neighbors, or Muslim women and the French population. What role does fear play in the cultural interactions of both essays? How do cultural differences affect the laws—from the “laws requiring that half of any commercial sign in a foreign language be in English” to the official ban on “the wearing of full-face veils”—similarly or differently? How do these laws, in turn, influence the society, as a whole?
  • In “Life on the Global Assembly Line,” Barbara Ehrenreich and Annette Fuentes’s argument contrasts greatly with Johan Norberg’s thesis in “The Noble Feat of Nike” about the effects of multinational corporations taking their business to Third World countries. Why do these two authors come to such different conclusions? How do the emphasis and evidence of their essays vary? Could the contradiction they present be resolved in any way? Is there any point the authors agree on—and if so, why?
  • Pick any two argumentative essays and consider the following questions: what are the strengths you find in the authors’ claims? What are the weaknesses? Is one author’s argument more convincing than another? What counterarguments are these authors not considering? How might your own personal experience support their views, add to or complicate their perspectives, or even show where they might be wrong?

Writing Goals:

  • Learn to respond to a broad prompt and argue your own independent position by establishing a focused, sustained THESIS
  • Learn how to examine textual quotes through CLOSE READING
  • Learn how to engage in ANALYSIS rather than summary

I chose these 2:

  • 5-6 Barbara Ehrenreich and Annette Fuentes: “Life on the Global Assembly Line”
  • 6-4 Johan Norberg: “The Noble Feat of Nike”

Essay should be in MLA Format, Times New Roman, 12pt Font, Double-spaced, 4 pages long with work cited attached.


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