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Essay Compare And Contrast Two Stories Modern

Comparison and contrast are processes of identifying how ideas, people, or things are alike (comparison) and how they are different (contrast). Although you have probably been writing compare/contrast papers since grade school, it can be a difficult form to master.

Such assignments require you to move beyond mere description by thinking deeply about the items being compared, identifying meaningful relationships between them, and deciding which qualities are most significant. This process involves evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing your findings and presenting them in a meaningful, interesting, and logical way.

Structure

There are two general formats for compare and contrast papers:

1. The block, divided, or whole-to-whole format

Evaluates Subject A in its entirety and then Subject B in its entirety. This format can result in two separate papers, joined by an awkward transition. Follow the tips below to develop a seamless and unified paper using the block format:

  • Provide a clear introduction and thesis that not only spells out the major similarities and differences you will be discussing but that answers the question, “So what? ”
  • “Pepper” references to both topics throughout the paper, where appropriate.
  • Link the two sections with a strong transition that demonstrates the relationships between the subjects. Remind the reader of your thesis, summarize the key points you have made about Subject A, and preview the points you will be making about Subject B.
  • Conclude the paper by summarizing and analyzing the findings, once again reminding the reader of the relationships you have noted between Subject A and Subject B

2. The alternating, integrated, or point-by point comparison

Explores one point of similarity or difference about each subject, followed by a second point, and so on. Some pointers:

  • Provide a clear introduction and thesis that not only spells out the major similarities and differences you will be discussing but that answers the question, “So what? ”
  • To avoid creating a glorified list, synthesize and organize the material in a logical way.
  • Conclude the paper by summarizing and analyzing the findings, once again reminding the reader of the relationships you have noted between Subject A and Subject B.

Brainstorming

When we first begin thinking about a subject, we generally start by listing obvious similarities and differences, but as we continue to explore, we should begin to notice qualities that are more significant, complex, or subtle. For example, when considering apples and oranges, we would immediately observe that both are edible, both grow on trees, and both are about the size of a baseball. But such easy observations don't deepen our knowledge of apples and oranges. An interesting and meaningful compare/contrast paper should help us understand the things we are discussing more fully than we would if we were to consider them individually.

Selectivity: Sharpening the Focus

As you approach a compare/contrast paper, ask the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the assignment?
  • Which of the similarities and differences that I have observed are relevant to the assignment and the themes of the course? In an economics course, it might be appropriate to consider how the markets for apples and oranges have changed, which is more popular fruit and why, which is more expensive to produce, and so on. In a humanities course, it might be fruitful to consider why we seem to have so many more cultural references to apples than to oranges.
  • What is the most interesting basis of comparison for this topic? Of the similarities and differences that I have noted, which are obvious or merely descriptive, and which are significant? Which will lead to a meaningful analysis and an interesting paper?

Recognizing the Compare/Contrast Assignment

Some assignments use the words “compare, ” “contrast, ” “similarities, ” and “differences. ” Others may not use these terms but may nevertheless require you to compare and/or contrast. Still others may require comparison and/or contrast as only part of the assignment. Some examples:

  • Select two fast food chains and discuss the approaches they have used in gaining entry into the global marketplace.
  • How do the authors we have studied thus far define and describe racism?
  • Choose a theme, such as fellowship, faith, or hope, and consider how it is treated in the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • The analysis in Ronald Rogowski's book Commerce and Coalitions ends in the 1980s. Extend his analysis to two countries, Canada and a country of your choice, from 1990 to 2000. Using Rogowski's theory, predict how the change in exposure to international trade should affect political conflict in Canada and the country you chose.
  • Analyze the various data security options available to online businesses and recommend one to your boss, Sally Simple, President of Simply Simple, Inc.
  • I want to invest in satellite radio. Which is the better choice: Sirius or XM?

Transitional Markers to Indicate Comparison and Contrast

Transitional markers are words or phrases that show the connections and relationships among ideas. They are often placed at or near the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. There are many such words, but here are some of the most useful terms:

Words to indicate comparison: in comparison, similarly, likewise, in the same way, parallel to, correlate, identically, akin to, consistent with, also, too, analogous to, correspondingly

Words to indicate contrast: in contrast, however, on the other hand, nevertheless, although, counter to, on the contrary, conversely, rather than, in opposition to, opposite of Sample Introductory Paragraph

Below is a sample of an introduction from a literary compare and contrast paper written by student Kate James: (Some of the terms she uses to indicate comparison and contrast are in boldface.)

Because America itself is still a relatively young nation, its poetry, too, lacks the years of history and growth that have defined the voices of other nations. However, within the past century, American poetry has developed into a distinctive and accomplished art of its own. The creation of this poetic voice is often attributed to Walt Whitman, who has been coined “the father of American poetry.” His revolutionary style and untraditional subject matter, exemplified in his renowned poem “Song of Myself,” have paved the way for future generations of American writers. Furthermore, his unique use of the line and breath has had a great influence on many poets' own work, particularly the writing of the more contemporary poet Allen Ginsberg, whose controversial poem “Howl” echoes many of the characteristics of Whitman's verse. However, while the form and content of “Howl” may have been influenced by “Song of Myself,” Ginsberg's poem signifies a transformation of Whitman's use of the line, his first-person narration, and his vision of America. As Whitman's sprawling lines open outward in the voice of a cosmic speaker who creates a positive view of America, Ginsberg's poem does the opposite, using long lines that close inward to mimic the suffocation and madness that characterize the vision of America that he presents through the voice of a prophetic speaker.

*Thesis Statement

After she developed the introduction and thesis, Kate had to decide which format would be most effective for organizing her argument and proving her thesis. One way to decide which structure to use is to create outlines that visually organize the information:

Sample Block Format Outline

  1. Introduction/thesis
  2. Poets' Use of Line
  3. Voice of First Person Speaker
  4. Vision of America
  5. Discussion/analysis
  6. Conclusion

Sample Integrated Format Outline

  1. Introduction/thesis
  2. Whitman's “Song of Myself”
    • Use of Line
    • Voice of First Person Speaker
    • Vision of America
  3. Ginsberg's “Howl”
    • Use of Line
    • Voice of First Person Speaker
    • Vision of America
  4. Discussion/analysis
  5. Conclusion

In this case, Kate decided that the integrated format would be more effective because it allowed for the side-by-side analysis of passages that illustrated the three primary qualities that she noticed in the poems.

Sample Paragraph in the Block Format

In the following paragraph from “American Space, Chinese Place, ” writer Yi-Fu Tuan fully discusses space in America before turning to an analysis of place in China:

Americans have a sense of space, not of place. Go to an American home in exurbia, and almost the first thing you do is drift toward the picture window. How curious that the first compliment you pay your host inside his house is to say how lovely it is outside his house! He is pleased that you should admire his vistas. The distant horizon is not merely a line separating earth from sky, it is a symbol of the future. The American is not rooted in his place, however lovely: his eyes are drawn by the expanding space to a point on the horizon, which is his future. By contrast, consider the traditional Chinese home. Blank walls enclose it. Step behind the spirit wall and you are in a courtyard with perhaps a miniature garden around a corner. Once inside his private compound you are wrapped in an ambiance of calm beauty, an ordered world of buildings, pavement, rock, and decorative vegetation. But you have no distant view: nowhere does space open out before you. Raw nature in such a home is experienced only as weather, and the only open space is the sky above. The Chinese is rooted in his place. When he has to leave, it is not for the promised land on the terrestrial horizon, but for another world altogether along the vertical, religious axis of his imagination.

--from DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy. Frames of Mind. Thomson Wadsworth. 2005. p. 260

Sample Paragraph in the Alternating Format

In the book Oranges, author John McPhee wanted to help readers appreciate the difference between Florida and California oranges. Here's a sample paragraph from the book:

An orange grown in Florida usually has a thick and tightly fitting skin, and is also heavy with juice. Californians say that if you want to eat a Florida orange you have to get into a bathtub first. California oranges are light in weight and have thick skins that break easily and come off in hunks. The flesh inside is marvelously sweet, and the segments almost separate themselves. In Florida, it is said that you can run over a California orange with a ten-ton truck and not even wet the pavement. The differences from which these hyperboles arise will prevail in the two states even if the type of orange is the same. In arid climates, like California's, oranges develop a thick albedo, which is the white part of the skin. Florida is one of the two or three most rained-upon states in the United States. California uses the Colorado River and similarly impressive sources to irrigate its oranges, but of course irrigation can only do so much. The annual difference in rainfall between the Florida and California orange-growing areas is one million one hundred and forty thousand gallons per acre. For years, California was the leading orange-growing state, but Florida surpassed California in 1942, and grows three times as many oranges now. California oranges, for their part, can safely be called three times as beautiful.

--from DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy. Frames of Mind. Thomson Wadsworth. 2005. p. 260

Fran Hooker & Kate James, Webster University Writing Center, 2007

You’re looking for a great compare and contrast essay topic to kick start your assignment. How can you choose an interesting topic that’s simultaneously narrow yet broad enough to provide you with plenty of great material?

In this blog post, I’ll give you 70 compare and contrast essay topics. I’ve also included links to sample essays for even more inspiration.

With many of these topics, I’ll also give you some basic compare and contrast points to get your ideas going. Note that my points are pretty general.

When you write your compare and contrast essay, you’ll want to dig deep, do your research, and find the most interesting facts.

Let’s get started!

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Influential People

It’s time to dust off your powers of creativity and have some fun comparing and contrasting influential people.

People are the definition of unique—no two are exactly alike. The challenge is to find the similarities between two individuals, even when they seem to have nothing in common.

Comparing two people from a similar background is pretty easy. But surprising comparisons—such as those between fictional characters and real-life people or between people from different epochs—can lead to the most interesting essays.

When you successfully make those unlikely connections, readers will be awestruck by your sheer brilliance.

1. Mahatma Gandhi vs. Osama Bin Laden

Mahatma Gandhi and Osama Bin Laden were both extremely influential figures who successfully motivated thousands of people to act on behalf of their visions. Both leaders were killed by their opposition.

Gandhi was a pacifist and a bastion of peace and compassion. He fought for freedom and civil rights. Bin Laden was an extreme militant and a bastion of war and intolerance. He fought for the implementation of extreme religious propaganda.

2. Edward Snowden vs. Julius Caesar

Both Edward Snowden and Julius Caesar played an instrumental role in the inevitable demise of the powerful institutions in which they functioned—Snowden the 21st century United States of America and Caesar the Roman Republic.

Snowden fights for the rights of the people, while Caesar fought against the people in his quest for ultimate power.

Speaking of Romans:The Roman and Han empires make for an interesting comparison. Even though the two nations were separated by time and geography, they experienced striking similarities in technological, political, and economic advances.

3. OJ Simpson vs. Tom Robinson

OJ Simpson and Tom Robinson were both black men who stood accused of violence against white women. Both men were convicted for these crimes. Their convictions left behind a debate as to whether the men were actually brought to justice or rather were victims of racial injustice.

Tom Robinson is a fictional character from the book To Kill a Mockingbird. OJ Simpson is a real-life former NFL player. Tom Robinson was sentenced to death, while OJ Simpson received a prison sentence.

4. Harriet Jacobs vs. Frederick Douglass

Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass were former slaves who became abolitionists. Both Jacobs and Douglass wrote profound autobiographical accounts of their lives as slaves that helped form the argument against slavery.

Harriet Jacobs wrote about the struggles and hardships unique to women in slavery, such as sexual abuse. Frederick Douglass wrote about the struggles and hardships specific to men in slavery, such as emasculation. Douglass went on to become a well-known orator and ran for vice president on the Equal Party Ticket. Jacobs remained an important but relatively unrecognized figure in the abolitionist movement.

 5. Adolf Hitler vs. Joseph Stalin

Both Hitler and Stalin were dictators who achieved a high level of power during WWI and WWII. Both men were behind innumerable human atrocities that killed millions of innocent people.

Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party in Germany. Stalin was the leader of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. Nazism, by definition, is opposed to communism.

6. Maya Angelou vs. Alice Walker

Maya Angelou and Alice Walker are both well-known African American authors. They are credited with contributing important fictional and non-fictional texts on the issues surrounding what it means to be black in the United States. They are both inspirational political and civil rights activists. They are both recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition to writing, Angelou is also known for her work as an actress and film and television producer. Even though they addressed similar topics in their writings, the two authors wrote in very different styles—each with her own unique voice.

7. Hobbes vs. Locke

Hobbes and Locke were both 17th century English philosophers. They were both interested in exploring political philosophy. Both men, for instance, talked about a state of nature—the idea of man existing without government—and the dangers of such a state (though that’s where their similarities largely ended on the topic).

Hobbes and Locke disagreed on a number of issues. For example, Hobbes believed that man is by nature a social animal, while Locke believed the opposite. Hobbes believed that man has an intrinsic understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Locke believed that man only understands the difference between right and wrong when an authority, such as the law or God, enforces it.

8. Ellen DeGeneres vs. Oprah Winfrey

Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey are both American television personalities who have hosted their own daytime talk shows. Both women have been extremely successful in their careers.

As a comedienne, DeGeneres relies on witty humor and sarcastic criticism to convey her messaging, while the more serious Winfrey relies on inspiration, insights, and aha moments.

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” – Ellen DeGeneres

 9. Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois were both early 20th century civil rights activists. They were both great leaders of the black community. Both men were also accomplished scholars.

Washington and DuBois disagreed on how to go about achieving racial equality. Washington believed that African Americans should earn equality through self-help and hard work. DuBois, conversely, believed that African Americans needed to become better educated and more politically active.

10. Plato vs. Socrates

Plato and Socrates were both ancient Greek philosophers. They are considered to be the founders of Western philosophy. Both men also founded a school.

Socrates was Plato’s teacher and mentor. Socrates expounded on the wisdom of “I know that I know nothing.” Plato philosophized that the world of ideas was the only constant and that the world of senses is changeable.

11. Adolf Hitler vs. Regina George

Adolf Hitler and Regina George both can be considered dictators in their own right. Both Hitler and George believed that people with blonde hair, blue eyes, and other Aryan features were somehow better than other people.

Adolf Hitler was a real person, dictator, and founder of Nazism in Germany. He was responsible for countless human atrocities, including the murder of over 6 million Jews. Regina George is a fictional character from the 2004 movie Mean Girls. George’s biggest human atrocity is the creation of the Burn Book, a book that libels the other students in school.

 12. Pope Francis vs. Macklemore

Both Pope Francis and Macklemore believe in love, equality, and showing compassion to others. Both are cultural icons. Both men have the ability to reach out to and speak to the masses.

Pope Francis is the leader of the Catholic Church. Macklemore is an American entertainer and hip-hop rapper. Macklemore “wears your grandad’s clothes,” while Pope Francis is old enough to be your grandad.

13. Lin-Manual Miranda vs. William Shakespeare

Both playwrights have changed the face of theater forever. Both playwrights have been criticized for creating historically inaccurate works. Both writers make political and social commentary in their plays.

Shakespeare’s plays were not musicals (though they often contained musical components). Miranda’s most famous play, Hamilton, is a wildly successful musical. Shakespeare lived and wrote in the 16th century, while Miranda is a contemporary playwright.

14. Ronald Reagan vs. Donald Trump

Reagan and Trump were both television and media stars before becoming president. When they were first elected, many people feared that neither one of these men would be strong or effective leaders.

When Reagan took office, interest rates and inflation were high. Trump, on the other hand, entered office with historically low inflation and interest rates. Many people believed Reagan understood the problems with government and believed he was willing to work with citizens to help solve problems. Trump has claimed that he alone will be able to solve problems.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: History

15. 19th century living vs. modern living

16. The Roman vs. Han empires

17. Medicine in Ancient Greece vs. medicine in Ancient China

18. Media coverage of past wars vs. media coverage of current wars

19. Russian propaganda during the Cold War vs. Russian propaganda today

20. The Great Depression vs. the Great Recession

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Religion

When you set out to compare and contrast world religions, you may feel like you have fallen down a rabbit hole. A student I know once wrote an essay comparing Jesus Christ and Snow White—talk about falling down a rabbit hole!

What’s more, the crossovers between two opposing religions can be surprising.

21. Protestantism vs. Catholicism

Protestants were originally a part of the Catholic Church. So they still believe that Jesus is the savior and that he was crucified and rose from the dead to save humanity.

Among their many differences, Catholics believe in Holy Water, purgatory, and that those wafers you eat at mass are actually, literally the body of Christ. Protestants don’t believe in any of that. (While protestants do take communion, they don’t think the wafers are really a piece of flesh.) Catholics have nuns, priests, and a pope. Protestants don’t.

 22. Theravada vs. Mahayana Buddhism

Both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism follow Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. Both reject the notion of a god or gods (they are nontheistic). Both believe theistic religions are misguided.

Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism have some basic philosophical differences. For example, Theravada Buddhists believe that Buddha died, leaving his teachings behind. Mahayana Buddhists believe that Buddha lives on in various incarnations.

 23. Judaism vs. Christianity

Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic religions that teach about one almighty God. Both are Abrahamic religions. Both religions teach the Old Testament. Both believe in angels, demons, and spirits as spiritual beings.

Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ was the messiah and that he will return to Earth one day. Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of humankind. Judaism teaches that Jesus was a teacher and a prophet of God, but not God himself. Judaism also rejects the notion of Jesus’s sacrifice.

24. Religious mindset vs. cult following

Both organized religions and cults seek spiritual enlightenment and follow the teachings of a leader. Both have members with varying levels of practice and extremism.

Cults are more likely to attempt to extort money from their followers. Cults are also more likely than religions to use mind-control to force members into following the teachings of the cult.

25. Jesus Christ vs. Buddha

Jesus Christ and Buddha were both spiritual leaders. Both were teachers and tutors during their time on Earth. Both were miraculously conceived, performed miracles, and were tempted but overcame the devil.

Though Jesus performed several notable miracles, Buddha did not. Buddha believed that he lived his life in search of the truth, while Jesus believed he was the truth.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Countries and Politics

26. Salem Witch Trials vs. McCarthyism

27. Welfare programs in the US vs. welfare programs in Canada

28. Malaysian government vs. Singapore government

29. The Democratic vs. Republican parties in the US

30. Classical liberalism vs. modern liberalism

31. Today’s Democratic liberals vs. today’s Republican conservatives

32. Past presidential elections vs. the most recent presidential election

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Education

You can compare and contrast different facets of education until you are as blue as a Smurf. To succeed, you’re better served by pitting two veryspecific elements of education against each other.

The trick is to narrow your angle down to a tight focus while leaving room to write enough compelling points to describe the differences and similarities.

33. Private vs. public universities

Both private and public universities offer a range of academic courses and opportunities. Both allow students to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.

Private universities are typically more expensive. The College Board reports that for the 2013-2014 school year, private universities cost over $30,000 for one year of tuition, while public universities cost just over $8,000 for in-state and $22,000 for out-of-state tuition. However, private institutions are known to offer better financial aid options.

 34. Small vs. large universities

Both small and large universities can provide students with the opportunities to achieve educational goals. Both offer bachelor’s degrees. (We’re not comparing the size of their parties here…but you could!)

Small universities offer individualized majors, smaller class sizes, and hands-on learning opportunities. Large universities offer state-of-the art research facilities, a wider range of academic programs, and more student clubs and events.

 35. High school vs. college

High school is a stepping stone to attending college. Students need to successfully complete the curriculum of both educational institutions in order to advance in many careers. Both institutions employ instructors to teach coursework. Both require students to refer to textbooks. Both require substantial homework.

High school allows for fewer academic choices. Students are typically limited to a state-designed curriculum that does not take into account a student’s particular strengths and interests. College is a time for students to focus on courses that are specific to their career goals.

36. Online vs. traditional classes

Both online and traditional classes offer education toward a degree program. Students have access to instructors in both class formats. Both involve some form of discussion among classmates. Both often have group projects.

Online classes allow for more flexibility than traditional classes. Students can take an online course at any time from the comfort of their homes. Traditional classes require students to attend class at a specific time and location. The access to instructors is virtual in online classes and in-person in traditional classes. Online classes often have discussion board posts that replace live classroom discussions.

37. Homeschooling vs. public education

Homeschooling and public education provide specific guidelines and learning outcomes for students. Both provide a way for children to experience and learn about the world around them.

Public education provides more opportunities for socialization than homeschooling. Homeschooling can be more demanding on parents as they must be both full-time parent and full-time teacher.

38. Advanced placement (AP) classes vs. honors classes

Both types of classes provide more rigor than traditional high school classes and are geared toward higher achieving students. Both types of classes can strengthen students’ college applications.

Honors courses are essentially high school courses that cover subject matter in greater depth. AP courses are designed to mirror college-level courses. High school honors courses do not allow students to earn college credit. Some high school AP courses allow students to earn college credit.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Film and Literature

Chances are, if you’ve been in English class for any length of time, you’ve been asked to compare and contrast two bodies of literature or other fictional work.

This is your chance to surprise the heck out of your professor (and get a good grade) by making unexpected comparisons.

Following are some topic examples.

39. Twilight  vs. Dracula

Both pieces of literature investigate vampire lore. Both use foreshadowing as a literary device to move the story forward. Both also share three themes: attraction, addiction, and repulsion.

Twilight’s 21st century vampires are sexy and sparkly. Edward Cullen of Twilight is charming and irresistibly dangerous. On the other hand, Dracula is a 19th century blood-thirsty beast that anyone would resist. Bram Stoker’s Dracula had a thick mustache, a large nose, and white hair that “grew scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere.” (Bella, eat your heart out.) Also, there are no werewolves in Dracula.

40. Breaking Bad  vs. Lost

Both Breaking Bad and Lost were hit TV series of the early 21st century. Both shows have won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy. Both have a character named Walt. Both use flashforward scenes to move the narrative forward.

Breaking Bad investigates the concept of the anti-hero in the character Walter White, who is easy to hate but hard not to cheer on as he descends into a life of crime. Lost investigates the virtues of a classic hero in the likeable character of Jack Shephard.

41. A Rose for Emily vs. The Yellow Wallpaper

Both stories depict women being forced into isolation as a result of “lunacy.” Both stories explore the definition of femininity and the repression of women. Both stories explore dysfunctional relationships between women and men.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” tells the story of a woman’s experience of being shut into a bedroom for a summer. “A Rose for Emily” explores a woman’s experience of shutting herself into a house for 40 years. Both stories investigate these themes in very different ways.

 42.Fahrenheit 451  vs. Red Scarf Girl

Both stories uncover themes of cultural repression. Both stories revolve around the human experience of defying unjust government regulations. Censorship and loss of individual rights are themes in both books.

Fahrenheit 451 is a science fiction novel about how the character Montag defies authority and begins to read the books that he had been ordered to burn. Red Scarf Girl is a true story about a young girl, Ji-li, and her experience of defiance and resistance during China’s cultural revolution.

 43. The Day After Tomorrow  vs. I am Legend

Both movies address the theme of the apocalypse and post-apocalyptic struggles for survival. Both movies touch on deeply rooted fears of humanity and our intrinsic understanding that the human race must eventually meet its end. Both showcase a lone scientific hero who tries to save humanity.

In I Am Legend, the harbinger of the apocalypse is a plague that turns people into killer monsters. In the Day After Tomorrow, an out-of-control storm ushers in an apocalyptic ice age.

44.The Hunger Games  vs. Divergent

Both novels create a dystopian vision of life in the future where society has been divided into factions. Both novels are coming-of-age love stories. Both stories require the female protagonists to partake in violent rituals.

The Hunger Games explores themes of violence and corruption, and the defiance of unjust authority. Divergent explores themes of following your heart despite the odds.

45. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  vs. The Picture of Dorian Gray

Both of these stories feature a protagonist with a dark side that they try to hide from the world. Through such a lens, both stories share the theme of duality.

While Dr. Jekyll swings from being good and bad, Dorian Gray slowly transforms from good to bad as the story progresses. Dr. Jekyll outwardly manifests his dark side as Mr. Hyde, but Dorian keeps his darkness hidden, only acting on his impulses in secret. Dorian’s portrait is the only outward clue of his wrongdoing—the picture reveals his true nature with every wicked act.

 46. 1984  vs. The Hunger Games

Both novels tell the story of a dystopian future where society is oppressed by an all-knowing and watchful authority. Both novels also have segments of the population in extreme poverty.

1984 is commentary on the dangers of a totalitarian state, and it’s set in Europe. The protagonist is an adult man. The Hunger Games is a coming-of-age story with a US-inspired setting. The protagonist is a young woman.

47. Julius Caesar  vs. Macbeth

These two Shakespearean plays have a lot of common. They both revolve around regicide (the murder of a king). Both involve power plays, scandals, and manipulation (but don’t all Shakespeare tragedies?).

Macbeth relies on prophecies and the fulfillment of prophecies as one of its main literary hooks—it’s a story filled with magic and witches. JuliusCaesar is realism-based, focusing on the plausible dramas and tragedies of the Roman Empire.

Bonus read:Don’t Make These 6 Tragic Mistakes in Your Macbeth Essay

48. Beowulf vs. Wolverine

Both have cool, wolfish names. Both are heroes who undertake epic adventures to fight evil. Both experience serious transitions during their journeys.

Beowulf was created in the ancient stew of medieval literature. Wolverine was created in 1974. Beowulf revels in glories, while Wolverine’s good deeds go without reward.

49. Beowulf vs. Odysseus

Beowulf and Odysseus both must battle monsters on their epic journeys. Both heroes share many of the same traits: courage, intelligence, and strength. Both men use all three traits to win their respective battles.

Odysseus makes it safely home and dies in his old age. Beowulf dies after slaying a dragon. Odysseus uses deception while battling enemies, while Beowulf doesn’t play games to gain an advantage against his enemies.

50. 12 Angry Men stage play vs. a film adaptation of 12 Angry Men

Both the play and the movie follow the same basic plot, with jurors attempting to determine the guilt of the accused. In both, the jurors are nameless, known only by their juror numbers.

The scenes are more detailed in the movie compared to the descriptions in the play. The producers took some liberties with adding and/or altering dialogue from the original screenplay.

Bonus info:12 Angry Men was made into a movie in 1957 and in 1997. You might also write a compare and contrast essay about the two film adaptations.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Art

51.Olympia vs. Grande Odalisque

52. Pablo Picasso vs. Salvador Dali

53. King Arthur vs. Zeus

54. Realism vs. Modernism

55. Michelangelo’s Davis vs. Bernini’s David

56. Impressionism vs. Post-Impressionism

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Culture and Society

There are infinite possibilities when it comes to choosing from compare and contrast essay topics about culture and society. The trick here is to pick a topic that is very specific and interesting.

Here are some ideas.

57. Korean concept of beauty vs. American concept of beauty

Both Americans and Koreans value thinness as an ideal beauty standard. Both cultures hold ideals of beauty that are impossible for most people to achieve.

Americans focus on beauty standards, such as blonde hair, blue eyes, big breasts (on women), round butts, and tans. Korean beauty focuses on ideal face and eye shapes and pale skin.

 58. Cohabitation vs. marriage

Cohabitation and marriage both involve two people living together and sharing resources. Both also usually mean two people are in a serious relationship.

Marriage involves a legal and binding contract between two people that includes healthcare benefits and tax benefits. Cohabitation does not require a legal contract and does not include such benefits.

 59. Teenagers vs. toddlers

Both teenagers and toddlers are moody, willful, and needy. Both teens and toddlers are usually exploring newly found independence. Both often require supervision in many areas.

Teenagers are more mobile than toddlers and can be far more destructive in their actions. Toddlers are a thousand times more adorable than teenagers. Teenagers have the ability to reason, unlike toddlers, but rarely take advantage of this ability.

60. Traditional Chinese parenting vs. Western parenting

Both Chinese and Western parents want the best for their children. Both educate and discipline their children in ways they feel will best prepare their children for the future.

Compared to Western parents, Chinese parents (particularly “Tiger Moms”) are very strict. They do not allow their children much free time and stress discipline and rigid schedules.

61. Authoritative parenting vs. permissive parenting

In both parenting styles, parents attempt to communicate with their children. In both styles, parents are also likely to encourage creativity and expression in their children.

Authoritative parents are assertive and in control while not being extremely demanding. Permissive parents are more lenient and likely to avoid conflict with their children.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Technology

62. Apple vs. Google smartphones

63. Apple vs. Microsoft

64. Honda vs. Ford

65. Gasoline vs. ethanol vs. biodiesel

66. Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4

67. Tablets vs. textbooks

68. Solar energy vs. wind energy

69. Face-to-face relationships vs. online relationships

70. Safety of cars with seat belts only vs. safety of cars with seat belts and airbags

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve found a topic that will make writing your essay fun and easy. If you need even more ideas, here is a web app that helps you compare just about anything. And here’s a cool website with compare and contrast topics galore.

Once you’ve settled on a topic, I recommend reading these posts to get started with your essay:

Once your own compare and contrast essay is drafted, send it to one of our awesome essay editors for review.

Good luck!

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