HOW TO WRITE A DYNAMITE COMPARE AND CONTRAST AP ESSAY Remember :

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1 HOW TO WRITE A DYNAMITE COMPARE AND CONTRAST AP ESSAY Remember : 1. Introduction should be no longer than 2-3 sentences. 2. Thesis must be clear, analytical (i.e.,complex - arguable, tenable and comprehensive (i.e., thesis must incorporate all parts of the prompt question) A good thesis lights the way and provides a travel direction for the rest of the essay. 3. Essay must show similarities AND differences in three different areas ( 3 body paragraphs) AND you must analyze the reason for the similarity and/or difference 4. Essay must address all parts of the question EVENLY. 5. Essay must include appropriate historical evidence ( i.e give significant and compelling examples to substantiate what you say) 6. Essay must provide 2 (at least) relevant comparisons between the societies/regions. Your comparisons can be chronological, cause and effect, thematic, etc. etc.) 7. Essay must provide a local to global connection. How is this prompt question relevant to other parts of the world at the time? What other things are going on that might be the same and/or different in other parts of the globe. Conclusion is often a good place for this connection. 8. Conclusion must restate thesis in an interesting way. Your conclusion paragraph should answer the question: SO WHAT! Do not simply regurgitate the essay. In other words, provide implications. A good conclusion is about 3 sentences long: Sentence 1 Restate thesis Sentence 2 Provide implications Sentence 3 Make local to global connection

2 HOW TO WRITE THE ESSAY Sample Prompt: Hinduism, Confucianism and Buddhism are three of the world s great belief systems. Compare and contrast their impact on the societies they embraced. Paragraph 1. While Hinduism is a much older belief system than either Confucianism or Buddhism, each greatly impacted the social, political and religious life of their respective founding countries, as well as the countries to which they spread. While all three belief systems were very important to the cultural and social life of their respective countries, both Hinduism and Confucianism were decidedly state religions with significant political impact, while Buddhism remained purely a religion of salvation with minimal political impact. What do you notice about the first paragraph??? 1. Intro is just 2 sentences 2. Thesis is arguable & complex ( i.e., it shows similarities ( Hinduism and Confucianism have significant political impact on their societies in terms of imposing social order) AND it shows differences ( i.e. Buddhism remained religious in nature, and was not as easily coopted by the state for political purposes) Now How would you complete the essay? Address political, social/cultural and religious similarities and differences of each analyze the similarities and differences. (Use SPRITE when the prompt is general rather than specific) Paragraph 2 Arriving Aryans brought some elements of Hindu beliefs with them, but quickly segregated indigenous Dravidians according to varna or color of skin. Early Aryan rulers used this caste system to impose social order. This social order provided the basis for a stratified society where everyone followed their dharma. Confucian beliefs also served the Chinese state well. The emphasis on filial piety and propriety was co-opted by the dynastic rulers and used to impose complete obedience to all superiors. Since the family was an extension of the state, respect for elder family members was easily transferred to obedience to a centralized state. Buddhist practitioners, on the other hand, did not believe in the caste system, so it did not become as popular in India nor was it co-opted by the state, since it did not serve a political purpose. (This is the analysis part of the answer)

3 Paragraph 3 Socially, Hinduism and Confucianism also supported patriarchal societies where women were seen as subservient. According to the Lawbook of Manu, women were to be obedient to husbands, fathers, even sons. Wealthy women were encouraged to practice sutee on the death of their husband. Confucianism supported the dominant role of the male member of the family and complete obedience and obeisance would be owed to him. Ancestor worship and reverence for the past further married this belief system to the state. Buddhism, however, did not endorse a patriarchal society. Buddhism encouraged families to offer their suns and daughters to religious service. While the great Ashoka became a Buddhist, other classical period Indian rulers reverted to Hinduism as a state religion. Both philosophies/religions were state supported and therefore impacted life to a significant degree. (This is the analysis part of the answer) Paragraph 4 While all three belief systems were culturally important in their founding countries, only Hinduism and Buddhism could be viewed as religions of salvation. Both Hinduism and Buddhism promised eternal life in some form of a hereafter if dharma (Hinduism) or the Eightfold Noble Path (Buddhism) were followed. Proper attention to dharma could eventually lead to Nirvana. Each had a temple structure with priests and religious services. Confucianism, on the other hand, was more of a philosophy or way of life. While its junzi or scholar bureaucrats and the civil service exam system did provide the framework for a strongly centralized state, it did not support temples or a priesthood, as did Buddhism and Hinduism in India. (This is the analysis part of the answer) Paragraph 5 Restate thesis in an interesting but different way. Provide implications: did one belief system spread more easily than the others; did any encourage innovation, create chaos, disorder? (another place to note similarities and differences!) And FINALLY: provide a local to global connection. Did these religions have an impact in other areas of the globe? What was the impact there? What about the role of Christianity in maintaining order? What about the role of Greek gods and goddesses? Egyptian pharaohs? Now you have a DYNAMITE ESSAY! Remember: WHAP essays are asset scored.

4 Generic Core-Scoring Guide for AP World History Comparative Essay BASIC CORE Historical skills and knowledge required to show competence. Points 1. Has acceptable thesis. (Addresses comparisons of the issues or themes specified.) 2. Addresses all parts of the question, though not necessarily evenly or thoroughly. (Addresses most parts of the question.) 3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate historical evidence. (Partly substantiates thesis with appropriate historical evidence.) 4. Makes at least one or two relevant, direct comparisons between or among societies. 5. Analyzes at least one reason for a similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison 1 2 (1) 2 (1) 1 1 EXPANDED CORE Historical skills and knowledge required to show excellence. Points Expands beyond basic core of 1-6 points. The basic core score of 6 must be achieved before a student can earn expanded core points. Examples: Has a clear, analytical, and comprehensive thesis. Addresses all parts of the question (as relevant): comparisons, chronology, causation, connections, themes, interactions, content. Provides ample historical evidence to substantiate thesis. Relates comparisons to larger global context. Makes several direct comparisons consistently between or among societies. Consistently analyzes the causes and effects of relevant similarities and differences Subtotal 7 Subtotal 2 TOTAL = 9 Exemplary: All Proficient Criteria Met PLUS any three of the following: Thoroughly supports thesis with relevant facts, examples, and details. Provides ample historical evidence to substantiate thesis. Shows the ability to relate comparisons to larger global context. Addresses all parts of the question (as relevant): comparisons, chronology, causation, connections, themes, interactions, and content. Makes direct comparisons consistently between or among societies. Shows ability (as appropriate) to show similarities as well as differences. Proficient: Meets All Proficient Criteria: well-developed, logical, and with a clear plan of organization. Includes a good introduction and conclusion. Addresses all aspects of the task by accurately analyzing and responding to the prompt by comparing the issues or themes specified as a result of pointing out differences as well as similarities. Makes at least three relevant, direct comparisons between or among societies. Analyzes a least one reason for a similarity and a reason for a difference in a direct comparison. Progressing: Meets four of the five Proficient criteria. The paper needs revision to meet the Proficient criteria. Not Yet Meeting Standard(s): Less than four of the Proficient criteria are met. The composition should be rewritten. 0-2

5 Comparison/Contrast Essays When you compare things, you show their similarities; when you contrast things, you show their differences. We can really understand only those things that are familiar to us or similar to things we already understand, so comparing and contrasting the unfamiliar with the familiar is one of the most important techniques for writing. You can, and probably do, use comparison and contrast to describe things, to define things, to analyze things, to make an argument -- to do, in fact, almost any kind of writing. When they are comparing and contrasting, for example, two ideas, like corsets and footbinding, most writers structure their essays one of four ways. 1. First compare, then contrast (or vice versa). Writers using a comparison/contrast structure might begin by discussing the ways in which corsets are similar to footbinding, then they move to a description of the ways in which the two ideas are different. This method is probably the one used most commonly. I. introduction II. III. IV. Corsets and footbinding are similar. Corsets and footbinding are different. conclusion This structure focuses on the comparison and contrast instead of on the two ideas (e.g., corsetry and footbinding) being compared and contrasted. Clearly, the sequence is important. If you begin with the comparison, then the contrast will get emphasis - the logical movement is from thinking about similarities to thinking about differences. If you begin by contrasting the ideas (and then move toward a comparison), the similarities get emphasis. 2. First do one idea, then do the other. Writers might compare and contrast ideas by treating one idea thoroughly before taking up the second one. This method is probably the one most students try first, but many evolve past it into something more flexible. introduction similarities (or differences) differences (or similarities) conclusion A structure like this one seems more focused on the ideas being compared and contrasted than on the comparison and contrast itself. The similarities and differences between the ideas do not begin to emerge until the writer gets to the second idea. It is as if the writer is comparing and contrasting (for example) footbinding to corsetry, instead of corsetry and footbinding to each other.

6 3. Write only about the comparable and contrastable elements of each idea. Writers might compare and contrast ideas by taking important specific elements and looking at their similarities and differences. This method requires real control over your subject. introduction element #1 element #2 element #3 element #4 conclusion A comparison/contrast essay like this one would probably focus only on those elements of the ideas that are explicitly comparable or contrasting. 4. Only compare or only contrast. It is always possible, of course, to write an essay that treats only the similarities or differences between ideas. o o Writers who only compare two ideas sometimes briefly mention the contrast in the introduction and then move on so that they don't lead readers to think they can't make relevant distinctions. Writers who only contrast ideas sometimes briefly summarize similarities in the conclusion so they don't leave the impression that they are thinking in opposites. A quick outline of how a paper comparing and then contrasting corsets and footbinding might look. 1. Introduction 2. Corsets and footbinding are similar o Both practiced in the far past, through the 19th century, and into the 20th. o Both restrict women's movement and impair health. o Both practiced by women of all classes, though most people imagine tight-lacing and footbinding were limited to the upper class. o To use Veblen's argument, both enhance man's value in the culture to be responsible for women who were too delicate to work. o Both practiced by women on women. Women laced corsets; women bound feet. 3. Corsets and footbinding are different o Chinese culture is radically different from that of western Europe and America. o Every Chinese woman so bound was deformed for life; only most extreme cases of tight-lacing did permanent damage. o Corsets trivialized by everybody since the end of the dress reform movement. 4. Conclusion

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