Steps for Writing a Slide Comparison Essay (aka Compare and Contrast Essay)
Identify points of similarity between the works to establish a basis of comparison as well as points of difference between the works.
Categories that May Be Used for Comparison
Interpretation/Meaning: Function, Message, Values, Intentions/Goals of Patron or Artist (responses should always include this aspect as one of the main points of comparison)
Form: Medium, Style, Technique, Approach (often related to Period/Region)
Content: Subject Matter, Iconography (often related to Period/Region)
Context: Site, Time Period (including Chronological Order), Place/Region
Pick out two or three of the most salient similarities and differences to form the central crux of your argument. The interpretation/meaning should always be one of these points of comparison because interpreting the work is the primary goal of doing the analysis.
Compose a thesis sentence that summarizes these points.
Compose body paragraphs that focus on a sub-point of the thesis. Use either the Point-by-Point or the Whole-to-Whole method as your organizational structure. Be sure to start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Expand on each point using visual and historical evidence to back up your thesis.
If necessary after fleshing out your essay, go back to your thesis and modify it to better align with the evidence provided.
Sample Thesis Statements
To start you off, here are some sample thesis statements. You may use these word for word (you do not have to cite me!), or you may modify them so that they make more sense to you.
Both Ancient Egyptian and Assyrian rulers created colossal human-headed animal sculptures to express the power and might of their respective cultures.
In the sphinx and the lamassu, the Egyptians and Assyrians produced sculptures that similarly combine a human head with an animal’s body, but the two works serve different functions. The sphinx serves a funerary object in a pharaoh’s tomb complex, while the lamassu acts as a protective guardian of a city.
Although the two sculptures share a similar formal motif, that of the combination human-animal, their stylistic differences reflect their different cultural origins, one Ancient Egyptian and the other Mesopotamian.
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