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How do I write a thesis for a a compare and contrast essay on 2 "Dead Men's Path" and...

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ashlee2223 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2013 at 6:46 PM via web

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How do I write a thesis for a a compare and contrast essay on 2 "Dead Men's Path" and "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2013 at 9:25 PM (Answer #1)

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A thesis statement could focus on how both stories involve a clash of differences, though the differences come from different places.

A compare and contrast essay focuses on the similarities and differences between two stories. 

In each story, we get a glimpse into a different world.  The narrator in “The Tell-tale Heart” is mad, but he tries to convince us that he is not.

Both stories involve a clash of differences.  In “The Tell-tale Heart,” the narrator cannot handle the fact that the old man he shares a house with has an “evil eye.”

He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold and … I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

The narrator points out that he does not have animus for the old man.  He simply can’t handle the eye.

In “Dead Man’s Path” the differences are a little more profound.  There is a real clash of cultures going on when the schoolmaster won’t acknowledge local customs and the locals won’t acknowledge the schoolmaster’s attempt to do good.  Like the narrator of “Heart,” the schoolmaster tries to be amenable and solve the problem without violence.

"I am sorry," said the young headmaster. "But the school compound can­  not be a thoroughfare. It is against our regulations. I would suggest your constructing another path, skirting our premises.

He even offers to help build it.  Yet both stories end in violence.  The narrator of “Heart” kills the old man, and the villagers vandalize the school. 

There is no arguing with the fact that the differences are real in “Dead Man’s Path” and imagined in “The Tell-tale Heart,” but in both cases the result is disastrous.

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