I need a compare and contrast essay on "Everyday Use." 

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a compare and contrast essay on a literary text, you are expected to write about how some things are the same in the story and how they are different.  A comparison shows us similarities, and a contrast shows us differences. This is a great story to write a compare and contrast essay on. 

In "Everyday Use," a good point of comparison and contrast might be Maggie and Dee. Start by making a list of the ways they are different.  For example, they both grew up in the same environment, but they have very different personalities and attitudes.

Once you have your list of similarities and differences, you must decide how to organize your essay.  There are two methods. One is called the point by point method. The other is called the block method. 

The point method means that each body paragraph will discuss one point, one attribute of the sisters. It could be a similarity or a difference.  You might, for instance, have one paragraph about upbringing, in which your point is that the sisters had a similar upbringing.  You could have another paragraph that discusses their different attitudes.  For each point, you will start a new paragraph.

The other way to do this is with the block method, which involves two body paragraphs, one discussing all the ways the sisters are different and another paragraph discussing all the ways the sisters are the same.  If you find yourself writing about similarities in the differences paragraph, you have gotten off track. So read through each carefully if you use this method, to be sure each paragraph contains what it is meant to contain!

No matter which method you use to organize the essay, it will need an introduction and a conclusion. The introduction should include the title of the story and its author, so the reader understands what the essay is about.  The introduction should also give the reader a brief summary of the story, so the reader can follow along as you compare and contrast. You might include the setting, the characters, and a brief description of what happens in the story.  Finally, at the end of the introduction, you need a thesis statement, so the reader understands this is an essay about similarities and differences in this story.  Your conclusion should wrap things up by reminding the reader what the similarities and differences are.  You might also let the reader know which sister you prefer in the story and why.