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Free Comparative Literature Essay Examples & Topics

Free Comparative Literature Essay Examples & Topics

Comparative literature explores the relationship between works of fiction of different cultures and times. Its purpose is to establish the connection between specific genres, styles, and literary devices and the historical period. At the same time, it provides an insight into the meaning hidden between the lines of a given text.

What is a compare and contrast essay when it comes to literature? It’s still an academic paper that requires specific methodology and subordinates to conventional rules. Mind that only the pieces that have something in common are comparable.

And this is where all the challenges start. It is not always clear which works can and should be compared. Which aspects should be considered, and which could be left out? The structure of a comparative essay is another stumbling rock.

For this reason, our team has prepared a brief guide. Here you will learn how to write a successful comparative literature essay, and more importantly, what to write in it.

How to Write a Comparative Essay

Comparative literary analysis requires you to know how to correlate two different things in general. So let us start from the basics. This section explains how to write a comparative paper.

A good comparison essay structure relies on two techniques:

  1. Alternating or point-by-point method.

Using this technique, you dedicate two paragraphs for each new comparison aspect, one for each subject. It is the best way to establish similar and different features in two novels. Such comparative analysis works best for research, providing a detailed and well-structured text.

1st Body Paragraph: Social problems in Steinback’s works.

2nd Body Paragraph: Social problems in Hemingway’s works.

3rd Body Paragraph: Psychological problems in Steinback’s works.

4th Body Paragraph: Psychological problems in Hemingway’s works.

5th Body Paragraph: Interpersonal problems in Steinback’s works.

  1. Block or subject-by-subject method.

This approach means that you divide your essay in two. The first part discusses one text or author, and the second part analyzes the other. The challenge here is to avoid writing two disconnected papers under one title.

For this purpose, constantly refer the second part to the first one to show the differences and similarities. You should use the technique if you have more than two comparison subjects (add another paragraph for each next one). It also works well when there is little in common between the subjects.

1-3 Body Paragraphs: Description of rural labor in Steinback’s works.

4-6 Body Paragraphs: Description of rural labor in Hemingway’s works.

Depending on the chosen structure, you will formulate a thesis, distribute the arguments and supporting evidence. You can consult the possible options in our comparative literature essay examples.

How to Compare Literary Pieces

Let us move to the main point of this article: the comparison of literature. In this section, we will discuss how to write an ideal essay in this format.

We suggest you stick to the following action plan:

  1. Choose literary works to compare. They should have some features in common. For example, the protagonist faces the same type of conflict, or the setting is the same. You should be familiar with the works well enough to find the necessary passages. Check the comparative literature examples below if you struggle with the step.
  2. Select the topic, thinking of similarities. The broader the matter, the more challenging the writing. A comparative study of the protagonists in two books is harder than analyzing the same theme that appears in them. Characters may have little in common, making the analysis more complicated.
  3. Find both differences and similarities. Once you’ve formulated the topic, make a list of features to compare. If the subjects are too different, choose the block method of contrasting them. Otherwise, the alternating technique will do.
  4. Formulate a thesis statement that has a comparative nature. It should convey the gist of the essay’s argument. Highlight the relationship between the books. Do they contradict, supplement, develop, or correct each other? You can start the thesis statement with “whereas.” For example, “Whereas Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice are full of pride, this trait leads them to different troubles.”
  5. Outline and list key elements. Depending on the expected length of your essay, select three to six comparable aspects. Then, plan in what order you’ll present them and according to which technique.
  6. Link elements and write. Distribute the features among the comparative paragraphs. If you wish to prove that the books are more different than alike, start with the most diverging factors and move to the most similar ones.

That’s it! Thank you for reading this article. For more examples of comparative literature essays, check the links below.

414 Best Essay Examples on Comparative Literature

John Hersey: Technique in Literature

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Comparison of Salinger’s and Miller’s Works

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Beatrice and Gertrude Comparison

Gertrude as Queen is the lead female character opposite Hamlet in the book of the same name. Beatrice has long served as Dante's inspirational muse and in the Divine Comedy it is no different, Beatrice [...]
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“Osama” , The Kite Runner, and Persepolis Links

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Achilles, Odysseus and Aeneas Comparison

Much ado in the Illiad tells of the dishonor he suffered from Agamemnon, his decision to quit the field because of it, and the futile efforts of the Greeks to appease him and draw him [...]
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Satan’s Comparison in Dante and Milton’s Poems

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Novels bu Ghassan Kanafani Review

The present paper looks more closely at "Men in the Sun" and "The Land of Sad Oranges" and argues that the symbols physical disability and road point to the helplessness and powerlessness of the Palestinian [...]
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Heroism of Early Greek and Hebrew Cultures

Joseph stands out to be a hero in The Old Testament because, from the stature of a slave sold to an Egyptian merchant, he grew to be the powerful administrator in Egypt, second only to [...]
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Hell in Dante’s Inferno and Sartre’s No Exit

For Dante, the Divine Comedy was not a substitute for the two Testaments, but an extension of them and because of this, Inferno is a critical part because it serves as a reminder of the [...]
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Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

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“Harry Potter” Movie and Novel: Plot Changes

The changes of the plot throughout the movie in comparison with the original novel are disturbing watchers since the times of cinema appearing and performance of the derivative movies.
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Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Shakespeare’s Hamlet

One such device in Hamlet is Shakespeare's placing of the Danish prince in the context of Fortinbras and Laertes as the characters that, like Hamlet, find themselves in the role of having to avenge their [...]
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Character Comparison in Science Fiction Works

While Shelley's work concerns the fantastic events that took place in the time contemporary to the author, the setting of "Oryx and Crake" is a far future when, as the author predicts, the mankind will [...]
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Contemporary Literature. Elements of Short Stories

But what is one to do?" Through the course of the story, the woman transforms from an individual who adores the outside and green growing things to becoming lost in the artificial world created by [...]
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Metaphors of Life in Literature

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Rama and Odysseus as Eastern and Western Heroes

Similarly to Rama, Odysseus belongs to the descendants of Zeus, the king of all gods, and uses a special bow as his favorite weapon. Another difference between Odysseus and Rama is their attitudes to family [...]
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Poetry Comparison by Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes

The general impression of Emily Dickinson's poems is that they are very economical with words and the message being conveyed. The general impression of these poems is that the writer feels oppressed and discriminated against [...]
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Count Orlok & the Other Mother Fictional Monsters

Both Count Orlok and the Other Mother possess the ability to mimic normal people but still are have more powers than these people, yet the disturbing relatability of Beldam's motives and the terrifying goal of [...]
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Realism of Wide Sargasso Sea and Madame Bovary

As I read the texts, the regular language used in the two texts is evidence that the writers sought to make their texts easy to understand for both the middle-class Americans and the aristocrats.
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The Tale of Sohrab and Oedipus Tyrannus

The story of the poetic love of Rustam to a beautiful Tahmina and the betrayal of the insidious and envious Shah of Cavus create an atmosphere of tragedy and inevitability.
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Integrating Sources: A Deeper Look at Beauty

Quotation: "The philosophical dimension of beauty does not depend on the limits of the physical world; true beauty far exceeds our earthly bounds". It is necessary to consider the beauty's "subtle qualities" such as "tone, [...]
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Apollo and Dionysus Comparison

For those who strive to gain an in-depth insight into the discursive significance of Greek antiquity, it represents the matter of crucial importance to be able to understand that the Olympian gods of Apollo and [...]
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Situated Meaning in Literary Works

In particular, the writers explore the way in which the worldviews and moral principles of a person can be determined by the norms established in a particular community or a social group.
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Role of Alienation and Isolation in Literature

His creation is gentle at the start, but after the people start to resent it because of its looks, the monster runs and hides from the society. When Victor refuses to create a spouse for [...]
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Exile of Gilgamesh and Shakespeare’s Prospero

The authors of these famous texts show in detail how the main characters Gilgamesh and Prospero struggle with the sense of alienation because of their exile, but overcoming this challenging experience, the characters develop their [...]
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Different Literary Genres Understanding

A major difference between poems and drama and the short story is that the first two have a predefined format of writing which includes the use of more dramatic words as compared to the short [...]
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The Theme of Shame in “Anna Karenina” and The Idiot

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Macbeth and Hamlet Characters Comparison

The queens in Hamlet and Macbeth play a pivotal role in the life of the heroes of the play. She is portrayed as a mother who, in her awareness of Hamlet's crisis, feels guilty and [...]
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Existentialism in “Nausea” and “The Stranger”

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The Goal-Orientation in Literature

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Caroll’s Alice and Stevenson’s Jimmy Characters

Analysis of the Similarities portrayed between Alice and Jim and the respective applications of the authors style of literature. In addition, the author uses the different settings of the story and the character traits of [...]
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Transcendentalist vs Dark Romantic Literature

Transcendentalism was one of the brightest literary movements of the 19th century, in which a few people belonging to cultured and educated American society founded a movement that proclaimed the power and importance of the [...]
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ZZ Packer’ Stories Comparison

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Sven Beckert and Naomi Klein’s Books Comparison

The author perceived the foundation of modern capitalism through war capitalism, which used military strength and technological advantages in order to clear land for cotton plantations and subjugate or exterminate various indigenous races that got [...]
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Misjustice in Solzhenitsyn’s Work and Innocence Project

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In his 1922 poem "The waste land", Thomas Eliot attempts to portray how social solidarity of in the modern world is affected by social and cultural changes such as the change in gender roles, dynamism [...]
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