Home > Free Essays > Literature > Comparative Literature
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.

390 Best Essay Examples on Comparative Literature

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 [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1191

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 [...]
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 861

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 [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1221

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.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 653

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.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 834

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, [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 456

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 [...]
  • Pages: 7
  • Words: 1939

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.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 960

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 [...]
  • Pages: 10
  • Words: 2693

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 [...]
  • Pages: 6
  • Words: 887

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 [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 597

The Theme of Shame in “Anna Karenina” and The Idiot

Although the theme of shame is central to both Anna Karenina and The Idiot, the nature of this feeling is explained differently: Tolstoy regards shame as the result of a person's actions, while Dostoevsky considers [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1092

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 [...]
  • Pages: 6
  • Words: 1791

Existentialism in “Nausea” and “The Stranger”

In Nausea, the main character is a well-traveled 30-year-old man afflicted with intense feelings of the meaninglessness of his own being, an experience he dubs 'nausea.' The main character and narrator, Roquentin, is portrayed as [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1392

The Goal-Orientation in Literature

In this paper, the focus will be to compare the goal-orientation between the protagonist in the play 'Waiting for Godot' and the novel 'Fear and Loathing in Vegas'.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1124

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 [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1151

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 [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1407

ZZ Packer’ Stories Comparison

Dina's experiences in Japan depicted in Geese contribute to the depiction of her life at Yale from Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, offering valuable insights into the development of her character and search for personal and national [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 570

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 [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1450

Misjustice in Solzhenitsyn’s Work and Innocence Project

Compensating the Wrongly Convicted is intended to introduce the issue of wrongful convictions that persists in the United States today answering some of the basic questions concerning the problem and informs about the potential solutions [...]
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 822

Solidarity in The Waste Land and Angels in America

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 [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1137

The Ebers Papyrus and The Book of the Dead

Though a range of facts concerning the household and traditions of the people of Ancient Egypt remain buried under the sands of time, several facts about the culture in question can be considered relatively well-known.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1107

Tao Qian’s and LI Qingzhao’s Poems Comparison

Thesis Statement: The use of song lyric and art collection in Li Qingzhao's work portrays the disillusionment associated with the Song Dynasty while Tao Qian's dianyuan style depicts the disunion and desire for freedom during [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1427

“Learning to Read and Write” and “The Library Card”

Frederick Douglass' "Learning to Read and Write" and Richard Wright's "The Library Card" are the stories of perseverance and resolve in overcoming the obstacles that prevented the marginalized black people from the most basic and [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1385

Literature: The Grapes of Wrath and As I Lay Dying

This understanding forms the background of The Grapes of Wrath and As I Lay Dying analysis in this paper. The unity of structure and language in any comical genre take after carnivalistic folklore..".there is a [...]
  • Pages: 11
  • Words: 3270

Characterization’s Importance in Literature

This statement by the narrator is a significant tool of characterization because it reveals that the main character is insane. The narrator is also important in revealing the character of the old man.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1135

“Giovanni’s Room” and “Native Speaker”

The theme of being imprisoned in the environment that is seemingly open-minded to a range of cultures, yet promotes a single standard in terms of the identity that one is supposed to have and the [...]
  • Pages: 8
  • Words: 2296

“The Father” and “A Doll’s House”

Resting on these facts, it is possible to analyze some works which belong to the same period of time in order to understand the main ideas of the epoch and the authors message to readers.
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1478

Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison

Walk Whitman was born in the first half of the 1800s and Robert Frost in the second. The use of figurative speech in poetry gives the poems a capacity to reach out to the hearts [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 600

Literature Comparison: This Is a Picture of Me and Heat

Though "This Is a Picture of Me" by Margaret Atwood and "Heat" by Archibald Lampman differ from each other considerably in terms of their style, imagery, characters, and other essential details, they are connected with [...]
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 894

Women’s Roles: 1001 Nights and The Iliad

Both of the works serve as detailed and deep reflections of the histories and cultures of the countries they came from and elaborately portrayed the relationships between men and women, religions and spirituality, and the [...]
  • Pages: 7
  • Words: 1969

Realism in American and British Literature

The concept is interested in looking at the daily lives of individuals from both the lower and middle classes, whose character is determined by social factors. The movement covered the whole country since it was [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 561
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!