What is a Comparison / Contrast Essay?

See the following topic suggestions for your comparison essay. For example:

The following paragraphs are an excerpt from a Corby Kummer essay (first published in the April 1996 issue of the ) that compares one kind of hazelnut to another. If you, too, are nuts about nuts, you can read the whole essay by clicking . How does the author's preference for one kind of hazelnet emerge from the essay? (Remember that we have excerpted paragraphs from the essay, so other things are going on in the article that are not happening within this abridged version.)

Research reported in, and applications available from, thiswebsite exploit a new method for determining and representingthe similarity of meaning of words and passages by statisticalanalysis of large text corpora. After processing a large sampleof machine-readable language, Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) representsthe words used in it, and any set of these words-such as thosecontained in a sentence, paragraph, or essay, either taken fromthe original corpus or new-as points in a very high (e.g. 50-1,000)dimensional . LSA is basedon singular value decomposition, a mathematical matrix decompositiontechnique closely akin to factor analysis that has recently becomeapplicable to databases approaching the volume of relevant languageexperienced by people. Word and discourse meaning representationsderived by LSA have been found capable of simulating a varietyof human cognitive phenomena, ranging from acquisition of recognitionvocabulary to sentence-word semantic priming and judgments ofessay quality.

Community college student Charles M. Bezzler wrote the essay below which compares two shopping experiences — the experience of shopping in an old-fashioned American downtown and the experience of shopping in a modern mall. It is reprinted here with his kind permission. Don't forget to address the questions that follow the essay.

There are two general formats for compare and contrast papers:

On the other hand, the choice to which existential psychoanalysis will lead us, precisely because it is a choice, accounts for its original contingency, for the contingency of the choice is the reverse side of its freedom. Furthermore, inasmuch as it is established on the lack of being, conceived as a fundamental characteristic of being, it receives its legitimacy as a choice, and we know that we do not have to push further. Each result then will be at once fully contingent and legitimately irreducible. Moreover it will always remain particular; that is, we will not achieve as the ultimate goal of our investigation and the foundation of all behavior an abstract, general term, libido for example, which would be differentiated and made concrete first in complexes and then in detailed acts of conduct, due to the action of external facts and the history of the subject. On the contrary, it will be a choice which remains unique and which is from the start absolute concreteness. Details of behavior can express or particularize this choice, but they cannot make it more concrete than is already known in a self-evident intuition. The libido or the will to power is in us. That is because the choice is nothing other than the being of each human reality; this amounts to saying that a particular partial behavior is or expresses the original choice of this human reality since for human reality there is no difference between existing and choosing for itself. From this fact we understand that existential psychoanalysis does not have to proceed from the fundamental "complex," which is exactly the choice of being, to an abstraction like the libido which would explain it. The complex is the ultimate choice, it is the choice of being and makes itself such. Bringing it into the light will reveal it each time as evidently irreducible. It follows necessarily that the libido and the will to power will appear to existential psychoanalysis neither as general characteristics common to all mankind nor as irreducibles. At most it will be possible after the investigation to establish that they express by virtue of particular ensembles in certain subjects a fundamental choice which cannot be reduced to either one of them. We have seen in fact that desire and sexuality in general express an original effort of the for-itself to recover its being which has become estranged through contact with the Other. The will to power also originally supposes being-for-others, the comprehension of the Other, and the choice of winning its own salvation by means of the Other. The foundation of this attitude must be an original choice which would make us understand the radical identification of being-in-itself-for-itself with being-for-others.

The following is an example of subject by subject organization:

Both our psychoanalyses refuse to admit that the subject is in a privileged position to proceed in these inquiries concerning himself. They equally insist on a strictly objective method, using as documentary evidence the data of reflection as well as the testimony of others. Of course the subject can undertake a psychoanalytic investigation of himself. But in this case he must renounce at the outset all benefit stemming from his peculiar position and must question himself exactly as if he were someone else. Empirical psychoanalysis in fact is based on the hypothesis of the existence of aft unconscious psyche, which on principle escapes the intuition of the subject. Existential psychoanalysis rejects the hypothesis of the unconscious; it makes the psychic act coextensive with consciousness. But if the fundamental project is fully experienced by the subject and hence wholly conscious, that certainly does not mean that it must by the same token be known by him; quite the contrary. The reader will perhaps recall the care we took in the Introduction to distinguish between consciousness and knowledge. To be sure, as we have seen earlier, reflection can be considered as a quasi-knowledge. But what it grasps at each moment is not the pure project of the for-itself as it is symbolically expressedoften in several ways at onceby the concrete behavior which it apprehends. It grasps the concrete behavior itself; that is, the specific dated desire in all its characteristic network. It grasps at once symbol and symbolization. This apprehension, to be sure, is entirely constituted by a preontological comprehension of the fundamental project; better yet, in so far as reflection is almost a nonthetic consciousness of itself as reflection, it is this same project, as well as the nonreflective consciousness. But it does not follow that it commands the instruments and techniques necessary to isolate the choice symbolized, to fix it by concepts, and to bring it forth into the full light of day. It is penetrated by a great light without being able to express what this light is illuminating. We are not dealing with an unsolved riddle as the Freudians believe; all is there, luminous; reflection is in full possession of it, apprehends all. But this "mystery in broad daylight" is due to the fact that this possession is deprived of the means which would ordinarily permit analysis and conceptualization. It grasps everything, all at once, without shading, without relief, without connections of grandeurnot that these shades, these values, these reliefs exist some where and are hidden from it, but rather because they must be established by another human attitude and because they can exist only by means of and for knowledge. Reflection, unable to serve as the basis for existential psychoanalysis, will then simply furnish us with the brute materials toward which the psychoanalyst must take an objective attitude. Thus only will he be able to know what he already understands. The result is that complexes uprooted from the depths of the unconscious, like projects revealed by existential psychoanalysis, will be apprehended from the point of view of the Other. Consequently the object thus brought into the light will be articulated according to the structures of the transcended-transcendence; that is, its being will be the being-for-others even if the psychoanalyst and the subject of the psychoanalysis are actually the same person. Thus the project which is brought to light by either kind of psychoanalysis can be only the totality of the individual human being, the irreducible element of the transcendence with the structure of being-for-others. What always escapes these methods of investigation is the project as it is for itself, the complex in its own being. This project-for-itself can be experienced only as a living possession; there is an incompatibility between existence-for-itself and objective existence. But the object of the two psychoanalyses has in it nonetheless the reality of a being, the subject's knowledge of it can in addition contribute to clarify reflection, and that reflection can then become a possession which will be a quasi-knowing.

The following is an example of point by point organization:

[tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

On the other hand, we have been charged with dwelling on human degradation, with pointing up everywhere the sordid, shady, and slimy, and neglecting the gracious and beautiful, the bright side of human nature; for example, according to Mlle. Mercier, a Catholic critic, with forgetting the smile of the child. Both sides charge us with having ignored human solidarity, with considering man as an isolated being. The communists say that the main reason for this is that we take pure subjectivity, , as our starting point; in other words, the moment in which man becomes fully aware of what it means to him to be an isolated being; as a result, we are unable to return to a state of solidarity with the men who are not ourselves, a state which we can never reach in the .

[tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

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