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Weave or Bake a Cookie

Weave or Bake a Cookie

By Miss Marm

I am currently taking AP Literature and my teacher asks us to write a six page essay comparing two characters out of the three. I have to choose from Catherine Sloper from Washington Square, Ann from Persuasion, and Jane from Jane Eyre. Is there any tip you can give me on comparing and contrasting these characters?

In general, I prefer comparing and contrasting two similar characters. The closer two characters are in temperament and situation, the deeper you can dig into their differences.

In the case of this assignment, you're dealing with three fairly similar characters: smart young women trying to live up to their own standards and to make their way in a male-dominated society. While Jane is more fiery-tempered and alone in the world than are Catherine and Ann, all three women are smart, thoughtful, and principled. I don't think you can go wrong in choosing any two, and I'd make the decision by asking yourself which character you like best and most want to think about for hours on end.

When you're comparing two characters in a paper of this length, you have two structural options:

1. The Weave

In this structure, you switch back and forth between the two characters.

Thesis
Catherine
Ann
Catherine
Anne
[and so on]
Conclusion

2. The Black-and-White Cookie

In this structure, you talk about one character for half the paper, and then switch to the other character for the second half:

Thesis
Catherine
Catherine
Catherine
Ann
Ann
Ann
Conclusion

Both structures can work beautifully. I find The Weave a little easier to work with, but that's a personal preference.

I would not advise you to discuss both characters in each paragraph, as it's exhausting for the reader.

I hope that helps!

To ask me a question, email missmarm@sparknotes.com.

Topics: compare and contrast, persuasion, washington square, jane eyre
 

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