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Once you've read everything you have to, draw up lists of how those works are similar and different to each other.
When you compare things, you show their similarities; when you contrast things, you show their differences.
We can really understand only those things that are familiar to us or similar to things we already understand, so comparing and contrasting the unfamiliar with the familiar is one of the most important techniques for writing.
You can, and probably do, use comparison and contrast to describe things, to define things, to analyze things, to make an argument -- to do, in fact, almost any kind of writing.
When they are comparing and contrasting, for example, two ideas, like corsets and footbinding, most writers structure their essays one of four ways. Writers using a comparison/contrast structure might begin by discussing the ways in which corsets are similar to footbinding, then they move to a description of the ways in which the two ideas are different.
Once you're satisfied with your lists, you can go back through and cherry-pick the points you feel are most importantly similar and different.
Here you should be looking for the things that you think will lead to the most compelling essay you can write.This method is probably the one most students try first, but many evolve past it into something more flexible.A quick outline that treats first corsets and then footbinding shows one way that such a paper might be structured.You can't write a good compare and contrast essay without first reading what you've been assigned!Moreover, to generate a good essay you've got to read them carefully.Pick out elements, for instance, that are central to the identity of both works.Consider their major themes, main characters and the messages of each - it's likely one of these things will provide the basis for your essay.You could split them up into two paragraphs on each text (one for comparing and one for contrasting) or two paragraphs that compare both works and two that hold all the contrast.Or you might find a hybrid of those two ideas works best - you'll want to go with whatever you think does the best service to your paper.It would probably help you to make notes (mental or, better yet, physical ones) as you read, marking things you consider important.This kind of pre-writing work can give you a serious head-start on your actual essay when you sit down to do it.