Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Comparing Incomparable Things

When tasked with a compare and contrast essay, the topic you are given may be two things that are incomparable. You might have to compare two authors, two time periods, two characters, two teaching methods, etc… that are vastly opposite each other.

But have no fear. You can still write a great paper. The trick is to change your wording. You can compare how different the authors’ writing style is. You can compare how varied the different characters are in their personality and independence. You can compare how effective different teaching methods are (with one being more effective than the other). The trick is merely to spin everything in the light of a comparison.

  1. So if you are comparing an author of a Greek tragedy to a self help author today, you can compare the influence they had on their readers, or the language they used to appeal to certain demographics. Now sure, the influence will be vastly different, but they both still have influence for better or for worse. The language they use will also be vastly different; one may use Greek in order to appeal only to the upper class who learned Greek, rather than the working class who did not. And the self help writer may very likely use rudimentary words, inspirational words, and other boring yet inspiration jargon in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But in both cases, there is language used and that language is used for a reason.

    With enough effort, and some brainstorming efforts, you can turn incomparable things into comparable.

  2. If you are asked to compare having a pet to being a general in war, you may have a slightly more challenging path ahead of you, but it can still be done. Consider that having a pet requires leadership. It requires you to teach the pet certain concepts and drills that you run over and over until the pet learns to eat in the kitchen and pee outside. As a general in war, you have to lead troops. You have to reinforce the same drills and concepts they learned in an effective way. The way you do that will differ vastly from owning a pet, but the core concept remains the same. That is what is important when you have to compare two incomparable things in your next compare and contrast essay.