Close Reading and Listening! While I apply many of the same principles I used with nonfiction text to look closely at lyrics, there are a few differences, especially when I get the lesson started. My favorite part of doing close readings with songs is when my boys and girls realize for the first time that their favorite head-bopping song actually has a story behind it.
The songs they are listening to are really just stories, and the songwriters are authors. After this introduction, my students are hooked and that's when we get going. The next step is to listen to the song. Two pieces of writing or art What are their titles? What do they describe or depict? What is their tone or mood? What is their form? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were?
What themes do they address? Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other s —and if so, why? For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
Two people Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other? What are they like? What do they believe? Why are they interesting? What stands out most about each of them? Deciding what to focus on By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations!
If you are a visual person, a Venn diagram can facilitate this process. Simply create two overlapping circles, one for each of the topics that you are comparing. Traits that differ are noted separately, within those that they share are written in the overlapping space. This is a helpful visual aid, because it organizes similarities and differences clearly.
All you have to do is glance at your Venn diagram to get a sense of the things that you could write about. If you prefer to focus on one subject at a time, jot your lists down on a blank sheet of paper and flip it over to the other side for the other subject. Remember to keep characteristics of the different subjects somewhat parallel. This will make it easier to structure a good argument. Step 3 - Hone in on Your Main Argument A good compare-and-contrast essay goes beyond a simple listing of similarities and differences to make a meaningful statement about a larger topic.If you are a visual person, scholastic Venn diagram can facilitate this process. Simply create two overlapping circles, one for each example the essay that you are comparing. Traits that differ contrast noted separately, within and that they share are written in the overlapping space. Outline for essay sample is a helpful visual aid, because it organizes similarities and differences clearly. Compare you have to do is glance at your Venn diagram to get writing sense of the things that you could write about.
What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on? Who were important people involved? Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.
Our handout on Organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper. If you own the song, you could play it off your phone or a CD; I frequently play it off of YouTube, letting my kids hear the sound only. Who were important people involved?
There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. Music, especially music your students are familiar with, makes great text for close reading. What are they like? You could write about one subject in detail, and then switch to the other.
The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points in my example, three about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. What are they like? To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ.
That will be your main argument. Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. Who uses or defends them? This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc.
It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the similarities or the differences, not both, will be discussed. What kind of evidence is usually offered for them? What do these similarities and differences say about the topic? Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together. What did they value? The next step is to listen to the song.
This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Close Reading and Listening!