How to Compare Texts

How to Compare Texts

Understanding the Texts

  • First, read the texts thoroughly. Understand the overall meaning and the smaller, nuanced details.

  • Identify the genre of the text. Knowing whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc, can help set a basis for comparison.

  • Pay attention to and analyse the language, style, and tone of the texts.

Contextual Understanding

  • Consider the historical and cultural context in which the texts are written. Contextual understanding can help explain the attitudes and values in the text.

  • Examine how the author’s background could have influenced their writing.

Comparing Themes and Ideas

  • Identify the main themes in each of the texts. These could include topics like love, death, freedom, etc.

  • Discuss how these themes are explored differently or similarly in the two texts.

  • Consider whether the texts share any common messages or values, or if they present conflicting ideas.

Comparing Characters

  • Identify the main characters in each text and compare their personalities, behaviours, and roles in the story.

  • Discuss how the authors have chosen to portray these characters- are they sympathetic, pitiful, admirable?

Comparing Narrative Techniques and Structure

  • Discuss the authors’ use of narrative techniques such as the point of view (first person, third person), use of dialogue, or use of imagery.

  • Compare the structure of the texts. Look out for things like the arrangement of ideas, use of paragraphs, and overall flow of the piece.

Writing the Comparison

  • Structure your ideas thoughtfully. One method is to discuss one text fully and then move onto the next. Another method is the alternate method, where you discuss one aspect of a text and then the corresponding aspect in the second text.

  • Use comparison linking words such as ‘similarly’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘whereas’, to clearly indicate when you are making comparisons.

  • Make sure your comparison is balanced. Devote equal attention to both texts in your analysis.

  • Include direct quotes from the texts to support your points.

  • Formulate a conclusion that summarises the similarities and differences between the texts.