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Sample Comparative Essay: A Rose for Emily & The Tell-Tale Heart

Below is a sample outline and a well-developed comparative literary analysis essay in MLA on “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner vs. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. This sample is intended to help students write better essays.

Sample Comparative Literary Analysis Essay

Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Hook: Start with a captivating quote or an intriguing statement to capture the reader’s attention.
    2. Provide Context: Introduce the titles, authors, and offer a brief overview of the central themes or plots of “A Rose for Emily” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
    3. Thesis Statement: Present the primary argument or point of comparison you’ll explore in the essay, highlighting the thematic or stylistic aspects that connect these two stories.
  2. Body Paragraphs
    1. Paragraph 1: Character Analysis
      • Discuss the central characters in each story, such as Emily Grierson in “A Rose for Emily” and the unnamed narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
      • Explore their motivations, behaviors, and psychological complexities.
      • Identify commonalities or differences in how these characters are portrayed and developed by their respective authors.
    2. Paragraph 2: Themes and Motifs
      • Examine the major themes and motifs present in both stories, such as isolation, obsession, or the consequences of guilt.
      • Provide examples from the texts to support your analysis.
      • Compare and contrast how these themes are explored and developed in each narrative.
    3. Paragraph 3: Narrative Style and Point of View
      • Analyze the narrative style and point of view employed by Faulkner in “A Rose for Emily” and Poe in “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
      • Discuss the impact of the chosen narrative techniques on the reader’s understanding of the stories.
      • Consider how the narrative choices influence the reader’s perception of the characters and events.
    4. Paragraph 4: Symbolism and Setting
      • Explore the use of symbolism and setting in both stories.
      • Identify key symbols or elements in each narrative and their significance.
      • Compare how the authors utilize these literary devices to convey meaning and enhance the atmosphere of their respective stories.
  3. Conclusion
    1. Summarize the main points of comparison discussed in the body paragraphs.
    2. Reiterate the significance of the similarities or differences between “A Rose for Emily” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
    3. End with a thought-provoking statement or question that encourages further reflection on the themes, characters, and narrative techniques in these two classic short stories.

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