Jimmy and Dave: Enemies That Started as Friends (Comparing and Contrasting Mystic River)
Essay 2: Comparing and Contrasting Mystic River
Purpose: Comparing and contrasting is an important academic skill. It allows writers to draw rich connections between disparate ideas and to hone broad ideas to a sharp focus. But comparing and contrasting also poses a unique set of organizational challenges. In this assignment, you will practice thinking in terms of differences and similarities and presenting these differences and similarities in a balanced and organized way.
Assignment: Write a thesis-driven argument of 5-7 pages in which you compare and/or contrast the novel Mystic River with the film version directed by Clint Eastwood. You should acknowledge and respond to a minimum of two critical (secondary) sources.
Comments: As you shape your comparison / contrast, you should deepen your argument with research. What relevant background can you give about the novel and film? Who else has written about them? Do you agree with them? Disagree? Both?
You should move gradually from a working thesis that aspects of the the novel or film are superior to a more specific thesis that explicitly states your major reasons. We’ll have a thesis workshop in class.
You are charged with evaluating the literature, so do not hesitate to make claims about the quality of the texts you examine, backing up these claims with clear reasons and convincing evidence.
Make sure to be fair and objective when stating an opposing claim. Feel free to concede any points you cannot disprove. Use a “devil’s advocate” position (summarize an imaginary opposing argument as in “A reader might argue that . . . ”) only if you cannot find a real source with an opposing argument. You could present the opposing argument before your refutation (as in a “classical argument”) or after you state and argue for your own position.
Use the library’s indexes and databases rather than Google, Yahoo, or Wikipedia (see the class library page on our Blackboard site for links).
MLA 5 References