How to Write a Comparison Essay of Two Films

By: SixMinuteScholar

Hi, I'm Rebecca Balcarcel, and I can help you write an essay that compares two films. Let's walk through the process by looking at two particular films, the Disney animated ALLADIN, and CINDERELLA. Now I started my process of coming up with a- a point for this essay, a thesis for the essay, the thing that my essay is going to prove. I started that process with a bunch of notes, and lists of facts about the films that are in common. So I noticed, "Well, both of them are love stories." Okay, but is that a thesis? No, it's just a simple fact. Well, let's see. Both of them have a character that goes from rags to riches. Cinderella and Alladin are both commoners who end up marrying royalty.

But is that enough for an essay? It's not, because an essay has to prove some insightful point about the films. I've got to find some point of comparison, some similarity, that is inferred by me and is not just obvious, laying on the surface. So I've got to think deeper. So let's look at these two characters. How is it that they can go from rags to riches? What is it that they have internally that makes this possible? Well, I thought through it some more, and I thought, "Well, these peasants both have inner resources that they can draw upon to get the attention of this beloved, who is a prince or a princess." For a while Alladin thinks that he needs to be a rich prince in order to gain the love of Jasmine, or to have permission to marry her, in particular. But it turns out that his street-rat abilities become important, and are shown off at the end of the film especially, where we see that he proves his worth, even to Jasmine's father.

So it's really his inner resources that he developed as a commoner that make him valuable to Jasmine as a prince, as a husband. Something similar happens with Cinderella. She is mostly cheerful and kind, and forgiving of those evil stepsisters and stepmother.

Now, her cheerfulness comes in handy when she, uh, has no dress for the ball, can't go, but the animals start helping her, a fairy godmother shows up... It's as if her good karma, or her good heart, has drawn this solution to her problem to her. So she's able to go to the ball, meet the prince, and so on.

How to Write a Comparison Essay of Two Films

So it's her kindness that allows her to be worthy of the prince, and that brings the solution to her problem, and for Alladin, it's his resourcefulness and his bravery that solve the big problem and make him worthy for the princess, even in her father's eyes. So, now out of all this, we can find an inference. An inference is a conclusion that we've drawn from the facts. It's not obvious. It's something that we can arrive at by thinking deeply about these characters. Not just about what they did... You know, they managed to marry royalty -- that's- that's a fact.

So not about what they did, but how or why, deeper questions about what makes this possible. So my inference for these two films (here's one we could work with) is: Both peasants discover that their inner resources, not their status or material wealth, will bring love into their lives. That's a thesis you could start a comparison essay with. Here are a few more facts, followed by inferences, that I was able to write after I asked myself "how" or "why." Now, where would you put this thesis sentence? The strongest place to put it is at the end of the introduction. So let's kind of draw out the introduction here. The first sentence needs to be a sentence that includes the titles of the movies, and the directors. If you were writing about literature, you would have titles and authors. In movies, we credit the director. So, "In Alladin, directed by so-and-so, and Cinderella, directed by so-and-so..." Now the rest of the sentence should be a broad inference, nothing too obvious like, "These two films are love stories," but maybe something like, "In Alladin, directed by so-and-so, in Cinderall, directed by so-and-so, we meet characters who start off as peasants, but discover their inner worth." Something like that. This is an inference that gives the reader, immediately, a chance to see what this essay's going to be about, and a little hint of what the thesis will be as well.

So in the introductory paragraph, that's your first sentence. Now we need some factual information, in about three to five sentences, that will remind the reader, "Who is Cinderella, again? Who is Alladin, again? Oh, yeah." So we need a few sentences like, "Alladin lives on the streets of Baghdad, he falls in love with a princess and thinks he needs to be a prince to marry her, at first. Cinderella lives with an evil stepmother who makes her work as a maid all day, but she never loses her cheerfulness and her good heart." Something like that. Remind us of the facts of the film. Now, then you have prepared us for that thesis sentence that says, uh, what was it? "Both peasants discover that their inner resources, not their status or material wealth, will bring love into their lives." Okay, so there's your intro paragraph. To recap, you need a broad inference, three to five factual reminders, and that deep insight for a thesis. Here's a sample introduction that includes all of those elements. Now, how do you know if your thesis is good? You know it's a good thesis if it can be argued with, if a reader might say, "That's not right, that's not true.

Is that right? Really?" or, "I think that could be true of him, but is that true of her?" If you can get the reader thinking those kinds of thoughts in response to your thesis, you know that it does indeed make an argument. It actually makes a claim. That's how you know it's a good thesis.

If it needs to be proven, then it deserves an essay. If it's something obvious that needs no proof, there's no reason to write an essay at all. The essay exists in order to prove that inference, in order to explore it, unpack it, and provide evidence that that is a valid thesis. Okay, so let's say that that's your thesis. Now in the first body paragraph of your essay, you're going to need to begin with yet another inference, so yet another insight into these characters. Now, it's got to support the thesis though, it can't just be another seperate inference. It is there to prop up the thesis, to provide evidence. The whole paragraph is going to go into detail and give quotes, but this first sentence of the body paragraph needs to support what the thesis is saying.

So the first sentence might be something like, "A good attitude allows Cinderella and Alladin to cope with harsh living conditions." Now this would work as a body paragraph first sentence, because it does infer, it talks about their good attitude, and then it gives the paragraph something to discuss. So, what good attitude? Where do you see the good attitude? You can tell the reader, "Well, Cinderella is made to do all these chores, but she's patient, she's cheerful, she sings, even, while she's doing some of these chores." So we can prove that she does have a good attitude, and this attitude is how she's able to cope with living in this horrible situation with the stepmother. Alladin, we can prove that he has a good attitude. As he's running through the bazar, stealing bread, he has a sense of humor, he sings. You could prove that he has a good attitude, and that, inspite of his hardship and lack, he is managing to survive and even thrive in the midst of poverty.

So there's your first body paragraph. For a second body paragraph, you would need a second inference, and you could go on and on for as many paragraphs as you can. It doesn't have to be just three body paragraphs, as you may have been taught in high school, the traditional five-paragraph form, but it could be. If you have a fourth idea that will support that thesis, why not have a fourth paragraph, and then of course end with the conclusion? But every body paragraph should open with an inference. That gives it something to prove. Let me give you another example. Um, let's see.

Cinderella and Alladin conquer evil by calling upon inner strength. Hmm. Do they really? Well, you could take a paragraph and prove it, that they do call on inner strength when they're faced with these evil situations. Alright, so we could go on like this, with more inferences, more proof. We would certainly include quotes. In some cases, quotes are worth maybe as much as ten points in an essay, so make certain to include direct quotations from the film, not just references to the events, but people actually talking, and put it in, in quotation marks. Now, to conclude, your conclusion should not start talking about a new idea. It should recap the argument you have just made.

So you've put together this elaborate proof of the thesis, and now you need to recap that, and remind the reader, "Okay, you remember I made this point, and I made this other point, and this point, and that all adds up to..." not the thesis, which you do not want to put just verbatim over again in conclusion. You've got to rephrase it, rework it, so that you're expressing a similar idea, but in different words, and then your conclusion is done. So there's your comparison essay, and one last tip: Avoid talking about differences in a comparison essay, unless your teacher has expressly said to explain differences, as well as similarities. Oftentimes, it's only the similarity that is interesting, because the differences are so, so obvious, and there's not a lot of inferences that we can make when we're talking about differences. So stay with the similarities. Alright, good luck.

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