When students start comparing texts, many don't realise is a simple formula you can follow in order to showcase an insightful and unique understanding of the text.
Firstly, you need to know what you should avoid - stating that the texts are 'exactly the same' or 'completely different'
The CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy visual below show us how the two lines (representing either text) never overlap. Thus while there are some elements of the texts which are the same (for example, both texts have a male protagonist), we should never assert that the texts shows meaning in the exact same way. No matter what, there will always be a point of difference between the texts (which we will discuss later in this blog).
Similarly, avoid stating that an aspect of the two texts is completely 'different'. As the visual above shows, the two lines come close together, but not close enough so that they meet.
So, what does that mean for us?
It means that anytime you make a comparison, don't be afraid to look at what's similar, and also what's different between the texts. Here's a wonderful example from our How To Write a Killer Comparative ebook, written by 50 English study scorer, Anna Wittwer:
For example, in Ransom, Priam, who commands a ‘reverence and great affection’ from his subjects and royal family, is described by Somax initially as ‘like a child…a bit on the slow side’. Outside of his normal setting and in the eyes of somebody new, even the king of Troy can seem unsteady and naïve. This phenomenon also exists in Invictus, but in a more fraught context; in the first rugby game of the film, Eastwood employs long shots of the older, white Afrikaners in the crowd who wave the old flag and stand with their arms grimly folded at the sight of their new president.
Notice how Anna draws a similarity ('also exists in Invictus') and a difference ('but in a more fraught context')? This is what the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy teaches you to do - and how to do it seamlessly in your essay writing so that the comparisons don't feel too stiff and unnatural (like when students start a comparison with, 'On the other hand...').
If you're interested, How To Write a Killer Comparative ebook shows you the inner workings of my brain 💭- what I think when I see an essay topic, how I tackle it, and how I turn these thoughts into a high-scoring essay. The ebook includes:
- Learn the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy to write A+ essays
- Know different essay structures, including advanced paragraph structures
- Over 10+ popular VCE English texts included
- PLUS bonus high vs. low scoring essays, fully annotated so you know exactly what you need to do