An author comparison essay is a slightly more sophisticated task than the average high school compare and contrast essay It allows a student to go beyond a surface level analysis of two authors’ works and to explore their ideas, arguments and implications in further detail. This essay type encourages critical thinking, taking a stance on a particular issue or identifying key similarities and differences between two authors' works.
Example 1: A comparison of the works of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. In this essay, the student would discuss the similarities and differences between the two playwrights in terms of their language, plots and characters. The student would also need to consider how their respective works reflect the values of their times and how their differing approaches to theatre have stood the test of time.
Example 2: A comparison of the works of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Here, the student can discuss the authors' similarities in their use of language, characterization and their shared emphasis on African American female experience and identity. They can also note how the authors differ in their use of tone, structure and how each speaks to a different time period and cultural context.
Example 3: A comparison of the works of Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill. This essay can explore the common themes of family, identity and tradition that both authors explore in their plays, as well as noting the differences in their approaches to character development and storytelling. The student can also consider the various social and political issues that their works grapple with, and how they speak to the American experience in the mid-20th century.
Example 4: A comparison of the works of Jean Anouilh and Jean Paul Sartre. In this essay, the student can compare the existentialist approaches of the two authors, discussing how their plays explore life and death, suffering and love, and explore how this philosophical perspective has been expressed through their works.
Example 5: A comparison of the works of J.M. Barrie and C.S. Lewis. This essay can discuss the various fantasy worlds created by both authors, as well as their use of language, character development, and mythopoetic themes. The student can also consider how these authors convey their Christian faith in different ways and explore the impact that their works have had on popular culture.