How to Compare Two Stories

Do you have two stories and don’t understand how they work together?

Welcome to this Mometrix lesson on comparing two stories!

To compare two stories, we need to consider their similarities and differences pertaining to main ideas, themes, tone, characters, greater contributions, inspirations, opinions, etc. This is an important skill to have when reading because it stretches your thinking and your brain’s ability to remember key points of one story and assess how those points may be similar in a different context. Practicing this skill is actually really fun and helps to bring reading to life. It allows for your readings, or interpretations, of different texts to go beyond just one, uncovering multiple levels hidden in each text.

If you’ve watched our video on how to compare and contrast, then you know that a great way to compare two things is to create a list. The first side of the list should consist of key things you noticed in the first story, and the second side of the list should consist of how the second story lines up with what you noticed in the first.

Comparison #1

Let’s look at an off-the-wall but simple example first. Let’s compare Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with Harry Potter. For the first side of our list, we’ll look at Alice in Wonderland:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

  • The story centers around a young child
  • It deals with magical elements
  • There are darker themes at play in the novel
  • Heavy themes of loss of innocence and coming of age
  • Many fantastical features and animated creatures
  • The child is not being led by an adult, rather by her imagination and by trial and error
  • Focus on an alternate reality

 
For the second side of our list, we’ll look at Harry Potter:

Harry Potter

  • The story also centers around a young child, really, young children
  • There is a heavy influence of sorcery throughout the novels
  • It also deals with darker themes, loss of innocence, and coming of age
  • Many fantastical creatures
  • Kids are being led
  • Focus on an alternate reality

 

Comparison #2

A more complex example might be if you wanted to compare Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass with Emily Dickinson’s poem “#1400 – What Mystery Pervades a Well!”

To do this comparison you might note what Whitman uses:

Leaves of Grass

  • Nature
  • Grass
  • Man’s curiosity
  • Man’s divine connection with nature

 
On the other side of your list, you might note about Dickinson’s poem:

“#1400 – What Mystery Pervades a Well!”

  • She also uses nature
  • Personification of grass and of a well
  • Themes concerning the divinity of man and nature
  • You might also note her inclination towards man’s disconnect with nature

 
Again, this is a little more complex of an example, but even without knowing the references, you can still see that there are clear similarities between the two texts. With this list of information, you could easily write multiple pages for an essay comparing these two texts.

With either of the examples presented, you could write a well-informed essay, if you needed to, comparing and contrasting two stories. Even if not for writing an essay, comparing two stories, no matter how seemingly unrelated like in our first example, is great practice for stretching your mind to see similarities that might otherwise be overlooked.

Thanks for joining us, today. Until next time!

 

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: June 14, 2022