Reading & Comparing Texts

This Resource is for Mainstream English students studying in the Victorian Curriculum in Years 11 & 12 for AOS 1 Reading and Comparing Texts.

Scope of the Task

In this area of study students explore the meaningful connections between two texts.  They analyse texts, including the interplay between character and setting, voice and structure, and how ideas, issues and themes are conveyed.  By comparing the texts, they gain a deeper understanding of the ideas, issues and themes that reflect the world and human experiences.

Students produce a written analysis comparing selected texts, discussing important similarities and differences and exploring how the texts deal with similar or related ideas, issues or themes from different perspectives to reflect particular values.  

60 marks are allocated to this task with a suggested essay of up to 1000 words

What is the best structure for the Comparative Essay?

Before Writing the Essay

  • Read the prompt question carefully
  • Use your Dictionary to define strategic words in the prompt
  • If there is a quote or 2 quotes in the prompt work out who said it and in what context – you must refer to the quote/s in one of your body paragraphs and explain its relevance
  • Understand what the prompt question is asking you – is it Discuss / To what extent? / Do you Agree?
  • Never use 1st person (I agree) always write from the viewpoint of the Author/Text = The author endorses the view that / The text supports the view that / These characters reflect the author’s view that

Comparative Text Essay Structure using TEEL

  1. Introduction = Main Contention & Message of Author/Director
  2. Body Paragraph 1 = Cause/Accept Prompt / Topic Sentence / Text 1 Evidence & Explanations / Transitional Sentence from Text 1 to Text 2 / Text 2 Evidence & Explanations / Link back to topic
  3. Body Paragraph 2 = Response/Develop Prompt Further / Topic Sentence / Text 1 Evidence & Explanations / Transitional Sentence from Text 1 to Text 2 / Text 2 Evidence & Explanations / Link back to topic
  4. Body Paragraph 3 = Consequences / Topic Sentence / Text 1 Evidence & Explanations / Transitional Sentence from Text 1 to Text 2 / Text 2 Evidence & Explanations / Link back to topic
  5. Conclusion = Sum up briefly / Message of Author/Director

What is a ‘Transitional Sentence’ between Text 1 & Text 2 in Body Paragraphs?

Using the comparative texts of ‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘Photograph 51’ by Anna Ziegler as an example, look carefully at the way the paragraph is constructed with a ‘transitional sentence’ that explains the similarity or difference between the two texts and enables a smooth transition from text 1 to text 2. This paragraph is a very brief example only and should be developed further with more evidence and explanations if students are writing this as a comparative essay.

Sample Brief Body Para 1 = Main Contention = Both Penelope and Rosalind’s subjugation result from a discriminatory patriarchal mentality

Transitional sentence is colour coded in Red Text

(Topic Sentence) The subjugation of women in The Penelopaid and Photograph 51 is caused by a discriminatory patriarchal mentality.  (Text 1) When Penelope is 15, Icarius hands her over “like a package of meat” to Odysseus.  Although he behaves as if he reciprocates her love, Odysseus also terrifies her by threatening to cut her “into little pieces” if she is unfaithful.  This illustrates the power of men in ancient Greece to intimidate women into succumbing to their control.  (Transitional sentence) While Penelope is threatened by violence and physical danger, Rosalind is exposed to more psychological forms of intimidation.  (Text 2) Rosalind is barred from the “men only” common room where “scientific discoveries are made over lunch”.  Furthermore, she is called “Miss” instead of “Dr Franklin” by her male colleagues which is intentionally belittling.  The repeated word “beat” in the stage directions also signals the continual awkwardness and tension as Rosalind refuses to stay silent and submissive.  (Link Sentence Back to Topic) While the patriarchy prevents Rosalind from attaining her “rightful place in history”, it does not render her entirely voiceless until the afterlife like Penelope.

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