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PART 1: Writing a comparative essay

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1 PART 1: Writing a comparative essay
Year 9 English

2 What is a compare and contrast essay?
You are to compare and contrast two pieces of text (………………………………..) and discuss the similarities and differences between them. The director has made choices about what scenes and characters are important and how this is to be conveyed to an audience. Your job is to identify (find out) what has changed from the original novel. What are some of the similarities between the way the characters were portrayed in the film and the novel? What were the differences in setting? What are the differences between the plot in film and the novel? What are some of the similarities between the dialogue used in the film and the novel?

3 Planning Read the book and take note of the plot, the description of characters, the setting. Decide on a particular section of the film/story that you would like to concentrate on analysing. Re-read the equivalent section of the novel and take clear notes about how the author used language to make meaning or get his point across. Review the section of the film you have decided to concentrate on. Pay particular attention to the ways in which the director has used VISUAL elements to make meaning. Write specific notes about the similarities, differences, additions and omissions (what has been left out) between the two versions.

4 Use this table to plan your work
Aspect 1 Aspect 2 Aspect 3 Is is about the setting, character or dialogue (language) ? Film Novel For each of the ‘aspects’ becomes a paragraph in your main essay. Each paragraph discusses one aspect of the texts and compares and contrasts its depiction.

5 Writing the essay The introduction
Identifies which two texts are going to be compared for the purposes of the task. Acknowledges that one text is an interpretation of another and not a reproduction. Makes a comment about how close the adaptation (the film) is to the original text (the novel).

6 Example 1 John Marsden’s novel, Tomorrow, When the War Began, explores the harshness of life for young teenagers thrust in to threatening experiences, explores the consequences of war in a small country town and questions the moral codes of life and death. The film adaptation of the novel presents a new representation of the text. It provides a visual depiction of Wirrawee and the events and characters in the text. Specifically, it uses lighting and special effects to illustrate the bridge destruction scene . In addition, the film is presented through a range of characters perspectives, not just Ellie’s insights as demonstrated in the novel. Despite these key differences, the film stays faithful to the original text, but does make alterations to the relationship shared between Ellie and Lee. What is good about this response? What is not so good about this response?

7 Example 2 Tomorrow When the War began is kind of like the book. It is a good version of the book but there are differences between the book and the film too. The character Ellie is different because she looks different. In conclusion, The film is a bit like the book but not really

8 The body paragraphs One main idea per paragraph. (Go back to your table, each of your main aspects should be used as an idea for a paragraph). Explore how the aspect is depicted (shown) in the novel. Use supporting evidence (quotes) to show how the LANGUAGE has changed from the novel to the film. Draw attention to the similarities and differences in the depiction of the scene/character/setting between the novel and film. Remember to leave a line between each paragraph.

9 Example 1 The depiction of Ellie in the film adaptation is not true to Marsden’s vision. Throughout the novel, Ellie is shown to be a brave young girl. “I made myself leave the darkness and go to it, in four quick light steps, a dance that surprised me…it was a dance of courage.” (pg 81). Indeed, Ellie is shown to be the leader of the group, the person prepared to make hard choices. This is particularly true in the novel, when Ellie convinces Fi to break in to the petrol station and steal a petrol tanker that is used to blow up the bridge. However, in the film, Ellie is depicted as unwilling to take control of her life. The producer emphasises Ellie’s vulnerability through the use of extreme close ups on her face; the audience sees her crying and visibly upset. In this way, the portrayal of Ellie in the film and novel are starkly different.

10 Example 2 there are a few similarities and differences between how Ellie is shown in the film and the novel. In the book she is often cranky and does not co-operate with the group but she is still very strong and gets her own way most of the time even when the bridge gets blown up which is a massive scene and n the movie she is shown as not very motiated and she is crying all of the time which shows us that she is sad at what is happening in her life. This is one of the differences between the film and the book.

11 Conclusion Do not introduce new ideas.
Make general comments about how realistic the film was.

12 Example 1 Their are a range of differences between John Marsdens novel ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ and it’s film adaptation, specifically in the depiction of the character ‘Ellie’, the setting of the bridge scene and the language used in the film and the descriptive metaphors used in the novel. Ultimately the film offers a visual illustration of the physical, emotional and moral consequences of war through realistic dramatisation of violence, fighting and abuse and it’s catastrofic effects

13 Example 2 the film was pretty good because you don’t have to read, instead you just watch it. The character, Ellie, shows the audiece that a girl can be a strong character that stands up for herself when faced with terrifying events like war. However, the film does share some similarities with the novel, especially in the setting of the town. The end.

14 Checklist for the introduction
Things to do in the INTRODUCTION Things NOT do in the INTRODUCTION * Based on the examples for the paragraphs, write what you should do and should not do in the introduction, main body and conclusion.

15 Checklist for the main paragraphs
Things to do when writing my MAIN paragraph Things NOT do when writing my MAIN paragraph *

16 Checklist for the conclusion
Things to do when writing the CONCLUSION Things NOT do when writing my CONCLUSION *

17 PART 2: Oral presentation
You will need to prepare a 2 minute oral presentation on a review of the film. You will need to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the film compared to the book. You will need to refer to at least 2 scenes from the film and compare them to the novel. Use the following questions to guide your presentation:

18 Questions for the oral presentation
Remembering: Describe a key scene in the novel. Explain why you like it. Understanding: What do you think are some of the main ideas raised in the film? How did the film makers use music and special effects? How did these help the story? Applying: What do you think John Marsden would say about the film adaptation of his novel? Analysing: Did the actors perform well? What made it a good performance? Evaluating: Do you think war is a good or a bad thing? Why? Why not? What influence will war have on our lives? Creating: If you were a film maker, what would you change in the film? How effective was the film in discussing some of the main ideas in the novel? You could also do a P,N,I on the film.

19 Due dates The comparative essay is due on Thursday 16th June. You will have 3 periods in class to work on this. The oral presentations will take place on Thursday 23rd June. You will have 2 periods in class to work on this task. If you do not think you will be able to finish the work by these dates speak to me BEFORE the work is due.

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