Matrix Blog

English 11-12

How to Write A Year 11 Comparative Essay | Module A: Narratives that Shape our World

Writing a comparative essay isn't hard if you take the time to plan and structure your response. Read below to find out how you can do this with the FREE Matrix Comparative Essay Template!

Need to write a Year 11 comparative essay? We’ll explain exactly what makes a good comparative essay and how you can conquer the Year 11 English syllabus outcomes. To make sure you’re ahead, we’ve even shared a free Comparative Essay Template!

 

In this article, we will discuss:

 

What is a Comparative Essay?

In a comparative essay, you discuss two or more texts and try to explain their differences and similarities. You will also be required to write a comparative essay for your HSC, so it’s important to practise writing them now.

 

What is Module A: Narratives that Shape our World?

This module is a contextual study. A contextual study asks you to look at a text’s context in detail as part of your study of the text. Hence, why you are asked to discuss and compare multiple texts in a single essay.

Context is the circumstances of the historical period and conditions during which a text was composed and its composer lived.

The other focus of Module A: ‘Narratives that Shape our World’ is the importance of narratives and storytelling to human society.

Storytelling and narratives provide insight into how humans view themselves as individuals, cultures, and nations.

The Year 11 Module A: ‘Narratives that Shape our World’ is designed to introduce students into the key concepts that are the basis for the ‘Year 12 Module A: Textual Conversations’. The HSC module is also concerned with how composers are influenced by context and values, and how this shapes meaning in their texts.

 

Module A Rubric from NESA

To ace Module A, you must first understand what you are expected to demonstrate. This can be found in the rubric.

In this module, students explore a range of narratives from the past and the contemporary era that illuminate and convey ideas, attitudes and values. They consider the powerful role of stories and storytelling as a feature of narrative in past and present societies, as a way of: connecting people within and across cultures, communities and historical eras; inspiring change or consolidating stability; revealing, affirming or questioning cultural practices; sharing collective or individual experiences; or celebrating aesthetic achievement. Students deepen their understanding of how narrative shapes meaning in a range of modes, media and forms, and how it influences the way that individuals and communities understand and represent themselves.

Students analyse and evaluate one or more print, digital and/or multimodal texts to explore how narratives are shaped by the context and values of composers (authors, poets, playwrights, directors, designers and so on) and responders alike. They may investigate how narratives can be appropriated, reimagined or reconceptualised for new audiences. By using narrative in their own compositions students increase their confidence and enjoyment to express personal and public worlds in creative ways.

Students investigate how an author’s use of textual structures, language and stylistic features are crafted for particular purposes, audiences and effects. They examine conventions of narrative, for example setting, voice, point of view, imagery and characterisation and analyse how these are used to shape meaning. Students also explore how rhetorical devices enhance the power of narrative in other textual forms, including persuasive texts. They further develop and apply the conventions of syntax, spelling, punctuation and grammar for specific purposes and effect.

Students work individually and collaboratively to evaluate and refine their own use of narrative devices to creatively express complex ideas about their world in a variety of modes for a range of purposes and critically evaluate the use of narrative devices by other composers.

Source: Module A Rubric from the NESA website

 

Here are some key points that are emphasised in the Year 11 Module A syllabus rubric:

  • Identify the similarities and differences between the 2 texts, including values, attitudes, and composition of the texts
    • Investigate how narratives can be appropriated, reimagined or reconceptualised, so that they remain relevant for new audiences
  • Understand that texts are a reflection of their context
  • Understand how the composer reveals, affirms or questions social practices, issues, values, and assumptions
    • Do they support or challenge the social norms of their context?
    • What is their purpose? What are they trying to achieve by sharing their narrative?
  • Consider how the authors have deliberately used the form, media, mode, textual structures, language and stylistic features in the texts to create a particular effect for their audience
  • Understand that your interpretation of the text is influenced by your context

 

What do I need to include in a Year 11 Comparative Essay?

Not surprisingly, you will need to draw connections between the texts in question. With a good understanding of the text itself and its context, you should be able to achieve the following things in your comparative essay.

  • Comparison: Compare the two texts for similarities and differences (values, composition, storyline etc.)
  • Commentary: Analyse the evidence
  • Context: How does the composer’s context shape the textual choice and influence our understanding of it?

Want a template to ace those comparative essays?

Download the FREE Comparative Essay Template for a clear scaffold of a comparative essay PLUS recommended word counts for each section and annotations of an exemplar essay.

What is the structure of a Comparative Essay?

It’s especially important to plan comparative essays because a response going back and forth between two texts can become very hard to follow. There are two main ways to structure a comparative essay response:

  • Divided response
  • Integrated response

 

What is a divided response?

Divided responses discuss one text and at least one theme in a paragraph.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Allow for the detailed exploration of one text
  • Keep ideas and texts neatly compartmentalised
  • Less complex to write
  • Require additional statements that contrast the texts
  • Easy to not adequately contrast the texts
  • May have a higher word count because students need to repeat information from the previous paragraph to compare the texts

What is an integrated response?

Integrated responses discuss multiple texts around one theme in a paragraph.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Clearly contrast texts
  • Allow for detailed exploration of an idea
  • Are more concise and direct in addressing comparative study
  • Can be difficult to write
  • They require students to juggle multiple texts clearly in one paragraph
  • Easy to get sidetracked
  • Easy to make convoluted


Which structure is better?

Ultimately, neither structure is better than the other. A well-written essay using either structure can score full marks.

As you can see above, both structures have their pros and cons. So, you should pick whichever one you feel more confident with. You might need to experiment with each structure to figure out what works best for you.

 

How do I write a Divided Essay Response?

Your essay response will consist of a(n):

  • Introduction
  • 4 body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Here’s what you will need to include in each paragraph:

 

Introduction

Thesis statement: a clear response to the question.

Thematic outline: a brief explanation of the key differences or commonalities in the way each theme is explored between the texts.

Module statement: a clear connection between your argument and module statement in the syllabus rubric.

 

Divided body paragraph

In each body paragraph of a divided essay, you discuss ONE text and ONE theme.

Order Which text does it discuss? Which theme does it discuss?
Body paragraph 1 Earlier text Theme 1
Body paragraph 2 Later text Theme 1
Body paragraph 3 Earlier text Theme 2
Body paragraph 4 Later text Theme 2

Topic sentence: clarifies how your argument is proved by ONE theme in ONE text.

Analysis of evidence: identify 3-5 pieces of textual evidence from the ONE text, stated in your topic sentence, to support your argument.

Concluding sentence: reiterate your argument in light of the evidence that you have presented.

 

Conclusion

Thesis statement: Re-establish your stated response to the question.

Thematic outline: Clearly show how your thematic arguments spanning both texts support your thesis.

Module statement: Final connection between your argument and module statement in the syllabus rubric.

 

 

How do I write an Integrated Essay Response?

Your essay response will consist of a(n):

  • Introduction
  • 2 body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Here’s what you will need to include in each paragraph:

 

Introduction

Thesis statement: a clear response to the question.

Thematic outline: a brief explanation of the key differences or commonalities in the way each theme is explored between the texts.

Module statement: a clear connection between your argument and module statement in the syllabus rubric.

 

Integrated body paragraph

Order Which text does it discuss? Which theme does it discuss?
Body paragraph 1 Earlier text + Later text Theme 1
Body paragraph 2 Earlier text + Later text Theme 2

Topic sentence: directly compare how your thematic concern is portrayed in both texts.

Analysis of evidence:

You should organise your evidence from each text in this order:

  1. 1-2 pieces of evidence from the earlier text
  2. 1-2 pieces of evidence from the later text
  3. 1-2 pieces of evidence from the earlier text
  4. 1-2 pieces of evidence from the later text

Evidence from the earlier text should always be discussed before related evidence from the later text. This will allow you to directly evaluate how the original thematic message presented in the earlier text has been changed in the later text due to contextual influences and interpretations.

Concluding sentence: reiterate your thematic argument and point out any important nuances between the texts that you have captured in your analysis.

 

Conclusion

Thesis statement: Re-establish your stated response to the question.

Thematic outline: Clearly show how your thematic arguments spanning both texts support your thesis.

Module statement: Final connection between your argument and module statement in the syllabus rubric.

 

Ace your Preliminary Exams with the perfect Year 11 Comparative Essay!

Writing good essays requires three things: practice, feedback and revision. If you aren’t sure whether your comparative essays are meeting the mark or want to improve your writing skills, let our experienced English teachers help you!

Written by Amanda Shi

Amanda Shi is a graduate of James Ruse High School and is a digital marketing intern with Matrix Education. She began studying Dentistry at the University of Sydney in 2021.

 

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.

Join 75,893 students who already have a head start.

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our cookies statement.

OK, I understand