3. Compare/Contrast, Sample 1

Take a look at the following comparison/contrast essay: What format does it use? What suggestions do you have for improving it? It’s not a great essay: It could use some strong revisions.


Feelings Change
The image of “my hometown” has a special meaning for many people. It’s filled with warmth, comfort and support. For most teens, however, their hometown is a place they cannot wait to escape from. It’s only when they are adult that they return to place where they grew up and recognize how special it really is. My hometown, Bakersfield, is a perfect example of this phenomenon as younger people are always bored out of their wits, but the grownups seem content as can be.
            As teens in Bakersfield, we are not happy with our community because there very few activities available to keep our attention. We have a small general store where we can buy soda and chips and other munchies, a post office and a fire station. Other than that, we have to travel 30 miles to the nearest city where we can go to the mall or movie theater. For most kids in our community who can’t drive yet, the city is too far away unless they can get a parent or other adult to drive them. So we spend most of our days searching for something to disrupt the boredom: it’s a major cause for our growing dislike of the community.
           Also, nothing exciting ever happens in Bakersfield. Each day is like the day before: monotonous. During school days, we wake up, get ready for school, wait for the bus, spend the day at school, come home, do homework, watch TV or play video games and go to bed. Then we do the same thing the next day, and the next, and the next…On weekends we watch TV or play video games, and sometimes we go over to a friend’s house and watch TV or play video games there. There’s just nothing in Bakersfield to attract our attention. It’s a routine that draws us to the brink of insanity and forces us to dream about the day we will at last be able to leave.
           Finally, the environment is not conducive to a teen’s happiness. We’re in the middle of nowhere, a wasteland void of teenage opportunities. Like I said, the nearest city is 30 miles away, and nothing but woods and farmlands surround us. We don’t even have a river or lake nearby to go swimming or fishing. In the fall, some of us like to hunt, but by winter, we’re snowed in with nothing at all to do all day long. With a poor environment and no organized teen-oriented activities, we feel the town has left us down: a big reason why we want to leave here is simply to teach the town a lesson for ignoring us.
            Adults, on the other hand, don’t mind this lifestyle at all. Their days (or nights if they work a late shift) are spent away from home on the job. When they do come home, they like to sit around and watch TV to recover from a hard-day’s work. It helps relax them, so they can get a good night’s sleep, which is easy to do in the calm and tranquility of the town. They find contentment in daily routines and feel invigorated instead of emotionally drained from the lack of excitement. During the weekends, they can find extra time to catch up on chores around the house or spend a little extra time with the kids, who are probably doing their best to try and avoid the adults.
           Adults also appreciate the relative safety our town offers them and their families. There is no crime to speak of, and residents typically keep their doors and windows unlocked because no one will ever break into their homes. It is a safe community to raise their children, and it keeps them at ease not always knowing where the kids might be. Even without a local police station or sheriff’s office, they feel comfortable knowing that crime is simply non-existent. They also work together in an informal kind of “neighborhood crime watch” where they look out for their friends’ and neighbors’ interests when they might be out of town.
           Finally, adults enjoy the camaraderie of the community. Families have been living in Bakersfield for generations, and they have known each other for generations. The town is more like an extended family as adults often visit with one another and share special times like Christmas and even birthdays together. Families ever hold regular picnics during the summer months and often travel in groups to the city for shopping an dining excursions. Everyone knows everyone, something that might not be conducive to a teen’s happiness but makes adults feel like their hometown is something special.
            Kids can’t wait to leave Bakersfield. It’s their goal throughout their teen years. But as adults, they often come back because it is their home, and they are comfortable here. It’s a place they can raise their own children, renewing the generational likes and dislikes of our little town, Bakersfield.


So, obviously this is case pattern. It talks about what the town is like for teens and then what the town is like for adults. Think about how you could revise this as an alternating pattern or an opposing pattern. How you decide on what pattern to choose willd depend on several different factors, but take some time to consider the possibilities as you write your rough drafts.