Comparison of Film Clips prompt: Write a four paragraph essay comparing and contrasting two film clips or nonfiction videos that present differing views on the same topic. Use Mla format to credit your sources



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Comparison of Film Clips

PROMPT: Write a four paragraph essay comparing and contrasting two film clips or nonfiction videos that present differing views on the same topic. Use MLA format to credit your sources.

Your essay will be on the film clips – “Jeannette Walls Lets Go of Her Shame” from the Oprah Winfrey Network and “Jeannette Walls Finds out What Happens When Stephen Throws Stones” from the Colbert Report – clips you have watched and on which you’ve taken notes within the past few days.



Reminders about Comparison/Contrast

The purpose of any comparison is to clarify and explain. Don’t just point out the obvious—that the film clips are similar or different or that they are about the same person. Your essay must answer the “so what” and analyze specific points in terms of the focus, purpose, or techniques of each piece. By the end of your essay, you must have explained the significance of the two pieces and why it was important to have looked at them together.



  1. Introduction & Thesis

  • Set a quick context for The Glass Castle and the type of life Jeannette Walls lived growing up (2 or 3 sentences)

  • Make a link (transition) from the opening sentences above to the two interviews

  • Provide the title of each clip and the host (1- 2 sentences)

  • Write a strong thesis statement that specifies your points for comparison using a combination of ideas from the list below; you may also come up with your own points for comparison:

    • for example, you may choose to compare the clips based on the purpose of each piece

    • the themes, ideas, or societal issues explored

    • the techniques used and the style of interview

    • the effectiveness of each piece and why

    • the impact of the visual, audio, and text tracks

  • In other words, you are the one to determine your focus for this comparison essay, so choose what you can handle and two or so ideas on which you have ample notes.

  1. Body Paragraph I -- Analysis and Development – of Clip #1 – (about 8 sentences)

  • Start with a topic sentence stating one of the points in your thesis (see list above) and also providing quick references to the title, host and show, etc.

  • Provide explanations, analysis, and examples

  • You may use direct questions by the hosts and also Jeannette Walls’ responses as evidence, that is her clarifications on homelessness, poverty, dreams, secrets, guilt, shame, & healing

End your paragraph with a closing statement on your analysis


  1. Body Paragraph II – Analysis and Development – of Clip #2 – (about 8 sentences)

  • Follow the same bulleted steps for Clip #1 above.

  • Remember that you must discuss the same points for Clip # 2, as discussed in the first clip.

  1. Conclusion – Overall Evaluation – You may use one or two of the thoughts below or come up with your own insights.

  • How does each video clip fit into your knowledge, world view and/or experiences? How significant are the issues raised? How effective is each piece – in its message, techniques, or focus? Any possible links to The Glass Castle in terms of insights gained from the book and from the clips?


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