Below is the basic essay structure for a 5-paragraph expository essay. Each CD (concrete detail – the “what” = evidence, support, facts, examples, quotes, etc.) would be followed by at least two CMs (commentary – the “so what” = analysis, interpretation, opinion, inference, insight, etc.) that analyze the CD and connect it to the thesis.
PROMPT: Compare the basic features of two of these early civilizations in at least two different structures. These structures include: culture, government structure, social structure, economic developments, religious beliefs, and/or technological achievements.
Mesopotamia • Huang He valley civilization, Shang, Zhou,
Egypt Qin, and Han Dynasties
Indus Valley (Harappan civilization),
Characteristics (Concrete Details) of Region/Topic #1: _____________________________
Characteristics (Concrete Details) of Region/Topic #2: ______________________________
Key Differences (Commentary) – written in COMPLETE SENTENCES
Reason(s) for Similarities/Differences (Analysis) – written in COMPLETE SENTENCES
PROMPT:Compare the basic features of two of these early civilizations in at least two different structures: culture, government structure, social structure, economic developments, religious beliefs, and/or technological achievements.
Indus River Valley (Harappan) civilization, Mauryan/Gupta Empires
Huang He River Valley (Yellow River) civilization, Shang/Zhou/Qin/Han Dynasties
Place your essay in the larger context of world history. Set the stage by showing how, when, and where this topic relates to the rest of world history.
Circle one of the beginnings below and then continue with the rest of your thesis based on the outline you created. Do NOT simply re-write the prompt. Avoid the use of the words similarities and differences, if possible. Answer the question directly with a thesis statement that will be proven throughout your body paragraphs.
While / Although / In spite of / Despite _____________________________________________________
Rest of Introductory Paragraph/Thesis Statement (aka “Forecast” of the rest of your essay)
Include a brief outline / summary of how you will prove your thesis (In other words, preview the topic sentences of each paragraph to come. You will need to focus on and introduce the categories/structures that will be discussed in the essay.)
Writing a Comparative Essay Thesis All essays must have an acceptable thesis, which address the issues and themes specified in the prompt. One of the simplest and most successful ways is to use a format called WAHP3 – “What is it about, how will you prove it - give me three ways?”
For instance if the prompt was “Compare and Contrast the formation of empires in any two Classical civilizations (a) the Mediterranean; (b) South Asia; and (c) East Asia” an acceptable thesis sentence would look something like this:
While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and expanded their frontiers through the use of military strength, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism.
The “WA” part of the thesis is empire formation in Rome and Han China while the “HP3” includes (1) both centralized power and (2) both used militaries to expand; and one difference (3) different political philosophies. Please note that this thesis contains themes specified in the prompt (empire building), two regions (Rome and Han China), at least one comparison (there are two) and at least one difference, and the time period. Please note that it is critical to include the time period because without it an essay might not be historically valid.
It is best in the thesis statement to make at least two significant and direct comparisons – one should be a similarity and one a difference (if the prompt asks you to compare). It is not acceptable to simply say “the two civilizations were similar and different.” This is paraphrasing or copying the prompt. A student must qualify the prompt by fleshing it out in detail.
For this assignment and all essays, your thesis statement and introduction paragraph should match up with the outline you created. If your thesis does not relate to the content of your essay then your essay is not supporting the claims you make in your thesis.
THESIS DEAD WORDS (as well as anywhere else in your writing)