DUE DATE: Two weeks before finals.

GRADING: This is both an optional and a mandatory assignment. As an optional assignment, those who do the Essay will be able to drop their lowest score on the midterm exams. However, if any student misses a midterm, then the essay becomes a MANDATORY assignment. Only one comparative essay can be written for credit. It is strongly recommended that any student withdraw from the class should they miss two or more of the midterms. However, the Comparative Essay may NOT replace the Final Exam. The Comparative Essay is worth 100 points.


1. Examine each work thoroughly. Compare and contrast the following themes:

††††††††††† a. What are the most important political ideas or themes presented in each book?

††††††††††† b. Identify & discuss, if any, the political perspectives of the main characters at the onset of the story?

††††††††††† c. Identify & discuss any incidents that challenge or provoke the perspectives of the characters?

††††††††††† d. How do these incidents influence the outcome of the story?

††††††††††† e. What new insights did you, as reader & student, gain from reading these works?

2. Form & length: ALL essays must be typewritten and double-spaced, and at least 6 pages in length (250 words per page). Please edit your essay for grammatical and spelling errors. Such errors are distracting and makes the essay more difficult to read. Style manuals are available at the bookstore and are helpful in writing essays.

3. Remember to use a title page that includes your name (first and last), date and course information. Please staple your papers in the upper left hand corner and do not use report covers. All essays become the property of the Instructor.

4. You may choose any PAIR of works listed. Fiction and non-fiction books are included on the list. The general topic is also noted. Most of the books are available in paperback form and are available at most bookstores, libraries and on the Internet. No substitutions are allowed. 


1. Orwell, Animal Farm and Bellamy, Looking Backward (Utopian Societies).

2. Skinner, Walden Two and Huxley, Brave New World (Alternative Futures).

3. Burdick/Wheeler, Fail-Safe and Chricton, Andromeda Strain (Nuclear-Space Roulette).

4. Quinn, Daniel, Ishmael and Gore, Al, Earth in the Balance (Environment)

5. Malcolm X, Autobiography and Cleaver, Soul on Ice (Race Relations)

6. Huxley, Brave New World and Atwood, The Handmaidís Tale (Alternative Futures)

7. Mill, On Liberty and Machiavelli, The Prince (Political Theory)

8. Bernstein/Woodward, All the Presidentís Men and Reich, Locked In The Cabinet (Government)

9. Lewis, Gideonís Trumpet and Woodward & Armstrong, The Brethren (Supreme Court)

10. Frank, Diary of Anne Frank and Houston, Farewell to Manzanar (Human Rights and War)

11. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto and Rousseau, The Social Contract (Political Theory)

12. Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell, 1984 (Government and Censorship)

13. Grisham, A Time To Kill and Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird (Injustice)

14. Acuna, Occupied America and Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land (Minority Voices)

15. Friedan, Feminine Mystique and Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (Feminism)

16. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifest and Smith, Adam, Wealth of Nations (Political Economy)

17.††††††† Davis, Mike, City of Quartz, and Starr, Kevin Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era

18. Steinbeck, John, Grapes of Wrath, and Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona

19. Steinbech, John, Of Mice and Men, and Starr, Kevin, Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California

20. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, The Last Tycoon, and West, Nathaniel, Day of the Locust