Romil’s essay was written in the middle of the semester in WR 112 for the comparative analysis paper. This assignment is typically challenging for students to write, and many struggle as they try to move beyond superficial comparison (“X is similar to Y in the following ways…but also different from Y in the following ways…”) to instead bring two seemingly unconnected texts together in complex and original ways. Romil accomplishes this task expertly, using one source—Pico Iyer’s “Lonely Places”—more as a theory source (instructors might preview just the exhibit and theory parts of BEAM/BEAT for this assignment) to analyze another—Justin Nobel’s “The Last Inuit of Quebec.” Instructors could ask students to brainstorm possible connections among these two texts prior to reading Romil’s paper, perhaps grouping them into “similarity” claims, “difference” claims, “similarity-yet-also-difference” claims, and “other relationship” claims, then discussing their relative strengths and the kinds of arguments that could be made in support of each claim. I typically elicit examples of “other relationship” claims that are synthesis claims (“Together Texts X + Y show us something new and interesting about the world”) and also ones that are “lens” claims (“Text X shows us something new about Text Y”), to scaffold students’ constructions of both kinds of claims; students could look closely at the signaling language in Romil’s argument that helps anchor her essay firmly in “lens” essay territory.

WR 112: Academic Writing for ESL Students 2