the first paragraph offers an engaging opening that leads to a suitable thesis of contrast

– the body of the essay develops the central purpose in a thoughtful, substantive, in-depth way

– the essay reveals the students good understanding and close engagement with both poems

– the student clearly differentiates between the two poems throughout the essay

– the comparison of the two poems goes beyond a mere listing of differences or similarities and enhances an understanding of the two texts and the issues involved

– the ambition and quality of the insights presented move beyond what is merely “safe” or “standard” and is thoughtful and perhaps even striking


– the student writer demonstrates a good sense of the target audience (an informed reader, not a general reader)

(Organization, Coherence, Support)

– the essay is well-organized and coherent and presented in a logically sequenced way; there are clear connections established between paragraphs

– the assertions are supported with lively, telling details from both texts

– the quotations from the two texts are aptly chosen, skillfully introduced, adequately commented upon and integrated gracefully in the essay


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