Comparing opinion texts:
- In order to compare opinion texts, you will need to have a good grasp of each author’s viewpoints, their perspective and their evidence.
Identify which persuasive techniques are most closely aligned to (linked to) their viewpoint.
- Identify the obvious similarities and differences with regards to the viewpoints and the techniques. (I have zoomed in on four obvious points.)
- Give quotes and explain each other’s specific analytical focus.
- Be selective. The longer the text, the more selective you must be. Choose key reasons and key points of comparison.
- Do not overdo the comparison; your essay will be hard to follow.
Make clever cross-references without losing the focus of the paragraph.
Step 1: Do a quick dot point plan of the viewpoints and evidence.
Cartoon: Leunig criticises mothers who have an obsessive tendency to focus on their phones. (Personal observation; attacking tactics)
Text 2: Ms Smith defends Leunig’s cartoon; she too criticises parents who becoming distracted by their phones. (Evidence/Attack) She singles out the mother’s behaviour, but sees it as a trend of problematic and distracting behaviour. (Other real-life examples; comparison) It is the same type of distraction that has lethal consequences (motor accidents/pedestrian accidents).
Text 3: Dr Johnson defends the rights and needs of mothers who may need to use their phones. She criticises Leunig’s (chauvinistic) tendency to target mothers. (Evidence and attack) She cites real life examples (scenarios) that defend the mother and show an important use for the phone. She criticises Leunig’s reference to Dr Winnicott and the literal obsession with “eye contact”.
Text 4: Leunig criticises people’s obsession with the phone which often has tragic consequences. An obsession with phones is leading to negligent behaviour, often with tragic consequences. (Evidence : psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott)
Step 2: Identify the obvious points of comparison with regards to viewpoints; then explore the “purpose” and “positioning statements”.
Text 1: the visual depictions shame the mother who strides away, indifferent to the child’s plight.
Text 2: Ms Smith equally shames the father who is also “surfing the net on the beach, while the child paddles”. Her real-life examples are designed to marginalise “electronically distracted” parents who neglect their children. (also an intent to unsettle parents about the loss of personal contact)
Text 3: Dr Johnson is one such “academic” who defends the rights and needs of mothers. Her real-life scenarios are used to turn the spotlight on Leunig’s literal obsession with “eye contact”. She reassures all mothers that just because they may not have eye contact for a moment, does not mean that they are not a “good enough mother”.
See also our newly published Arguments, Techniques and Opinion-based texts
For a detailed use of metalanguage for comparison and for a full plan of this article, see “Using Metalanguage for Argument Analysis and Comparisons“