For the final exam, write an essay of 800-1000 words in which you compare “The Rocking-Horse Winner” and “The Necklace” in a way that shows how they are similar. Your main point of the essay will therefore be some version of this: “Although these two stories seem quite different, I would argue they are actually similar in important ways.” Of course, you can/should rewrite this and adapt it to fit your particular stories and topic.
Although your main point is to show how two stories are similar, you are also free to talk about differences between the two. Towards the end of the essay might be a good place to discuss differences, after you have established that they are similar in key ways.
There are many ways you could approach this essay. You might think about stories with similar themes, for instance. That way you could argue something like, “Although these stories reveal their themes in different ways, they are both about the dangers of money and materialism.”
Another approach is to find two characters who are similar in some ways and compare them. For example, we have read several stories that would fall into the category of coming-of-age stories, with young people learning something about the world or growing up during the story.
Even if they learn different lessons, you could still argue that they have some general similarities. Stories that could be coming-of-age tales (or initiation stories) include, “A&P,” “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” “The Lesson,” “The Conversion of the Jews,” and “The Rocking Horse Winner.”
We have also seen main characters who are not children or adolescents but also undergo major changes or learn to see themselves and/or their world differently. You might find surprising similarities between characters like Jane from “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Mme. Loisel, Norma Jean, Neddy Merrill, Charlie Wales, or others.
You could also choose to focus on two stories that deal with race, gender, or class, even if they have different things to say about those things. Or you could use the elements of fiction and analyze stories in which, say, setting or symbolism is important.
There are many possibilities, and I’m sure that if you take time to think about it, you will find it’s not difficult to find two stories that you think are similar in some important and interesting ways.
Remember that you’re main goal is to convince your audience that the stories you select are similar in key ways, despite their differences. Your focus should be on directly comparing the two stories. Do not simply talk about one story, then the other, then have 2-3 sentences comparing them at the end.