Archive for the ‘Comparison/Contrast essay’ Category

The expression comparing apples to oranges means examining the similarities of things that are completely different. It’s a widely held belief that one cannot compare apples to oranges, but they are both fruit, which are relatively the same size and can be compared.

Let’s first look at the obvious physical similarities. The apple and the orange are both fruits that grow on trees. They both come in many varieties, ranging in size from very small, about the diameter of a quarter, to quite large, about the size of a softball. On average, most apples and oranges are about the size of a baseball. Both fruits are edible in their fresh, natural state. They may also be used to make delicious juices and are also excellent sources of vitamin C. Either fruit will add a sweet twist to a traditional green salad. The uses in the kitchen are endless.

Of course, apples and oranges do have some obvious physical differences as well. While both fruits are covered with skin, the skins are markedly different. Just by looking, the first thing we see is the color. Oranges are, well, mostly orange. Although there are some green and yellow varieties, apples are, for the most part, red. Oranges come in many varieties as well, but again, they are orange. Upon closer investigation, we see that the skin of the apple is very thin, smooth, and shiny. Orange skin or rind as it is known, is much thicker and has a leathery quality. It has many tiny dimples, giving it a more textured feel. The sheen of the orange rind is not as shiny as that of the apple. So we see that there is a difference in aesthetics.

We must now look at the edibility factor. Generally, apple skins are eaten, and orange rinds are not, at least in the sense of just biting into an orange. Not that eating orange rind is bad for you in any way, but most people find the bitter flavor a bit unpleasant. However, orange zest, which is a thin peel or scraping from the outermost surface of the rind, is often used to add citrus flavor to many culinary dishes. Next to vanilla, orange is the most used flavoring in the U.S.

Used most often in desserts, apples and oranges both make for sweet after-dinner treats. I have seen both used for glazed toppings on several kinds of tarts. Apples are a bit sweeter and smoother than the tangy orange, but both flavors can be married quite well with a number of other fruits and berries. When it comes to pie, we all know that the apple is, without question, the king. I should mention that I once had a mandarin orange pie with a chocolate raspberry cream sauce which was absolutely astounding. That being said, I cannot deny the apple pie its rightful place as the quintessential all-American dessert. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying as American as apple pie.

Now let’s look a bit more in depth at the nutritional similarities. First of all, apples and oranges are both fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free. Both contain about the same amount of pectin. Pectin is fiber. Fiber is necessary to maintain a healthy digestive system and has been linked to the prevention of high cholesterol and some cancers. Similar quantities of vitamins B1, B2, and B6, vitamins A and E, as well as proteins and sugars are found in both fruits. The amounts of these nutrients only differ by mere tenths of a milligram per medium fruit. Oranges, however, do contain more vitamin C than apples. Both are about 80 to 85 percent water and have about 80 calories.

Throughout history, we can find some symbolic meanings of both fruits. Apples are thought to symbolize love, youth and health, as well as beauty and happiness. In Greek mythology, the apple is often referred to as a declaration of one’s love. Casting an apple to a love interest was used as a proposal of marriage. If they caught it, that meant yes, and if they didn’t, that meant no. In Renaissance paintings, oranges are used as a symbol of love, with many depictions of married couples holding them. Orange blossoms are traditionally worn in a bride’s hair on her wedding day. Apples and oranges are also symbols of physical health and vitality. In Scandinavian legends, Northern European gods were fed an apple every evening by Iduna, goddess of spring and youth. Traditional Feng Shui practice also employs apples and oranges to bring energies of good health and prosperity into the home.

Evidence of the cultivation of apples and oranges has been found to go as far back as 6500 B.C. At present, numerous cultivated varieties are grown worldwide. There are about 7,500 apple and 650 orange varieties, but only about 100 of each are grown for commercial use in the U.S. Of these, about 30 percent are for consumption as fresh fruit, while the rest is used for juices, sauces, jellies, and other prepared foods. Neither fruit is native to North America, but both were brought here by European settlers in the late 1400s.

On the outside, apples and oranges do appear to be very different. And perhaps, on a surface level, they cannot be compared. I would agree that they do have differences, but when looking deeper, we can find many similarities. As it has been said, don’t judge a book by its cover. Apples and oranges can, indeed, be compared.

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Krishna, Arjuna, Kurukshetra in a 18-19th century  
painting, depicting a scene from the Bhagavad Gita,
a book of Hindu scripture.

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.Bhagavad Gita

I lived in India for 11 years and had the chance to observe the practices of the people. The two prominent religions are Hinduism and Islam. Muslims always tended to have a certain image about them, with the beards and the long shirts. Hindus had a tendency to wear a certain type of long garment called dhotis below their waists. Followers of both had their own type of names, their separate type of foodstuffs and practices, and their particular festivals. Though completely distinguishable, neither religion tended to be more dominant or less accepting of the other. With a constant sense of discipline and submissiveness to their faith, they lived their lives accordingly. In addition, with a general mindset of simplicity, which was not so simple. They strived to live a colorful yet rewarding lifestyle.

Hinduism and Islam are two of three world’s largest religions. Religion has been widely accepted as part of a person’s lifestyle. It can be seen as a cultural system with organized behaviors and values. Hinduism and Islam are both classified as two leading religious groups in the world and are practiced by 2.5 billion people. They both have foundations that help define truth and value. Both have specific traditions, symbols and ancient texts intended to explain the history and origin of life and the universe. They also have similar gods, festivals and ethics. In addition, both have lifestyles based on traditions of art and public service.

Ganga Puja festival.

Beliefs About God

Islam rests on the belief of a single God and that this one God is incomparable and has no equal. It is stressed that God is a one single truth predominant over all, who is unique and independent of the universe. God is said to generate both good and evil. Evil originates from God’s power to create anything. It is not believed that God was created, but that people are. Belief of divinity in an individual is an unpardonable sin. Commonly speaking, the intellectual history of Islam can be regarded as the unfolding of the increased understanding of God’s oneness.

Hindu mass offering of lamps or deepas.

Hinduism is more accepting in choosing or classifying a god. God is generally accepted as a single entity, however, unlike Islam, people can worship more than one god. There is complete freedom concerning belief due to this diversity. In fact, the faith of Hinduism consists of an extensive variety of gods, generating from a single god, each serving a separate function or symbol depending on the sect. These gods are classified by the personalities they possess. For example, the primary belief of Hinduism is that Vishnu or Krishna is the principal god, however, Dharma, an entity who symbolizes justice, is worshiped in regards to prosperity. In fact, there are separate festivals revolving around various gods and their pastimes. Festivals of note are Durga Puja where the goddess of war is worshiped and Ganga Puja where the goddess of the river is worshiped as a sign of thanks for providing water.

While there is such a diverse system of thought in regard to the gods, there is a general belief factor in the soul as one’s true self. This soul is believed to be eternal and the same as the creator’s. The ultimate goal for most Hindus is to understand their true self and their relation or connection with their creator.

Islamic worshiper prays facing Mecca by bowing on the floor.

Practices and Rituals

The Islamic faith has five obligatory acts followers practice as a sign of faith or commitment. These include a prayer which is recited five times a day, involving a connection with God. To the general eye, this tends to happen randomly but in general they believe that prayer is mandatory at any given time. The individual bows down facing Mecca and recites a prayer. In addition, a month of fasting is included as well as giving of alms to the needy. A pilgrimage or Hajj to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca is also encouraged.

With Hinduism, religious practices are included, however, it is done so on a more broad and somewhat less strict scale. Practices are carried out to enforce the individuals connection with God, which can be at any given time. For example, a Hindu will typically worship and offer foodstuffs to a deity or icon in the beginning of the day. This offering to an idol is known traditionally as puja. Music can be included as vedic hymns are chanted to invoke spirituality. Hymns or mantras that are chanted center around pastimes of different gods, and their importance in an everyday lifestyle. A mantra can be sung as a song, with a large community of devotees gathered playing an array of instruments to play along.

Mantra singing in the community.

In Hinduism, there are spiritual shrines or temples constructed to accommodate idols or deities, where devotees visit on major festivals. These festivals tend to feature foodstuffs and celebration based on the theme. For example, to commemorate the childhood pastime of God, a certain song is sung at nightfall, accompanied by a mass offering of lamps or deepas. Another festival includes the celebration of the return of a Hindu god back to his hometown. Mass amounts of candles are lit on the balconies and doorsteps of households as well as in the streets, illuminating entire cities in lights. This repeats the action played out by devotees for hundreds of years.

Prasadam, offered in the Hindu ritual of Puja.

Meditation is a practice highly encouraged by Hindus. However, the process does not involve the conventional form of meditation. It is specific and involves repetition of a mantra. It is presumed to be a spiritual discipline where the repetition develops a focus of mind and body.

Overall, Hindu practices are generally geared towards assisting the individual in the awareness of a presence of divinity in everyday life.

The foodstuffs consumed by devotees are particularly different in both sects. Hindus tend to be strictly vegetarian, and their diet revolves around vegetables and fruits. However, even though they are restricted to vegetarian meals, their recipes are elaborate and extensive, giving a new meaning to the term vegetarianism.

Muslims, on the other hand, eat meat. In fact, Muslims tend to keep flocks of chicken or packs of goats. On specific holidays, these animals are sacrificed and consumed in celebration of the occasion.

Taj Mahal in Agra, India, built between 1632 and 1653.

Beliefs About Marriage And Art

Hinduism and Islam are similar in the respect to family life. They both highly encourage arranged marriages, which consists of a bride or groom proposal from one party to the other. The proposition is then decided when both families and witnesses are present. A bridal gift is usually donated by the family of the groom.

Islam has an extensive artistic history involving a vast magnitude of art forms and styles. The representation of God as an entity is prohibited, which results in a greater focus on architecture and abstract forms of art rather than human forms. A significant example illustrating the Islamic style of art and its ingenuity, is the monument of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a tomb built by an Islamic ruler for his deceased lover. The architecture applied is symbolic of Islamic art with the rounded domes and columns lining the perimeter.

Child incarnation of Vishnu, known as Krishna in Hinduism.

Hindu art forms, on the other hand, encourage depictions of god in different forms and expose the works as visible productions. Due to the lenient belief in a vast number of gods, there is a wide variety of artistic interpretations. Hinduism is known to consist of vast histories of personalities and pastimes and most of these are expressed artistically. These are done in an extensive variety of representations depending on the region from where it is created. For example, in India, Hindu art in Orissa tends to focus around the God Jagannath, who is believed to have manifested there. In northern India, art forms center around the child incarnation of Vishnu known as Krishna.

Both religions are similar in various ways, particularly regarding the constant awareness of the presence of a god or divinity in everyday life. However, there is a considerable measure of differences between the two. These range from festivals to significant prayers and foodstuffs. While Islam is very particular on how God is expressed and how its religion is practiced, Hinduism is more at ease with how a follower abides to its beliefs.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Troy Jollimore

On The Origins Of Things

Everyone knows that the moon started out
as a renegade fragment of the sun, a solar
flare that fled that hellish furnace
and congealed into a flat frozen pond suspended
between the planets. But did you know
that anger began as music, played
too often and too loudly by drunken performers
at weddings and garden parties? Or that turtles
evolved from knuckles, ice from tears, and darkness
from misunderstanding? As for the dominant
thesis regarding the origin of love, I
abstain from comment, nor will I allow
myself to address the idea that dance
began as a kiss, that happiness was
an accidental import from Spain, that the ancient
game of jump-the-fire gave rise
to politics. But I will confess
that I began as an astronomer — a liking
for bright flashes, vast distances, unreachable things,
a hand stretched always toward the furthest limit —
and that my longing for you has not taken me
very far from that original desire
to inscribe a comet’s orbit around the walls
of our city, to gently stroke the surface of the stars.
by Troy Jollimore

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum are classic stories. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the story of a young girl named Alice who grows up with a mother who cares too much and has a very busy schedule. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the story of a young woman named Dorothy who falls asleep and wakes up in a magical land away from her family, after a terrible tornado hits her Kansas home. What make these two stories so special are the main characters, Dorothy and Alice. These ladies are both determined but have different aspirations. They symbolize talented, heroic women, and many generations of children have looked up to them. They have different backgrounds and lives, yet they behave in a similar manner.

Alice and Dorothy are genuinely kind young women who are innocent and caring as well. Dorothy goes out of her way to help all the friends she makes throughout the story. When she meets the Tin Man, she ensures him he will reach the Wizard in order to obtain a heart.

She also helps the Lion gain courage and the scarecrow to receive a brain. Dorothy is much better at socializing than Alice, who is a bit quieter. Dorothy makes many friends throughout the story and grows extremely close to the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion. She develops friendships fast and beautifully. After being threatened by the Wicked Witch of the West, the Scarecrow says to Dorothy, “I’m not afraid of her. I’ll see you get safely to the Wizard now, weather I get a brain or not.” As you can see, the friends she makes are loyal and caring. This includes her dog Toto.

Alice seems to make more enemies than friends. When Alice chases the rabbit, she follows him down the rabbit hole into his house. While in the house, she eats a cookie that makes her so big she becomes stuck. Dodo lights a match and he and the rabbit chant, “We’ll smoke the monster out.” When Alice comes upon flowers, they tease her as well, insisting she is a weed. Alice is consistently teased. Alice and Dorothy are both so nice, yet Dorothy is sociable and Alice is somewhat of an outcast.

They grow up very differently. Their family and home lives are not similar at all. Dorothy grows up on a farm in Kansas. Her family is very busy and often brushes her aside. She is on her own for the most part, and her dog is her best friend. Alice is wealthier and has a very caring mother who is devoted to her. Alice has an organized lifestyle. Many people believe that a person’s family and childhood are what make them unique. These characters have such different childhoods, but they act with the same polite habits. When Dorothy meets the Wizard, she bends her knees and curtseys with her index fingers pinching her dress. Alice also curtseys several times throughout the movie. This happens the first time she meets the rabbit. Alice and Dorothy have extremely similar manners of speech. They’re very proper and speak in the most delicate ways. Alice and Dorothy both dress with a blue and white summer dress. They are a metaphor for each other.

Both are determined, motivated and adventurous. When Alice sets her mind to finding out where the rabbit is going, she doesn’t stop until she achieves her goal. Dorothy is similar in the sense that she wants to return to Kansas. Dorothy would stop at nothing to return home, despite threats from the vicious witch. Alice is inspired by curiosity, while Dorothy is inspired by love. Alice says, “That’s the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble that I’m always in. Be patient, is very good advice, but the waiting makes me curious.” She follows the rabbit down the whole, she eats the cookie that makes her big, and drinks the liquid that makes her small. Most of her actions are results of her undying curiosity. Dorothy goes on this long adventure down the yellow-brick road to return to her family. She meets many friends along the way and helps them achieve their goals as well. Alice is not driven by the desire to help others achieve their goals. Dorothy is clearly driven by love and the kindness of her heart. Even though they have different motivations, they both set the example that we can do anything we set our minds to.

Alice and Dorothy have very similar life-changing adventures. They both use portals to escape from reality. Dorothy goes into her house for protection from the tornado. The house is lifted by the tornado, and when it lands, Dorothy finds herself in another land. “I’ve got feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” she says to Toto. Alice has a very similar experience when she jumps down the rabbit hole. In each story, Alice and Dorothy receive something that gives them superhuman ability. Alice receives cookies that make her larger than life and a mysterious liquid that makes her three inches tall. Dorothy is given the ruby slippers by Glinda, the good witch of the north. These slippers are magical and something the Wicked Witch of the West wants. They provide Dorothy with the power to make it back home safely.

In both stories, the main characters wake up and find they have been dreaming. Alice and Dorothy both have outstanding imaginations and an overwhelming sense of creativity. They both use their dreams to escape from reality. When Alice is irritated with her mother hassling her, she jumps down the rabbit hole. At the end of the story, she looks through a door and sees herself asleep. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy believes at first that the tornado has carried her to a magical land. In the end, she wakes up and finds her family around her bedside. She learns there is no place like home. Alice is more cautious and follows her own advice more often.

Lessons can be learned from each story. Alice and Dorothy both step out of reality into a dream. They disappear briefly to a place where they learn what they need to, to be able to cope with the realities of their lives. By stepping into another world, they discover their own strengths. Wonderland and Oz provide a contrast for their lives. The contrast opens their eyes to the people and places that surround them in the real world, so they can appreciate those people and places more fully. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ends with:

“How she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”

Both young women emerge from their dreams less innocent and more powerful, able to cope with the realities of their lives.

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