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Wall-E vs. The City of Ember: Compare and Contrast Topics in English Class

By Jessica Cook

In this lesson plan for middle school or high school English, students will use film and literature for compare and contrast topics. The students will read The City of Ember and compare/contrast it with the film, Wall-E.


I love to talk about movies in my classes, but sometimes it can be difficult to find an excuse to do it. Hence this lesson plan on comparing and contrasting the movie "Wall-E" to the novel, The City of Ember. In both of these stories, society has faced mass destruction and made a plan to start a new colony; one is on a luxury cruise ship in outer space and the other is in a hole in the ground. Though the settings for these stories may be entirely different, the background of the plot is very similar. This provides a good compare and contrast topics for students in middle school or high school. Plus, it's just a really cute movie and a good book. Bonus!

Teach the Lesson

Have students read the book and watch the film. I suppose you could have them watch both films instead, too, if you wanted. Then you need your students to compare and contrast the following topics:

1. Wall-E vs. Doon/Lina (character to character compare/contrast)

2. The Axiom Spaceship vs. The City of Ember (setting to setting compare/contrast)

3. The CEO of Buy n' Large vs. The Builders (character to character compare/contrast)

4. Earth vs. Earth (setting vs. setting; in other words, what does Earth look like in both stories?)

5. Scriptwriter's message vs. Author's message (compare/contrast author's purpose)

When I taught this, I had my students create a Venn Diagram for each compare and contrast topic. Then I had them choose one compare contrast topic to make into a paragraph-long response. You can alter this to meet the needs of your students; you might have them do a chart or diagram for each one, or one overall for each story. You might have them write about a variety of compare and contrast topics, or only choose a few. You might have them turn it into a compare contrast essay also. The possibilities are many, depending on what you want to do with it.