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  • DESCRIPTION

TRAITS

  • Key Elements of a Descriptive Essay:
  • sense details (more than just sight)
  • arranged spatially
  • to support a Dominant Impression

ASSIGNMENT

  • To describe a familiar object utilizing
  • only SENSE DETAILS:
  • -sight -taste
  • -sound -touch
  • -smell
  • To describe only the physical characteristics;
  • To appeal to the senses; to use concrete details

TOPICS

  • 1) Your dorm room or bedroom (the room in your home where you spend the most time);
  • 2) Your automobile;
  • 3) The master bedroom in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

PREWRITING

PREWRITING

  • 1) 5 SENSES
  • make 5 lists (one for each sense)
  • sight, smell, sound, taste, touch
  • under each, list as many relevant details regarding your topic as possible

PREWRITING

  • 2) IMPRESSIONS
  • from the previous lists, make connections between items on the previous lists
  • group according to likeness
  • that is, certain sense details are related by the impression that they create
    • “eerie”
    • “messy”
    • “feminine”

PREWRITING

  • 3) DOMINANT IMPRESSION
  • the longest list of impressions from the previous lists will be your dominant impression,
      • the most striking impression concerning your object
  • to this list add
    • adjectives
    • adverbs
    • similes/metaphors

PREWRITING

  • 4) SYNONYMS
  • Make a list of synonyms for your Dominant Impression
  • Consult a thesaurus
  • “Tidy”:
    • neat
    • orderly
    • organized
    • uncluttered
    • anal-retentive/obsessive-compulsive

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

  • FUNNEL EFFECT
  • Generalize 1st
    • Introduce your topic
    • Most people, Most college students
  • Narrow your focus
    • Some
    • Others
  • Focus on you
    • Me
  • End with Thesis Statement
  • THESIS
  • GENERALIZE 1st
    • -Introduce your topic
    • -Most college students
  • NARROW your FOCUS
    • -Some
    • -Others
  • FOCUS on YOU
    • -Me

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT: EXAMPLES

  • 1) Owning a car these days is a necessity, especially for students at a community college. Looking around the parking lot at Luzerne County Community College, I usually see three types of cars: the new, high-end graduation-gift cars, the modified sports cars, and the run-down first cars. Unfortunately, my car is one of the latter.... (thesis with clear Dominant Impression: My gray 1986 Oldsmobile Omega is a Bondo Buggy, especially in terms of its exterior, interior, and trunk.)

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT: EXAMPLES

  • 2) Most people have a place to go to feel refreshed when life gets too tough. (OR) Most people have a place they visit to get away from everyday life. It could be a car, a place in nature, or a room at home. For me it is my bedroom. (then comes the thesis with clearly stated Dominant Impression)

Thesis Statement

INTRODUCTION THESIS STATEMENT

  • Comes at the end of the first paragraph (“Funnel Effect”)
  • TOPIC + MAIN IDEA + SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION THESIS STATEMENT

  • Example for Descriptive Essay:
    • My car is a junker in terms of its….
    • Three aspects of my car that make it a junker are the front seat, the back seat, and the trunk.
  • Contains the Dominant Impression and the 3 aspects/parts of your object that support it.
        • TOPIC: MY CAR
        • D.I.: JUNKER
        • SUPPORT: (1) FRONT SEAT
          • (2) BACK SEAT
          • (3) TRUNK

Dominant Impression

INTRODUCTION DOMINANT IMPRESSION

  • *CHARACTERISTICS of a Dominant Impression:
  • *ADJECTIVE or NOUN*
  • Declared in thesis statement
  • Unifying or controlling aspect; ambiance; this will link all of your sense details.
  • Without this, your details are like marbles without a jar.
  • The first adjective that comes to mind when you think of your car.

  • DOMINANT IMPRESSION
  • SENSE DETAIL
  • SENSE DETAIL
  • SENSE DETAIL
  • ALL SENSE DETAILS RELATE TO & SUPPORT DOMINANT IMPRESSION

INTRODUCTION DOMINANT IMPRESSION

  • *HOW TO CREATE a Dominant Impression:
  • Write the 5 senses on a blank sheet of paper with room beneath each to write;
  • Then, list as many details that appeal to a particular sense under its name;
  • Go from the front of the car to the back & from the outside to the inside;
  • Then, see which details are related to each other, that paint a similar picture of the object, and group them together;
  • What these details relate to will be your Dominant Impression.

INTRODUCTION DOMINANT IMPRESSION: EXAMPLES

  • ROOM:
  • oasis of peace,
  • tranquil refuge,
  • feminine/masculine,
  • reflects personality (*you must briefly define your personality; use the appropriate adjective before the word “personality”: creative personality, artistic temperament),
  • reflects my musical tastes,
  • disaster area,
  • pig sty

INTRODUCTION DOMINANT IMPRESSION: EXAMPLES

  • CAR:
  • total embarrassment, Bondo Buggy,
  • off-road monster,
  • Junk Mobile,
  • typical college student’s (in terms of mess, neglect, ...),
  • typical first car (in terms of price, efficiency...),
  • “The Black Beauty,” “The Polar Bear”
  • giant toy, sporty car, Daddy’s car,
  • accessorized car (“Pimp My Ride”) (tricked out)

BODY

BODY

  • 3 Body paragraphs
  • (3 paragraphs = 3 parts of your object)
  • TOPIC SENTENCE
    • starts each paragraph
    • reiterates your thesis, Dominant Impression
  • DESCRIPTION
    • sense details, figurative language
    • that supports only your Dominant Impression
  • CLINCHER SENTENCE
    • ends, wraps up the paragraph
    • reiterates your Dominant Impression

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 1)*** DESCRIBEDO NOT LIST!!
  • Describe items found in your car/room;
  • Lists do not describe; lists are more exemplary than descriptive;
    • This is a descriptive essay using sense details, not an illustrative essay using reasons;
  • Show rather than tell
  • Make us see, smell, taste, feel, hear it as you want us to…to fit your Dominant Impression

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 2) SENSE DETAILS only:
  • Appeal to the 5 senses, not just sight
  • Appeal to as many of the 5 that are relevant
  • Consult your prewriting lists
    • Relying solely on sight  leads to LISTS
  • Number, size, shape, texture, material, odor/scent, taste, sound

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 3) SIMILES & METAPHORS:
  • use similes & metaphors to reinforce your D.I.
  • EX: “The smell is like…” OR “The smell reminds me of wet, moldy leaves soaking in a crammed rain gutter for a month. (not a pleasing D.I.)
  • rust = cancer, leprosy, flesh-eating bacteria;
  • angry red beast:” headlights = giant glaring eyes, grill=hungry chrome jaws, bumper=chin with battle scars (continue the metaphor throughout, only those details that support “beastly”)
  • *Warning: Similes only support your sense details; they do NOT replace the need for sense details.

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 4) Relate all SENSE DETAILS to your DOMINANT IMPRESSION:
  • all details should reinforce your D.I.
  • if it does not, omit the detail
  • all sense details and metaphors should support a single impression
  • this is NOT a “word picture” in which you describe every aspect of your car
  • instead, focus your description on your D.I.

BODY Relate all SENSE DETAILS to your DOMINANT IMPRESSION

  • Repeat THESIS:
    • Another aspect of my room that makes it a pig sty is….”
    • at the start of each paragraph
  • ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS that are synonymous with your Dominant Impression
    • ADJ: busy = hectic, energetic, bustling, crowded, swarming, packed, jammed, overrun, popular, populous, active, lively

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 5) Use TRANSITIONS:
    • between sentences (logically or spatially connect details in each sentence) AND
    • between paragraphs (repeat thesis)
  • 6) Use proper PN REFERENCE:
    • *especially when generalizing in Introduction
    • Everyone has a place he/she could call his/her own.
    • see how the use of “he/she” gets old fast
    • so go plural: Most people have a place they could call their own.

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 7) DICTION:—use creative, selective, and pointed details & words (employ concrete/specific word choice)
  • 8) Include an INTRODUCTION (see above) and a CONCLUSION (see below or consult the textbook)
  • 9) Have a CLEAR VISION of the object (best to visit the place you will describe)

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 10) Have a CAREFUL SELECTION of DETAILS
    • only those that support your DI
  • 11) Maintain a consistent point-of-view (POV)
    • no second person POV “you”
    • your room, your car, your impression, your details  your POV (speak from the “I”)

BODY: DO’s Qualities of a Strong Descriptive Essay

  • 12) COHERENCE:
    • develop a logical flow of ideas/details
    • “camera angle” -- spatial organization
  • 13) Paragraph Structure:
    • 3 Body paragraphs = 3 parts of car/room
    • do NOT arrange the essay around the senses (each paragraph is not one of the senses)
  • 14) *REMEMBER:
    • this is NOT a “why” or “because” essay which is supported with reasons
    • instead, use aspect, feature, characteristic, portion

BODY TAKE THE HINT

  • SENSE DETAILS ONLY
  • ONLY THOSE SENSE DETAILS THAT SUPPORT YOUR DOMINANT IMPRESSION
  • IF ANY DETAIL DOES NOT SUPPORT YOUR DOMINANT IMPRESSION—NO MATTER HOW “COOL” OR INTERESTING IT MAY BE—OMIT
  • IT FROM THIS ESSAY
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • DOMINANT
  • IMPRESSION
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • SENSE
  • DETAIL
  • LISTS

BODY: DON’Ts

  • 1) ***DO NOT LIST items found in your car/room; this does not describe; lists are more exemplary than descriptive (this is a descriptive essay using sense details, not an illustrative essay using reasons) (show rather than tell)
  • 2) Do NOT just throw ideas onto the page; make sure you have a Dominant Impression -- a clear purpose, a point; be a movie director and limit what you want the audience to see, to see it/them from your perspective

BODY: DON’Ts

  • 3) Do NOT describe emotions, feelings, personality (these are not sense details)
  • 4) Do NOT use pat expressions/clichés (rough around the edges), contractions (I’ve, it’s), poor diction (“things,” “a lot”), or abbreviations (especially CD=compact disc)
  • 5) *NUMBERS: 3+ syllables/numerals = 350, 1 or 2 syllables/numerals = six, twenty-five;
  • year = 1998, 2005)

CONCLUSION

CONCLUSION PURPOSE of CONCLUDING PARAGRAPHS

  • To stress the importance/relevance of your thesis (SO WHAT?!)
  • To repeat your purpose
  • To repeat your thesis (moral, point, lesson, Dominant Impression)
  • To repeat your main ideas
  • To give the essay a sense of completeness/finality
  • To leave the reader with a final impression (*this is your last chance to convince/persuade the reader, so make the most of it!)

CONCLUSION SUGGESTIONS

  • Discuss in full the lesson learned
  • Suggest larger implications of your findings
  • Suggest future papers or research
  • Refer back to your purpose and/or scenario mentioned in your Introduction
  • Pose rhetorical questions
  • Offer a 3rd side to the issue
  • End with a CLINCHER SENTENCE

CONCLUSION CLINCHER SENTENCE

  • Just as you ended each Body paragraph with a concluding sentence that wrapped up that point/paragraph, so too will you end the entire essay
  • (Thesis Statement : Topic Sentence :: Clincher Sentence : Paragraph Clincher Sentence)
  • Avoid the empty cliché
  • Wrap it all up
  • Relate to your point (for example, if you wrote a process paper on making a PB&J sandwich, end by saying that you are now hungry for one)

VISUAL IMPRESSIONS

BEDROOM #1

BEDROOM #2

BEDROOM #3

CAR #1

CAR #2

CAR #3

CAR #4

  • Descriptive Essay VS Example Essay

Descriptive Essay VS Example Essay

  • SENSE DETAILS
  • Dominant Impression
  • BODY STRUCTURE:
  • 3 Body paragraphs
  • 3 parts of the room/car
  • Each supported by:
  • sense details ONLY
  • metaphors to support DI
  • LISTS = prohibited
  • SHOW
  • SPATIAL ORDER
  • REASONS
  • Argument/Claim
  • BODY STRUCTURE:
  • 3 Body paragraphs
  • 3 reasons
  • Each supported by:
  • examples
  • descriptive details
  • narratives
  • types/roles
  • LISTS = permissible
  • TELL
  • EMPHATIC ORDER


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