Descriptive essay assignment



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DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY

ASSIGNMENT

  • To describe a familiar object utilizing
  • SENSE DETAILS only (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch);
  • 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) Your favorite place visited (funhouse, park, arena, beach, woods)

INTRODUCTION PURPOSE of INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS

  • 1) To INTRODUCE your subject
  • 2) To IDENTIFY your central issue (thesis)
  • 3) To ENGAGE the reader’s attention/interest
  • 4) To PLOT the path of the essay:
    • state purpose,
    • justify argument,
    • mention ideas forthcoming,
    • establish order of those ideas

INTRODUCTION How to Write a Proper Introduction

  • Generalize First:
  • Do not just jump into your topic
  • Ease into the conversation
  • GQ’S:
    • Generalization
    • Quote
    • Quip
    • Question
    • Statistic
  • Introduce your subject and then narrow to your particular topic with its specific focus (THESIS)

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT

  • This “narrowing” process is a form of DEDUCTIVE Reasoning, moving from the general to the specific.
  • It allows the writer to introduce a subject, focus on a particular topic, and express a thesis on that narrowed topic in a concise statement.

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT

  • From this specific thesis statement, the writer then begins the process of supporting his/her claim throughout the body of the essay.
  • All of this is good for the reader, who can easily follow the train of thought, can establish accurate expectations, and can know exactly where the essay is going.

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT

  • I have termed this deductive process the “FUNNEL EFFECT
  • Here, the writer slowly narrows and logically progresses towards his/her thesis statement.
  • The transition then to the first Body paragraph is seamless, moving from the thesis statement to the first means of support (e.g., reason)
  • Visually, it looks like this…

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT

  • THESIS

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT: EXAMPLES

  • 1) Owning a car these days is a necessity, for none more than the community college student. (OR) Everybody needs a car these days, especially 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)

INTRODUCTION FUNNEL EFFECT: EXAMPLES

  • 3) Each of us has seen a trashy car, maybe even in our own driveways.
  • 4) Everyone today needs some sort of transportation. However, on a college student’s salary, that does not always work out to be the most attractive car. For instance, my car should be pictured in the dictionary next to the word “junker.”

INTRODUCTION THESIS STATEMENT

  • Comes at the end of the first paragraph (“Funnel Effect”)
  • TOPIC + MAIN IDEA + SUPPORT
  • General Example:
  • Metallica (topic) is my favorite band (main idea)
  • because of their lyrics, their live shows, and
  • their distinctive sound (3 means of support).

INTRODUCTION THESIS STATEMENT

  • Example of a Thesis Statement for the Descriptive essay:
  • Three aspects of my car that make it a junker are the front seat, the back seat, and the trunk.
  • Contains the Dominant Impression (“junker”) and the aspects of your object that support it.

INTRODUCTION DOMINANT IMPRESSION

  • *CHARACTERISTICS of a Dominant Impression:
  • *ADJECTIVE or NOUN*
  • Declared in thesis statement
  • Unifying or controlling aspect; 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)

INTRODUCTION Helpful Websites When Writing Introductions

  • http://www.gmu.edu/departments/
  • writingcenter/handouts/introcon.html
  • http://www.taft.cc.ca.us/newTC/Academic/
  • LiberalArts/OWL/INTRO.HTML
  • http://web.mit.edu/writing/Writing_Types/
  • introstrategies.html
  • http://depts.gallaudet.edu/englishworks/
  • writing/introconslu.html

INTRODUCTION

  • By the END of the INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH, the reader should know exactly:
  • What your thesis is;
  • How you will support your thesis;
  • How you will order that support;
  • What type of essay you are writing;
  • What your purpose is for writing on this particular topic;

INTRODUCTION 3 FINAL HINTS TO GET STARTED

  • FREEWRITING:
  • Just start writing. Give yourself ten minutes and write whatever comes to mind. Do not worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Do not even worry if you text makes sense; just write. Once you are done at the end of the ten minutes, then you can read what you have written, searching for the proverbial diamond in the rough, that redeemable idea with which to begin your essay.

INTRODUCTION 3 FINAL HINTS TO GET STARTED

  • 2) WRITE THE BODY FIRST:
  • Rather than not writing a word because you are having difficulty writing the Introduction, start by writing the Body of the essay first. This way, you at least have something written. When you are done with the bulk of the paper, return the Introduction and Conclusion paragraphs. Perhaps something arose in the Body that suggests a way to begin and end the paper, or perhaps a context logically follows from what you wrote. If you are still stuck, ask ME.

INTRODUCTION 3 FINAL HINTS TO GET STARTED

  • 3) WORKING BACKWARDS FROM THE THESIS STATEMENT:
    • What is your THESIS?
      • topic + main idea + support
      • My favorite types of video games include first-person shooters, stealth-action games, and fantasy games.
    • What is your TOPIC? (video games)
    • What CATEGORY would your topic fall under? (hobbies, spare time, recreation)

INTRODUCTION 3 FINAL HINTS TO GET STARTED

  • *Now GENERALIZE on this CATEGORY.
    • Everybody has a hobby with which to occupy his/her spare time. Some people enjoy playing sports, like running, basketball, and hockey, and others prefer non-physical recreation, such as chess and painting.
    • Then narrow towards you. (For me, my favorite hobby is playing video games. My bedroom is littered with all types of games, from sports to superhero games.)
    • Lastly comes your thesis. (However, my favorite types of video games include first-person shooters, stealth-action games, and fantasy games)
  • EverybodySome peopleMeThesis

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

BODY OTHER CHARACTERISITICS OF A STRONG DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY

  • 2) SENSE DETAILS only:
  • appeal to 5 senses, not just sight
  • number, size, shape, texture, material, odor/scent, taste, sound

BODY OTHER CHARACTERISITICS 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”)

BODY OTHER CHARACTERISITICS OF A STRONG DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY

  • 4) Relate all SENSE DETAILS to your DOMINANT IMPRESSION:
  • Repeat Thesis: “Another aspect of my room that makes it a pig sty is ... (at start of 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 OTHER CHARACTERISITICS 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 OTHER CHARACTERISITICS 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 OTHER CHARACTERISITICS 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”

BODY OTHER CHARACTERISITICS OF A STRONG DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY

  • 12) Develop a logical flow of ideas/details
    • COHERENCE
    • “camera angle”
  • 13) *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 attributes, 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 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)

CONCLUSION Helpful Websites When Writing Conclusions

  • http://www.gmu.edu/departments/
  • writingcenter/handouts/introcon.html
  • http://depts.gallaudet.edu/englishworks/
  • writing/introconslu.html
  • http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts
  • conclusions.html
  • http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/
  • conclude.html

BEDROOM #1

BEDROOM #2

BEDROOM #3

CAR #1

CAR #2

CAR #3

CAR #4



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