The Descriptive Essay

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How to write the descriptive essay- components and elements

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The Descriptive Essay

  1. 1. The Descriptive Essay Or “it was a cold, dark night. It was so dark that I could not see my shaking hand in front of my eyes. The streets were . . . .”
  2. 2. The Descriptive Essay Brian Williams describing what happened with Hurricane Katrina - Take notes on images and descriptions that hit you with the description.
  3. 3. Parts of a Descriptive Essay <ul><li>The point is to “make readers see—or hear, taste, smell, or feel—what you are writing about. </li></ul><ul><li>It is best to start simple, describe an event, person, place or thing using vivid details and showing rather than telling. </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive essays often work side by side with other type of essays such as narration. </li></ul>
  4. 4. How to write a descriptive essay <ul><li>Determine the purpose of the description ! (academic, artistic/creative, science, business and so on – this helps determine your audience) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the video about Katrina, what was Brian Williams’ purpose for his description? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Detail <ul><li>Select details that will help bring your description to life-and focus the reader’s attention: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate a specific mood or feeling. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use taste, touch, visual, and work to pull on your audience’s feelings (pathos) - why should they care? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The more senses you use to describe, the more you will capture your audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the video about Katrina, what types of detail did Brian Williams use to capture the overall mood of his description? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Order the Detail <ul><li>Use logical spatial ordering of details (Wyrick & Slaughter, p. 180). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Order your descriptions in the same way you might order a story – offer a logical ( logos ) order to the descriptions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the video about Katrina, how did Brian Williams order his descriptive account? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Use vivid and figurative language (Wyrick & Slaughter, p. 181). <ul><li>This is where we show rather than tell and we become specific rather than general! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It was a cold night, so I turned on the heater. (This is an example of telling) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It was a cold night and it made me feel cold to my bones. While watching television with my husband, I went to snuggle in close to get warm, grabbing his hand in mine, but he pulled away from me, saying that my hands were frozen like ice. Although we were trying to reduce our electric bill, I got up and turned on the heater, I was tired of being an icicle that no one would hug! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the video about Katrina, how did Brian Williams use language that showed instead of simply telling us facts? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Here is video description of the Good Shepherd Magdalen Laundry in Sunday’s Wall in Cork, Ireland. <ul><li>Note: please write down how the images strike you ( pathos – emotions), what you feel when you see them (mood), and how you might verbally describe what you see in words. </li></ul>

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