In about three to five pages (double spaced), write a descriptive essay on a topic of personal significance. You may use the assigned essays in the textbook as a starting point for your own introspection, retrospection or insight. For example, you might describe an experience in your life that is not only important for yourself, but also potentially meaningful for others. In other words, the best essays in this category present to the reader the authors understanding of an event or experience that may also teach the reader something valuable in life.
While a descriptive essay may share some aspects that are similar to the personal essay, it is also different in that this kind of essay emphasizes your power of observation and your attention to details. While a personal essay often records an authors memory of an event and emphasizes the dawning of an insight or epiphany, a descriptive essay demonstrates the process of an occurrence, or a step-by-step portrayal of it if you will. The bottom line is that if you have already written about a person in the first assignment, do something else in the second assignment, such as an event, and vice versa.
In addition to all the elements of good writing such as precise vocabulary, vivid description, strong verbs, and balanced organization, I expect the best essays to make me forget that I am actually working when I am reading them. For example, you do not want to have vague and confusing sentences or details that make me scratch my head and ask, What is the point of all this? The best essays give me pleasure while teaching me important lessons in life. To quote the great novelist Joseph Conrad, your writing should, by the power of the written word, to make [me] hear, to make [me] feel before all, to make [me] see.
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