Purpose: This paper assignment has several purposes. As the first major paper for this class, the Point of View Essay is designed to re-engage you with the fundamentals of all good writing, including using lush sensory details to show the reader a particular place (rather than tell them about it), basic organization, clear focus, etc. However, this unit does not function as a mere review. The Point of View Essay will also introduce you to the concept of “thinking and seeing rhetorically, and analyzing writing rhetorically”–using the Writer’s Toolbox described in this unit to improve your writing and critical reading skills. Finally, the Point of View Essay allows you to reflect on this process.
Again, we will be working on the rhetorical analysis in Unit 3 and the Reflection in Unit 4. For this unit, however, you will want to draft the first portion of this paper, the positive and negative descriptions of your place.
The first portion of this assignment is a three step process:
1.) Find your place. This should be one single setting at one particular time. Do not use multiple places. For instance, if you want to write about your house, do not describe your entire house. Choose one particular room, or one particular view. Also, do not use different times. If it’s morning in your positive paragraph, it can’t be evening in your negative paragraph. If it’s completely sunny in your positive paragraph, it can’t be raining in your negative paragraph.
2.) Make a sensory chart of your place, recording all of the sights, smells, sounds, sensations, and even tastes (if applicable). Use your five senses to collect data, and be as specific as possible.
3.) Use the data you have recorded to craft your two descriptions, incorporating the Writer’s Toolbox to shape each of your paragraphs and thus the impression of the place. Remember that in the first paragraph your place should seem positive, while in the second paragraph, your place should seem negative.
The following is a student example of the first portion of this assignment:
“Nature’s Symphony at Pillsbury Crossing”
Nature’s beauty surrounds me. On a calm, mostly sunny day, the leaves flutter as if they were applauding the breath of the land. Green, yellow, and brown hues sparkle in the warm sunlight, offering a mosaic reflection on the water. A short waterfall branches like a limb from the pond, whisking the water down into a misty creek. The clear water rushes through the mossy rocks and falls, creating a soothing melody.
Delicate water birds chitter and trill, voicing their opinions and contributing to the symphony of nature. Two children play at the water’s edge. Their shoes are off, and they dip their toes in the creek’s relieving temperature with delight. Meanwhile, I bathe in the sun like a flower in the springtime, absorbing all the comforting sun’s rays, while the gentle puffs of a relieving breeze soothe my skin and the back of my neck. I sip some iced tea to quench my thirst and sigh. What a perfect afternoon.
“Grim Times at Pillsbury Crossing”
Death has had her way here. On a partly cloudy day at the end of the tropical summer, the leaves look withered and dry, parched by days of scorching sun. A blast of wind brings some of the foliage to its final resting place on the cracked ground. A waterfall sits not far from this leaf cemetery, clogged by clumps of mossy overgrowth and mud. Though this should be a place of relaxation, the noisiness of nature overwhelms me: water crashing violently again rocks, water fowl quacking and flapping in confrontation, bugs buzzing, and worst of all the screaming of a couple of unruly kids. Though the signs clearly warn “stay off the rocks,” these two juvenile delinquents have left their shoes like litter on the shore and seem to be shoving each other in a game of chicken on the slick boulders. Loser gets a trip to the E.R. Attempting to ignore them, I take a swig of my iced tea and sigh in disappointment. It’s warm. Though I’ve been trying my best to attain solace here, all I’ve found is annoyance, three mosquito bites, and a reddening sunburn.