Solved by verified expert:(1) Pleasant/Unpleasant Description of the Place: (350-450 words in length)Choose a place you can observe for an extended period of time (at least 20-30 minutes). Use all of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, even taste if possible) to experience the place, and record all of the sensations that you experience. As you record your data, you may wish to note which details naturally seem more positive, negative, or neutral, in terms of tone. (For instance, a stinky and overflowing trash barrel swarming with flies in a nearby alley might seem more inherently negative than a little white bunny rabbit hopping playfully across the lawn.) Then, you will use this information to help your write descriptions of the place: one positive, one negative. Both descriptions should be factually true (same real time and real place), but you will want one description to be positive in terms of tone and the other to be negative. In addition to including the information and sensory details you’ve collected as the basis for these descriptions, you will also use The Writer’s Toolbox to create your two contrasting impressions for this assignment. As you revise and refine your descriptions, please be sure you are “showing” your readers your place (really putting the readers “there” in the moment and in this scene), rather than simply “telling” them about it. You will also want to try to eliminate unnecessary linking verbs as much as you can, incorporating verbs that show “action” whenever possible.(2) Rhetorical Analysis: (This analysis should be at least 400-500 words in length)Looking back at your descriptions, analyze how you created these two very different impressions of the place (one positive, one negative) without changing any of the facts. How did you make your place seem so positive in one paragraph and yet so negative in the other paragraph, without changing the facts? Discuss how you incorporated each of the tools from the Writer’s Toolbox, and cite examples of this from each of your descriptions.(3) Reflection: (one to two paragraphs)In one to two paragraphs, consider at least one of the following questions:What have you learned about writing through this assignment?How might you apply this knowledge?Has this process of using the Writer’s Toolbox affected your vision of various information media–for instance, television and print news sources, magazines, etc.? If so, how so?
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The First Portion
“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
The Second Portion : Rhetorical Analysis
I chose Pillsbury Crossing for my descriptions in this paper. I enjoyed writing about Pillsbury
Crossing because it seemed to offer many positive and negatives, and I had never been there
before. This allowed me to record my own first impressions, both pleasant and unpleasant. The
floodplain is an amazing natural environment, but it can also be less than relaxing at times.
I wrote my first sentence as an overt statement which explained the mood of the rest of the
paragraph. For my pleasant impression, I stated “Nature’s beauty surrounds me,” emphasizing the
beauty on can find in a place such as this. In contrast, for my negative impression, I wrote “Death
has had her way here.” The notion of death immediately makes the tone grim and unpleasant, even
though death is also a fundamental aspect of the natural world.
With my tone clearly established, I next had to consider my word choice very carefully. In order
to show the reader what I experienced, I had to choose words that fit the mood of the description
as set by my overt statements of meaning. In my pleasant description, I discuss the sun’s rays and
how they are “warm” and “comforting.” These words make the sun’s rays seem pleasant and
positive. However, in the negative description, the sun’s rays were “scorching.” This description
emphasizes the fact that the sun’s rays can be harmful and dangerous. I also describe the leaves
in both paragraphs. While the leaves were colorful, reflecting “green, yellow, and brown hues” in
my positive description, they were “withering” and falling to the ground to create a leaf “cemetery”
in my negative description. This helps maintain the mood of each of my respective paragraphs.
I also left out details from certain paragraphs to keep the mood and tone consistent. In my
pleasant description, I omitted the sound of bugs buzzing and the fact that I had mosquito bites by
the end of my observation. I did not include the bugs in my pleasant paragraph because it did not
fit with the positive tone. In the unpleasant impression, I left out how the breeze cooled my
skin. By simply describing the wind’s ill-effects on the leaves and omitting its comforting
sensation, the wind seems to be only an annoyance in the negative paragraph.
Similes and metaphors were helpful as well, allowing me to create an impression that nature was
either alive and comforting or dead and disturbing. In the pleasant description, I wanted the
impression to be welcoming and lively, so I wrote “the leaves flutter as if they were applauding
the breath of the land.” I wanted to make Mother Nature have a personality. By using similes like
“symphony of nature,” it gives Mother Nature a graceful, caring attitude, which makes the
description seem more pleasant. In the negative paragraph, I describe the fallen foliage as a “leaf
cemetery.” This makes Mother Nature seem like a wrathful, murderous force.
Throughout my descriptions, I also paid attention to sentence structure. I start each paragraph
with a short, tell sentence, to make sure the reader knows exactly what impression I have of this
place. “Nature’s beauty surrounds me” contrasts sharply with “Death has had her way here.” In
most of the rest of the descriptions, I used longer sentences, which allowed me to truly show the
reader my place. For instance, in the sentence “Delicate water birds chitter and trill, voicing their
opinions and contributing to the symphony of nature,” I stated the object being described,
described it, and tried to elaborate as much as possible.
The Third Portion: Reflection
While writing this assignment, I noticed that while we observe things everyday, choosing
the right words to describe and observation is difficult and important. While walking in the park
the other day, I noticed how the wind picked up, and I tried to think about how I would describe
it. I realized that my descriptions would differ, depending on whether I was in a pleasant or
unpleasant mood. I also noticed how choice of words can influence a reader’s perceptions. For
example, I’ve recently read several articles on the home-run race. One author reported that Sammy
Sosa was beating Mark McGwire, but another focused on Mark McGwire, writing that he was
ahead of last year’s pace, so he wasn’t technically “losing” the home-run race. Presentation of facts
and phrasing of observations can be vital to crafting a good story that grabs the reader’s attention;
it can also sway the reader’s opinions in many ways.
The Two Descriptions
1.) Do the two descriptions offer contrasting impressions of your place, without changing
2.) Do each of the descriptions incorporate all of the tools of the Writer’s Toolbox? Are each
of these rhetorical tools used to their fullest advantage?
3.) Are both descriptions well-organized, and easy to follow?
The Rhetorical Analysis
1.) Are each of the five rhetorical tools discussed?
2.) Does each paragraph follow the claim-support structure, making a general claim that
clarifies the feature to be discuss, and then offering examples of how the feature was used
and to what effect? Do these examples seem adequate and appropriate?
3.) Are transitions used to move the reader from paragraph to paragraph?
1.) Is the reflection at least one paragraph long, using appropriate transitions to move us
from idea to idea?
2.) Does the reflection offer a sense of why/how the concepts of this assignment matter,
beyond the classroom setting?
The Point of View Essay
Purpose: This paper assignment has several purposes. 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. 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.
1. Pleasant/Unpleasant Description of the Place: (350-450 words in length)
Choose a place you can observe for an extended period of time (at least 20-30 minutes). Use all of
your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, even taste if possible) to experience the place, and record
all of the sensations that you experience. As you record your data, you may wish to note which
details naturally seem more positive, negative, or neutral, in terms of tone. (For instance, a stinky
and overflowing trash barrel swarming with flies in a nearby alley might seem more inherently
negative than a little white bunny rabbit hopping playfully across the lawn.) Then, you will use
this information to help your write descriptions of the place: one positive, one negative. Both
descriptions should be factually true (same real time and real place), but you will want one
description to be positive in terms of tone and the other to be negative. In addition to including
the information and sensory details you’ve collected as the basis for these descriptions, you
will also use The Writer’s Toolbox to create your two contrasting impressions for this
assignment. As you revise and refine your descriptions, please be sure you are “showing” your
readers your place (really putting the readers “there” in the moment and in this scene), rather than
simply “telling” them about it. You will also want to try to eliminate unnecessary linking verbs as
much as you can, incorporating verbs that show “action” whenever possible.
2. Rhetorical Analysis: (This analysis should be at least 400-500 words in length)
Looking back at your descriptions, analyze how you created these two very different impressions
of the place (one positive, one negative) without changing any of the facts. How did you make
your place seem so positive in one paragraph and yet so negative in the other paragraph, without
changing the facts? Discuss how you incorporated each of the tools from the Writer’s Toolbox,
and cite examples of this from each of your descriptions.
3. Reflection: (one to two paragraphs)
In one to two paragraphs, consider at least one of the following questions:
What have you learned about writing through this assignment?
How might you apply this knowledge?
Has this process of using the Writer’s Toolbox affected your vision of various information
media–for instance, television and print news sources, magazines, etc.? If so, how so?
The First Portion of the 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 Second Portion of this Assignment
The second portion of this assignment is the rhetorical analysis. In the rhetorical analysis, you
will explain how you used the five features to make the same exact place seem so very positive
in one paragraph and yet so negative in the second paragraph.
The second portion of this assignment is a two step process.
1.) Review your two paragraphs noting each of the places you used any of the tools in the
Writer’s Toolbox. Try to find at least two examples of each of the tools from the Writer’s
Toolbox employed in each descriptions (except for tell sentences and direct statements of
meaning, which you should have limited to only one per paragraph). If you can’t find two
examples of the other features in each of your descriptions, you’ll probably want to revise your
initial description, adding more of those features.
2.) Write your rhetorical analysis, devoting at least one paragraph to each of the tools in the
Writer’s Toolbox. You will probably want to begin each paragraph of the rhetorical analysis
with a general claim.
“I used a great deal of word choice in each of my two
descriptions.” Then you’ll want to follow that claim with examples. “For instance, in my
positive paragraph, I described the sun as “gleaming,” which implies that the light was
pleasantly bright. However, in my negative paragraph, I described the sun as “glaring,”
implying that the light was too bright, and in fact painful to look at.”
The Third Portion of this Assignment
The last portion of this assignment is simple. Reflect on what you’ve done. Why does any of
this matter? How do these tools relate to other writing you’ve done, other writing you’ve read,
etc.? How does (or how will) any of this apply to you?
What is the Writer’s Toolbox?
The Writer’s Toolbox simply refers to five rhetorical tools that writers can use to convey their
meaning: direct statement of meaning, selection/omission of details, figurative language, show vs
tell, and word choice.
1.) A direct statement of meaning is a very direct statement that conveys your overall attitude
about the place to the reader. For instance: “This is paradise.” “What a pit.” “I wish I could stay
here forever.” “Why did I come to this dump to begin with?” You will want to limit these to one
sentence per paragraph, and you will probably want to use your overt statement of meaning either
at the beginning or end of your paragraph, to emphasize your positive or negative impression.
2.) Selection/omission of details is one of the tools used in the Royals example included in the
introduction to this unit. What we choose to leave out or put into a description of a place can have
a profound impact on a reader’s impression of that place. For instance, we might choose to leave
a mildewed, overflowing dumpster out of our positive description, but include it in our negative
description. On the other hand, we might choose to put a playful, baby bunny into our positive
description, but leave it out of our negative paragraph.
3.) Show vs tell is the difference between describing in detail and summarizing. When
weshow readers something, we allow them to really see, hear, feel, smell, even taste the things that
we are describing. We give them enough details to paint a sensory picture of the place. When
we tell readers something, we state it directly, summarizing the situation and leaving out
details. The following is a show sentence: “Clouds pile upon clouds, the sky an ever-darker gray,
vague rumbles of thunder building in the distance.” If we wanted to tellreaders the same thing, we
might simply say “A storm is coming.” In most of your written communication, and in this
assignment in particular, you will want to do a great deal of showing and very little telling. In
your two descriptions, for instance, you will probably want to limit yourself to one tell sentence
per paragraph. (And, in fact, your one tell sentence may be the same as your overt statement of
meaning sentence.) Rather than simply telling us about your place, you will need to show us.
4.) Word choice can be used to describe the exact same thing in two very different ways. For
instance, if you live in a small house, you might describe it as “cozy” implying that the place is
comfortable and pleasant. In contrast, you might describe it as “cramped” implying that the place
is too small, and therefore uncomfortable and unpleasant. Here’s another example: On a sunny
summer day, you might describe the sun as “gleaming” or you might describe it as “glaring.” Both
describe the same thing—the light emitting from the sun. But “gleaming” seems much more
positive than “glaring,” doesn’t it? This tool will especially come in handy when you are
describing details that seem neutral—not inherently positive or inherently negative.
language includes similes, metaphors, repetition
andpersonification. Similes and metaphors can be used to make a comparison between two
unlike things to emphasize some quality of one of those things. “Betty was as big as a house” is a
simile, using like or as to make a comparison between Betty and a house and thus the enormity of
Betty. “Betty was a house” conveys the same idea, but this is a metaphor, as the sentence does not
use like or as. We all understand that Betty is not literally a house, but we also get an impression
of how big she seems to the speaker. Repetition of sounds can be used (in moderation) to
emphasize a tone of either peace or discord. Softer sounds like “s” and “b” tend to imply
peacefulness. Think of “the soft song of a swallow” or a “babbling brook.” Harder sounds like
“c” and “r” tend to imply discord. Think of “cars cluttering” a parking lot, or “raucous rebels
raging” against society, spraying graffiti on those same cars. Personification can be used to give
human qualities to something that is not human. Think of a “proud, sturdy oak, stretching his arms
to the sky.” Trees aren’t proud, they don’t stretch, and they don’t have arms. But personification
can be used to emphasize their majesty.
Additional Reminders: Choosing Verbs that Do the Work.
Action verbs are verbs that convey the action that is taking place. Linking verbs are the “to be”
verbs—verbs such as is, are, was, were, has, have, had, etc. Active verbs are verbs that carry their
own weight, while passive verbs tend to be lazy little placeholders. Here are a few examples: “The
sun rose.” (action) vs “The sun had risen.” (linking) “Mike ate the candy bar.” (action) vs “The
candy bar was eaten by Mike.” (linking) “Cars filled the parking lot” (action) vs “There were a lot
of cars in the parking lot.” (linking)
In general, using more action verbs and striving to avoid unnecessary linking verbs makes your
writing much more concise and compelling. Sometimes linking verbs are necessary, but do try to
use action verbs whenever possible in your writing.
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