The Point of View Essay

The Point of View Essay

We will be working on this paper for the next three units.  The final draft of the paper–with all three sections described below–will be due at the end of Unit #4.

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.

The Assignment:

1. Pleasant/Unpleasant Description of the Place:  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.  (The Writer’s Toolbox is

explained in the Lecture Notes section of this unit.)  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:  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.  (This analysis should be

at least 400-500 words in length.)

3. Reflection:  In one to two paragraphs, cnsider 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?

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 Call at Pillsbury Crossing”

Nature’s beauty surrounds me.  On a calm, mostly sunny day, the bristles the leaves 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.

Different bugs whistle and chant around me, voicing their opinions and contributing to the symphony of nature.  The tall sunflowers rise by the water, trying best

to place their roots so they are not washed away when nature’s cool drink falls again.  Two young people sit in inflatable chairs, drifting above the crystal clear

water.  Their shoes are off, and they dip their toes in the pond’s relieving temperature.  They bathe in the sun like flowers in the springtime, soaking all of the

sun’s warm, crisp rays.  Short blasts of relieving wind soothe the skin and the backs of their necks.  They sit and enjoy the day as the sun passes through the clouds,

absorbing all the comforting rays before the sun is whisked away.

“Grim Times at Pillsbury Crossing”

Death has had her way here.  On a partly cloudy day at the end of the tropical summer, the withering leaves fall from a dried tree that has been suffocated by days

of countless painful sun rays.  The gust swishes again and brings more brown leaves to their final resting place on the cracked ground.  A waterfall sits not far from

the leaf cemetery, filled with rotting garbage decaying to the roots of the hungry plants.  As bugs swarm, a bright flash of lightning sparks the distant sky, serving

as a warning for nature to take cover.  Thunder bangs through the clouds like a cannon, echoing off the hills of the horizon.  The old, moldy stench stealthily

slithers in before the rain droplets hit the floodplain.  All of nature will get their drink, but most will drown in the water to cover the fractured land.


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