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By Elaine Ernst Schneider
April 3, 2002
three basic types of paragraphs in writing: narrative, descriptive, and
expository. The narrative paragraph tells a story, just like a narrator
in a play. The descriptive paragraph paints a picture. It gives details
about a person, place, thing, or idea, much like an adjective. The expository
paragraph "exposes" things about a subject. It is sometimes called an information
paragraph because it gives information about a person, place, thing, or
tone (or mood) to establish a certain atmosphere for their works. For example,
a piece might be written in a formal way, as if the author is speaking
to a crowd OR the work might be composed in such as way as to make the
reader feel as if he or she is in a room alone with the author, chatting
over coffee. A piece might be ironic, solemn, technical, emotional, light-hearted,
humorous, sentimental, triumphant, depressing, or satiric. Any of these
would certainly change the overall presentation of what is written.
writing does exactly what its name implies – it attempts to sway the reader
to agree with a certain position, belief, or philosophy. It is not uncommon
for an author to convey a certain message in a fictional work, seeking
to persuade the reader to see things a certain way. In chapters 9-12, Edna
Ferber presents Selina as a strong woman, principled and firm, battling
for survival by standing against the established and accepted way of doing
things. Selina takes her place alongside the men at the Haymarket, bargains
with Chicago’s influential businessmen, and determines that Dirk will be
educated. What point, do you suppose, Edna Ferber is trying to make? Write
a persuasive paragraph in which you try to convince the reader to “see
things Edna’s way.”
Consider the following quote:
If those vague characteristics call (variously) magnetism, manner, grace, distinction, attractiveness, fascination, go to make up that nebulous quality known as charm; and if the possessor of that quality is accounted fortunate in his equipment for that which the class-day orators style the battle of life, then Dirk DeJong was a lucky lad and life lay promisingly before him. (from chapter 13)
We have discussed that
a narrative paragraph is one that tells a story. Your assignment is to
create a “charming” character, using the definition set forth in the above
quote, and then to write a short story about that character.
tool is comparison and contrast. Your assignment utilizes this technique.
Title your paper Dallas and Dirk. In your first paragraph, introduce both
characters in a general way. In your second paragraph, compare the two.
In other words, how are these two people alike? You may talk about physical
appearance, personality, ethics, goals, methods of attaining these goals
– or anything else that you feel is relevant to a comprehensive comparison
of the two characters. Your third paragraph should contrast Dallas and
Dirk. How are they different? Be sure that whatever traits you compared
in the second paragraph are treated equally in your third paragraph contrasts.
For example, if you compared Dallas and Dirk physically, you should contrast
them physically as well. A balanced paper would not compare them physically
and then contrast them emotionally. Hint: compare them physically; contrast
them physically. Compare them emotionally; contrast them emotionally. Compare
their goals; contrast their goals, etc. Finally, your last paragraph is
for conclusion, summary, and wrap-up.
on a typewriter, word processor, or computer. Skip a line between each
line of writing if your paper is handwritten. This makes for easier reading
and leaves space for a teacher’s editing comments. If you type, use 12
font. Before turning in your assignment, check for spelling, punctuation,
and grammar errors. Read your paper aloud. You will be surprised how many
errors will surface.
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