Writing from Experience: Depicting a Place Assignment

Document created by Classroom Compass Administrator on Mar 24, 2016
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The assignment

Introduce readers to a place that you have visited. For example, you might take readers into an unfamiliar or exotic world—a scuba diving expedition, a spelunking adventure, or a boat trip through the Everglades. Or you could encourage readers to visit a favorite museum, historic district, or park (or discourage them from visiting a place you found disappointing). Or you could introduce readers to a foreign country or an ethnic neighborhood with which you are familiar.


Your information should come from personal experience, not from written sources (unless your instructor suggests otherwise). For this assignment, you may use the word I, you, or perhaps we (as in the sample student papers) unless your instructor prefers that you write only from the third-person point of view (he, she, it, one). Aim for an essay from 500 to 1,000 words long—two to four typed pages, double-spaced.


Tips on depicting a place


  • If possible, visit or revisit the place you plan to depict so that you can observe details firsthand instead of relying on memory.
  • As you are observing your subject (or recalling details about it), take some notes. Then look through your notes for what journalists call an "angle": a way of focusing your material on a central idea or dominant impression.
  • Consider your audience. How will readers benefit from hearing about the place you have chosen to depict?
  • Think about your overall strategy for the paper. Do you want to take readers on a tour? Share your own experiences visiting the place? Keep both yourself and your readers out of the picture by focusing just on the place itself?
  • In your introduction, give readers a sense of the significance of your subject. End your introduction with a thesis (as in the first sample paper) unless the point of the paper is so clear that the thesis is implied (as in the second sample paper). NOTE: Check with your instructor to see whether an implied thesis is acceptable.
  • In the body of the paper, give readers enough details so they can experience the place you have chosen to depict. Select details to support your central impression of the place, whether positive or negative.
  • In the conclusion, encourage readers to visit the place you have depicted (or, if your purpose is to discourage a visit, emphasize why).


Journey under Water (attached)

The Phillips Collection (attached)