From school we get small essays for homework. We begin to describe small things: objects, room around us, nature outside, and then we described heroes of the books, their look and character. The students are moving little forward – they use sensory information. The sense of touch, smell, sight etc. are used to more fully convey sensations and atmosphere, almost immersing the reader in the narrative.
A descriptive essay has qualities such as:
– brevity and clarity
– use of images
– use of sensory information
For such essays, a clear and concise type of narration is necessary. The writer uses images to make the immersion effect even stronger and things felt as real. The use of the five senses creates more voluminous and vivid picture, albeit slightly different from person to person.
How to distinguish a description from a descriptive essay?
The description may occupy the entire paragraph, and may be longer, if
necessary for a more comprehensive description of the subject. But a descriptive
essay, if it is well written, of course, includes an introduction with a
well-written thesis, three paragraphs and a logical conclusion.
Examples of descriptive essay in the literature:
‘Life in the Iron Mills’ by Rebecca Harding Davis’s
In this passage, smoke is described in an absolutely unbelievable way. It seems that you are now in this city and walk along the street, barely distinguishing the faces of people passing you by, and they were covered with gray veil. This smoke settles on your shoes and soils the pants. Incredible description.
“The idiosyncrasy of this town is smoke. It rolls sullenly in slow folds from the great chimneys of the iron-foundries, and settles down in black, slimy pools on the muddy streets. Smoke on the wharves, smoke on the dingy boats, on the yellow river–clinging in a coating of greasy soot to the house-front, the two faded poplars, the faces of the passers-by.”
‘Jamaica Inn’ by Daphne du Maurier
notice the writer’s choice of adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. Granite. Mizzling. Du Maurier’s choice of words allows the reader to almost feel the weather occurring on the page.
The author has picked up extremely accurate phrases. Granite sky. Pouring rain. Plexuses of words very accurately describe the weather and at the same time accompany the reader to a cold rainy autumn, with its clouds and winds.
“It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o’clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist.”