March 22, 2009
A Comparison Essay about “Flood” and “Flying”
The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or thing in much detail. The author’s purpose is to recreate their experience in a way in which the reader can visualize the actual event. An essayist and poet known for writing these types of descriptive essays is Annie Dillard. Her essays consist of various types of imagery, which applies to all the senses, like sight, sounds, smell etc. These words aid the reader in visualizing and experiencing what the author is describing about. Two examples of Dillard’s descriptive essays are “Flood” and “Flying,” which are similar, but different in many ways by recreating events in the reader’s mind, providing objective and subjective details, and developing themes.
The essay “Flood” is a descriptive essay because it recreates an actual event about a flood that caused a creek near Dillard’s house to overflow. An example of her description of the flood is when Dillard says, “Right behind the road’s shoulder are waves, waves whipped in rhythmically peaking scallops, racing down stream” (“Flood” 512). This essay also uses objective details to refer to what actually happened, by using descriptive imagery. An example of an objective detail would be when Dillard says, “the snapper hisses very impressively,” (“Flood” 513) allowing the reader to hear the actual sound of the loud hiss. Another part of a descriptive essay is its subjective details, which refers to a familiar event. An example of this in “Flood” is when Dillard says, “Mark Spitz couldn’t live,” (“Flood” 511) relating the flood waters to an Olympic swimmer, and showing how powerful the water was flowing. The last important aspect of a descriptive essay is developing a theme. The overall theme of “Flood” is how natural disaster can lead to good and positive changes.
“Flying” by Annie Dillard is also a descriptive essay because it...