Descriptive Writing in Literature

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Descriptive Writing in Literature!

November, 01, 2010

Descriptive Writing in Literature!
Literature indulges us in a different world by using descriptive writing that paints a vivid picture in our mind. Every author has a different way to accomplish that, but the main purpose is to draw the reader into the desired place and time of the literature. I will compare two poems and one story that capture the imagination by a descriptive writing. First we will take a closer look how these authors accomplished their transition of us into their world and then we will compare if those works have something in common.

Grabbing the attention of a reader is not an easy thing especially that each person has a different view of the world, and one thing that can be understandable to some can be an enigma to others. In the poem “The Fish” written by Elizabeth Bishop we can see a simple act of catching a fish that is translated into a powerful descriptive poem that shows how this catch not only defined time, but is also a renewal of life after the release. When we hear a person describing a fish it is usually pretty simple: small, big, long, had large teeth, heavy etc... In the poem Elizabeth Bishop uses great synonyms and metaphors (change the words) that grab our attention from the first verse:” I caught a tremendous fish and held him beside the boat half out of the water, with my hook fast in a corner of his mouth.” We can clearly imagine the fish that has just been caught still breathing being held next to the boat. Next she uses synonyms that start to describe the appearance of it: “He hung a grunting weight, battered and venerable and homely.” But the great description does not end on those couple lines she goes into details about its skin and how it looks like an old wallpaper, discolored, faded, torn apart: “his brown skin hung in strips like ancient wall-paper, and its pattern of darker brown was like wall-paper: shapes like full-brown roses stained and lost through age.” Just from reading this couple lines we can see that the fish was old, because of its skin and the color of it, some fish can even grow up to a hundred and now we can see that the catch could be even older that the fisherman. The author goes into further detail about the age of the fish when he writes: “hung five old pieces of fish-line… with all their five big hooks” and “Like medal with their ribbons frayed and wavering, a five-haired beard of wisdom trailing from his aching jaw.” These lines have great power of showing us that the fisherman realized that the fish had fought many battles throughout his years, and the reminders that were left in his jaw look like medals worn by soldiers after their fights. The image that we can develop thanks to this descriptive writing is bright and clear this metaphor of medals is a great way to picture the old, tired fish that has overcame many obstacles on its path (Bishop, 2007).

The story that we will look at that has also caught my imagination through its playful and colorful writing is “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” by Stephen Crane. In this short story not only the surrounding is described to details, but characters feeling and thoughts are written in a way that we can place ourselves in their shoes. This way we can accomplish a greater similarity with characters and also show some emotion that we have never felt before “She continually twisted her head to regard her puff sleeves, very stiff, straight, and high. They embarrassed her.” In those two lines we can see that the character is not used to this king of attire and it is making her uncomfortable. Same thing probably happened to everybody in their life once, when we had to wear something that was not chosen by us, but the dress code or the occasion required it, like a bridesmaid who wears a dress that thinks it is the ugliest in the world only to please the bride. Those simple feeling transferred to paper can make the reader transfer in time and place to...