compare and contrast

Topics: Writing, Essay, Essays Pages: 7 (1539 words) Published: July 2, 2014

Narrative VS Descriptive
Benjamin Jones
English Composition 1
Instructor Rachel Orr
June 23, 2013

Over the last few weeks, I have learned about what makes an essay an essay, after reading the required chapters of “Essentials of College Writing” (Connell & Soles, 2013) the knowledge needed to compare and contrast a narrative and descriptive essay is at my grasp. The essays I have chosen to use as support are “Homeless” by Anne Quindlen and “Are the Rich Happy?” by Stephen Leacock. While the differences between these two essays are apparent, the similarities are more recognizable. By using information, I have gained from the class I hope this paper can help you form your own opinion on which essay is superior. There are many different reasons why an author would write a narrative or descriptive essay and for each form, there is a main purpose, though it does not always have to be evident right away. A narrative story is to entertain or engage the reader, maybe for fun or to teach a lesson. In difference to a narrative, which can be truth or fiction, a descriptive is about a true event, person or place. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to create an accurate and vivid “picture” by using specific details. Details help you focus the reader’s attention on characteristics that make people, places, objects, and events unique and help them “come alive” for readers, a descriptive essay is about an actual person, place and/or event (Connell & Soles, 2013). The author Stephen Leacock started his essay,” Are the Rich Happy?” with, “Let me admit at the outset that I write this essay without adequate material. I have never known, I have never seen, any rich people. Very often, I have thought I have found them. However, it turned out that it was not so. They were not rich at all. They were quite poor. They were hard up. They were pushed for money. They did not know where to turn for ten thousand dollars.” The essays purpose was not openly stated, I had to finish reading before I understood what point the author was trying to get across. In contrast, Quindlen began her essay “Homeless” by getting to the point from the very beginning, using words to describe exactly who and what she was writing about in her paper “Her name was Ann, and we met in the port authority Bus Terminal several Januarys ago. I was doing a story on homeless people. She said I was wasting my time talking to her; she was just passing through, although shed been passing through for more than two weeks. To prove to me that this was true, she rummaged through a tote bag and a manila envelope and finally unfolded a sheet of typing paper and brought out her photographs.” The author of both a narrative and a descriptive essay need to use elements to make sure that they maintain the reader’s attention. Like, the topic they have chosen to write about has to be interesting to others. Just because one person thinks something is interesting does not mean others will feel the same (Connell & Soles, 2013). The author of ‘Are the Rich Happy? ‘ Stephen Leacock knew that money will always be an issue among man and no matter how much money one has they will always want more, because there will always be reason to need more and that they will never be happy with what they have. Anne Quindlen also knew that homeless is a major issue in the world and that others would have a related emotion attachment to this. Another element is the use of language that allows the readers’ senses to create the whole picture. A narrative uses words to represent physical objects rather than ideas, qualities, or concepts that help make characters come to life and give those personalities (Connell & Soles, 2013). In contrast, a descriptive essay demands emotion and expressive details that are more precise when describing certain aspects such as the characters, the plot and the main idea of why the essay was wrote. As written in “Are the Rich Happy” By...

References: Connell, Christine M & Sole, Kathy Essentials of College Writing, 2013
Leacock, S. (1916). Are the rich happy? In R. Nordquist (Ed.), Guide to Grammar & Composition. Retrieved from
Quindlen, A. (n.d.). Homeless. Retrieved from
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