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The Purpose of a Descriptive Essay

The Purpose of a Descriptive Essay

Each piece of writing you have ever come up with has a purpose. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to provide a vivid and bright picture of something with the use of the descriptive language. It runs contrary to a narrative essay where a writer merely tells a story. Without a doubt, this story gives multiple descriptions of, for instance, weather, setting for actions, and physical appearance. Nonetheless, the focal point of this narration is the chain of events and the net result obtained, whereas the descriptive essay does not have a tale beyond the words.

Let’s spot the difference between the following passages.

  • Despite the heavy rain, Ann decided to go to the nearby shop and buy some food. She watched her every step trying not to slip and fall in the mud puddles, so when the bus splashed her with mud, the girl went crazy.
  • The lowering sky was dark and hollow. The heavy rain made people stay at home. The sudden rumble of thunder broke the monotonous sound of the heavy drops splashing onto the puddles.

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In both examples, the weather is depicted as rainy and dreadful, albeit the latter is replete with adjectives and appeals to our imagination and senses. Consequently, it becomes obvious that the second passage is a description, whereas the first one is the narration. Being unable to differentiate between these two types is a slippery road to failure.

Many may find themselves at a loss when they are asked to write the descriptive essay. Actually, they ask themselves, “What is the reason for concentrating on depicting something when you can simply describe and unfold the plot? Hey, it is possible to do this simultaneously!” Nonetheless, this type of writing might be to your advantage for two reasons.

First, in the narrative essay, you must complete the plot but not insert the detailed portraits of the main character and the other characters involved. On the contrary, in the descriptive essay, you can fully dedicate some paragraphs to describing person’s physical appearance and character traits. Making a notable example, tedious landscape descriptions in the narration are usually omitted even by voracious readers.

Second, not everyone has a natural affinity with the figurative language. Writing the descriptive essay is a favorable opportunity to try your hand at this type of writing. Sometimes, it is not enough just to implement sophisticated vocabulary to illustrate a person or thing, but there is a need to use such stylistic devices as simile, metonymy, litotes, etc. Your task is to leave the comfort zone and to erase the generic adjectives from your memory. This writing is a favorable opportunity to hone your writing skills.

There is one golden rule you should stick to while compiling not only the descriptive essay but others as well. Opt for the topic that kindles not just the spark of interest in you, but ignites the fire. The more you are keen to explore the topic, the more fascinated your readers will be. Still, bear in mind that not everyone will be eager to read about the outlet with designer clothes just because they might not share your taste. Choose the topic, which will unequivocally attract the attention of your audience.

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