Narrative essays and Descriptive essays can be similar but they are different in nature. The narrative essay “I Want a Wife” is more compelling than the descriptive essay “Homeless” because the narrative essay has a point of view, uses humor and satire, and uses tone and language that can draw the reader in.
“Narration is storytelling from the perspective of a narrator and the story may be true, false, imaginary, or a combination. A narration can be about past, present, or future events, and it can be short or the length of a novel” (Connell & Sole, 2013, sec. 6.3). A narrative can draw in the audience by telling the reader the story just how it happened or how they pictured it to be without losing someone in thought because they may not understand what they mean when they are using words to describe it a certain way. “Description is a pattern of writing that can be defined as painting pictures with words” (Connell & Sole, 2013, sec. 6.4). A descriptive essay uses very expressive words to describe specific details.
The reader will have to use the five sense in order to understand what the writer is trying to convey and may get lost especially if the reader doesn’t understand one of those descriptive words. The two essays in this paper that are being compared and contrasted are “Homeless” by Anna Quindlen and “I Want a Wife” by Judy Brady. Both essays are being told by the author but through someone else’s eyes but on what the author sees. The beginning paragraph from the narrative essay “I Want a Wife” reads, “Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is looking for another wife. As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife. Why do I want a wife” (Brady, 1971)?
This paragraph started off the essay with author’s point of view because she too is a wife. The author was able to identify this by what she does as a wife, how she acted and how she is treated. This can also be the point of view of a man because some men may feel that this is what a wife should do or how a wife should act or maybe someone else who is a wife, because it’s what they do. She made the essay seem like a wife is such a huge deal and that they have such a big job to complete throughout each day. This essay makes the reader stop and think about if this is the way they want their wife to be or if they want to be this way if they are a wife. The descriptive essay “Homeless”, the author tells her point of view because of a homeless lady she wanted to ask questions to. She perceived her point of view about homeless people from a portrait the lady showed her and what she sees when she looks at the lady and the picture. Both essays have a point a view a reader may agree or disagree with.
Not everyone sees a wife as a person who does everything for the household, such as cook all meals, clean the whole house, take care of the kids, and take care of the man. Back in 1971 when the essay was written this may have held true, but in 2014 there are house-holds where the woman is the bread winner and the man will stay home and take care of everything. There are also other relationships where the house hold is 50-50. The husband and wife share duties. As far as homeless people, someone’s point of view may be different than when the author said: “People find it curious that those without homes would rather sleep sitting up on benches or huddled in doorways than go to shelters” (Quindlen, n.d. para. 7). That was her point of view of what she thinks other people think but in reality, the homeless people may not be able to get shelter so they have no choice but to sleep on benches. With these two essays, the point of view is stronger in the narrative essay because most people are wives, or they have a wife and can see this essay as true.
The descriptive essay, not everyone is homeless or they may not be around homeless people or know how they interact so they may not understand the point the author is trying to make. The tone of “I Want a Wife” is written in a humorous, ironic mood. This is what makes this essay enjoyable to read and it’s not boring to the reader. The essay has a “sarcastic tone which is produced when someone uses heave-handed verbal irony. Verbal irony occurs when one expresses the opposite of what one actually means (Connell & Sole, 2013). The narrative essay is also of great humor and satire. To any woman reader and maybe some men, they may look at this essay and laugh. The reader may sense the sarcasm in the author’s words. For example, the author says “If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one” (Brady, 1971, para. 8). This paragraph alones makes you mad but makes you laugh. The whole essay in itself is also written in sarcasm. The writer depicts what a wife should be but is sarcastic in her approach of how she writes it.
She always started off with “I want a wife who will”, and then talks about what she would want her wife to do if she wanted a wife, and how a wife should act. If you did not know the author, you would have th ought this was written by a man. At the end of the essay, Brady (1971) states “My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?” shows that this whole essay was of great irony and satire because she talks about what she wants in a wife when she is a wife. This quoted sentence shows exaggeration, just like the rest of the essay. There was no irony or sarcasm or anything to make me laugh in the descriptive essay “Homeless”. Because of the nature of the essay, there wouldn’t be any humor or satire since it could be considered a sad essay. The author’s tone in “Homeless” is very serious, yet tranquil. It is serious because the subject is also very serious subject, but serene because she knows that there is a solution for these problems.
Quindlen uses this tone to get through to the reader in order to deliver the purpose. The tone is also sad because of the problems of homelessness in the world today. The reader may feel a sense of sympathy when reading this essay because it can be controversial. There is some hyperbole language the author is using in homeless like: “It was like a thousand houses in a hundred towns, not suburb, not city, but somewhere in between, with aluminum siding and a chain-link fence, a narrow driveway running up to a one-car garage, and a patch of backyard (Quindlen, n.d. para. 2). Brady also uses different figurative language such as exaggeration and repetitiveness in her essay. Through the language you often felt the emotion of the essay especially if you are a wife because you may think about if you have done the things she is stating a wife does.
This essay has an emotion appeal to it. It “has a purpose, its honest and not attempting to mislead, and not used just for effect or for gratuitous reasons” (Connell & Sole, 2013, sec. 7.3). It is not making personal attacks on wives, but showing how a wife is treated as such and how they are not appreciated. The narrative essay gave a more clear understanding as to the point the author was trying to get a cross. The narrative essay also used a descriptive writing pattern. The language was carefully and particularly chosen and it also evoked emotions to the reader. The narrative essay was of great humor and satire but it also made you think about life as a wife, as to where the descriptive essay was a serious essay that talked about a world issue and the attempt to take action to solve that problem.
It lacked the senses a descriptive should have. There was no emotion and no feelings relating to the topic, because the descriptive essay was more of a journalistic essay that talked about problems that needed to be solved. It did not have many words to paint the picture of how homeless people live and what they look like, or how they smell how they get by day to day. The narrative essay had this creative tension that kept the reader interested in what a man or another woman may think of what a wife could be. It kept the writer of this essay interested because she is too, a wife.
Brady, J. (1971). I want a wife. Retrieved from http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4e/content/cat_020/Brady_I_Want_a_Wife.pdf Connell, C. M., & Sole, K. (2013). Essentials of college writing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Quindlen, A. (n.d.). Homeless. Retrieved from http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/homelesstext.htm
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