Description 1: Positive The new city pool was packed with eager patrons. Some stood in line for the massive water slide they’d been waiting all winter to try. Others took turns jumping from the diving boards. Small children splashed and slapped at the water in the wading pool, their mothers never far from reach. Laughter mingled in the air with the smell of buttery popcorn. Occasionally, a surprised scream would erupt, followed by the telltale splash of someone having been pushed into the pool by a friend. Hot afternoon sunlight glistened on the water. Sunbathers stretched and napped on large beach towels. Off to the side, a father and son sat under the food pavilion sharing an ice cream cone.
Description 2: Negative The new city pool was at its maximum capacity with 75 patrons packed inside. Impatient children groaned while they waited in a long, snaking line for the massive water slide. A parade of people jumped from two diving boards. Most of these uncoordinated attempts ended in belly flops. Small children squealed, piercing the air with either excitement or horror at the notion of having to get wet. The stench of fried foods and chlorination permeated the air. Mothers chased their unruly offspring all over the burning concrete just to slather on one more pat of sunscreen. The hot afternoon sun cast a blinding white light over the surface of the pool. Sunbathers in a variety of shapes and sizes lay about on beach towels like lazy farm animals. A few feet away, a father and son sat under the food pavilion sharing an ice cream cone. It dripped a sugary liquid onto the concrete. Ants were already making their way to the fresh mess.
Strategy two can be found in the way the long line for the water slide is mentioned in the second description, but not in the first. In description one, the object for which people were waiting was emphasized. In description two, the long line itself was stated.
Strategy two was again used at the end of both descriptions. In the first, the reader is left with the sweet impression of a father and son enjoying a special moment. In the second, the reader is left with the image of bugs invading what would have otherwise been a great family moment.
The use of strategy three is evident in the way the smell of the air is revealed. In the first description, it is made to sound delicious (“the smell of buttery popcorn”). In the second, the smell is referred to as a “stench”.
Strategy four was implemented when describing the sunbathers. Description one emphasizes the large towels, while description two suggests the sizes of the sunbathers themselves are large, like “lazy farm animals.”
Strategy five can be seen in description two when fun and games is suggested through “a friend” being placed at the end of the lengthy sentence. In description two, the diving board experience is accentuated in a negative way via short sentence structure in the line, “most of these uncoordinated attempts ended in belly flops”.
The most important thing learned while completing this exercise is that attention must be paid to how a writer describes something if he or she is to successfully convey the intended tone.