Descriptive Essays vs. Narrative Essays
Descriptive Essays vs. Narrative Essays
Many people have different preferences on what type of writing style they think is more superior to another, I believe descriptive writing to be more excellent writing style then narrative. I can tell you that there are a few similarities and a few differences between the two. I prefer Descriptive essays, rather than narrative essays. In my belief, it’s that the descriptive essays are more effective when an author is trying to convey a story or get a message across than narratives. Descriptive essays keep the reader engaged throughout the story. It provides the reader with more in depth details, and it allows the reader to better envision the picture that the author is trying to paint. Descriptive and narrative essays have a few traits in common. Typically both almost make you feel as if you are present with the author. They both usually tell you of an event that the author went thru or a message the author wants you to receive.
Whether you are reading the Personal Narrative or Descriptive Essay both are very creative form of writing. The difference between a narrative essay and descriptive essay is that the narrative essay is more catered to someone’s point of view in order to tell a story, whereas the descriptive essay describes a person or the place or an event by using vivid images. The writer describes a behavior or personality or uses our sense of smell, touch, sound, taste. Descriptive essays show a reader and do not tell them. Descriptive essays give a lot of details for instance, would you prefer to read an essay with a sentence like, “the girl ran down the street” or “the young girl ran down the street wearing light blue shorts and a white top, as her blonde hair blew in the wind”. The second sentence would catch a reader’s attention more than the first. This is a example as to why I believe descriptive essays are better than narrative essay, because they paint a better picture.
“On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange menu. She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns. The kitchen was littered with appalling mounds of raw food: A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes that pleaded not to be thrown into a pan of hot oil. Tofu, which looked like stacked wedges of rubbery white sponges. A bowl soaking dried fungus back to life. A plate of squid, their backs crisscrossed with knife markings, so they resembled bicycle tires.” Tan, A. (2013). This is an excerpt from the descriptive essay Fish Cheeks. When we as a writer provide our readers with such descriptive details you can almost picture yourself in that kitchen, and I became engaged from this point on. It is easy for the reader to get wrapped up in the story when the author is using descriptive language to paint a vivid picture. The audience can visualize the food, and the way it looks. Narratives are more direct and straight to the point, and that can cause a lot of readers to get lost or disengaged. A descriptive essay takes the dialogue to a different height by the details given by the author allowing us as a reader the ability to share the authors experiences by explaining and to show us rather than just telling us.
When giving more details, the reader obtains more of the story. When reading the article I Want a Wife (Brady, 1971), the author gives a brief description of their friend who had recently become divorced and was now looking for a new wife. The author goes into explain how she also, would like a new wife. She then explains the “duties” her new wife would complete for her. The new wife would be preparing meals and keeping a clean home. Here comes my issue with this narrative, I am left wondering about this woman’s story. I want to know who she is. Is this description of her own marriage? What is her husband like? Is she not happy? Does she like being a wife? Narrative essay focus more on the information, and again telling the reader the story from the point to point they may use different forms of dialogue to convey this message to the audience. The author may use intriguing humor or tell the story first hand in first person to try to make the reader interested. The benefit of writing a story that contains many details is that it also allows the reader to visualize and feel the emotions that the author is trying to convey.
The descriptive language presented in Fish Cheeks; the reader is able to visualize them as a fourteen year old who describes a Christmas Eve dinner when she as fourteen, how she felt when the boy she had a crush on, who, was also a minister’s son and his family had been invited to have a traditional Chinese dinner with her family. Her being afraid of what he would think of her and her culture, and of how she just wanted to fit in: When she finds out he is invited to dinner, she cries because she fears what he might think of her and her families Chinese Christmas celebrations. Her fears came to life just as her mother brought out the steamed fish, with its eyeballs still on. Also, her father added to her worries by poking the fish’s cheeks and announcing that it was her favorite. When everyone left Amy’s mother handed her a gift a mini skirt, and told Amy that she could look like an American girl on the outside, but she would remain a Chinese girl on the inside, saying to Amy “Your only shame is to have shame.” It was a lesson that she would understand many years later. When Amy describes, this all I can visualize every piece of her story.
In conclusion, by the author providing descriptive language and more in depth details to captivate and engage their audience, and by also allowing the reader to become wrapped up in the moments and emotions being depicted and painted throughout the story and providing a more engaging experience for the reader, this means to me that a descriptive essay is more beneficial than a narrative essay. A descriptive essay has a larger and long lasting impression and impact on the reader, and the audience walks away as if they just lived the story or event described themselves. It not only has that but, also the message that the author was trying to convey been instilled into the reader to remember forever.
Tan, A. (2013). Fish cheeks. Retrieved from http://redroom.com/member/amy-tan/writing/fish-cheeks
Brady, J. (1971). I want a wife. Retrieved from http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4e/content/cat_020/Brady_I_Want_a_Wife.pdf