Descriptive Writing

Welcome to the week five Discussion Board. This week will be a lot like week two; you will first read a sample essay, comment on it, and then write a rough draft of your own essay. Actually, I’m giving you two readings this week, both on the same subject: the black widow spider. The first link is to the Wikipedia page on the black widow spider. If you think about it, an encyclopedia entry is essentially a descriptive essay–a straightforward description of a person, place, or thing. No one, however, would consider an encyclopedia entry a work of art; in fact, encyclopedia entries are supposed to be boring. The pdf attachment below is an essay by the famous nature essayist Gordon Grice, “Caught in the Widow’s Web.” While his essay has many of the same facts as the Wikipedia entry, he takes a far more interesting approach, in which his essay is filled with vivid imagery and creative similes and metaphors. It is a spectacular example of what a descriptive essay can do, and it is one I would like you to use as an inspiration when you write your own descriptive essays. Here are some questions to get you started:

1. Grice uses a number of metaphors and similes in his essay. Express one that you think is effective and explain why you think so.

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2. In his essay, Grice transforms his black widow spider into a symbol. What do you think the spider is symbolic of for Grice? Offer evidence for your opinion.

3. What do you think is the most effective section of Grice’s essay, the one you found the most fascinating or frightening? Why do you think so?

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