Part 1: Descriptive Writing
In her 2007 article, “The Secret Power of Things We Hold Dear,” Sherry Turkle discusses the importance of objects on a personal level. She describes her weekends spent at her grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn, looking through the items that her grandparents saved, and using the information she gleaned from these items, gains a deeper understanding of her mother and her aunt. In her article, Turkle explains that the items that she looked at again and again “had a high emotional intensity” because they made her think about the father she never met (Turkle, 2007, para. 6). In this sense, Turkle uses the art of bricolage (“do-it-yourself”) to piece together who her father was.
For this writing assignment, use bricolage to describe a person close to you or someone you know very well: What objects surround this person? What does his or her physical space (living space, work space, or other) look like? How does he or she dress? Describe this person’s physical appearance as well as any mannerisms, gestures, or expressions he or she uses. Show this person doing something that he or she would do on a regular basis. The idea is to create a dominant impression of this person by selecting key details, as you did in your discussion this week.
Write a one-paragraph (five to seven sentences) physical description of this person and his or her surroundings using specific sensory details so the reader can visualize this person. Write a second paragraph discussing what you think these objects, environment, appearance, and so forth say about this person. Practice ways of showing your reader the significance rather than telling the reader of its importance.
Turkle, S. (2007). The secret power of things we hold dear.New scientist, 194(2607), 50-52.
Part 2: Grammar Review
In Writing Elements (2012), Goss and Goss briefly explore the most common grammar and usage issues found in student writing. Read through the guide and find three areas where you struggle or have struggled in your own writing. Write an example of each of these issues and demonstrate a way each issue can be corrected.
“I asked her what is her problem.” Incorrect because it uses both past and present tense verbs in the same sentence. This is also an awkward sounding sentence.
“I asked her what her problem was.” Correct (past tense).
Or, “I ask her what her problem is.” Correct (present tense).
Goss, T. P., & Goss, S. M. (2012). Writing elements: A quick guide to grammar andusage. Kansas City, MO: Grantham University.
Turkle, S. (2007). The secret power of things we hold dear. New scientist, 194(2607), 50-52.
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