Description Of Place Narrative Assignment

EN 101
Dr. Fox

Personal Essay (15% of final grade)

Write a 3-4 page essay describing your home neighborhood. The essay will support a theme with detailed description.

From Derek Owens’s Place Portrait assignment in Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation and

Your goal is to describe this place so that your readers can form a detailed and relatively accurate picture of it in their head. If this place has changed over time, describe those changes… The point is to be honest, and to convey to your reader what you think about this place through your descriptions… . Spend some time describing the house or apartment building you live in [but] … even more time describing the surrounding area. What is the street like outside your front door? The adjacent buildings? Is it a residential or commercial area, or both? Are there stores nearby? What are they, what do they look like, and what kind of an impact do they have on you - that is, how do they make you feel? Is there traffic, and if so, how would you describe it? Are there parks or fields or lots nearby? Open spaces? Are there lots of people around, and if so, what kinds of people - age, culture, appearance? What do the people do in your neighborhood? If there aren't many people around, describe what that's like. Think about your neighbors: what kinds of jobs do you think they have? How do you think they spend their days? What is the name of the street you live on? The town or village? What are the names of the nearby neighborhoods, and are they similar to yours or different? If there are things that strike you as positive and good about your neighborhood, tell us about them. If there are things that are negative, let us know what they are. If you feel your place is "boring," try to explain why, exactly. If you feel indifferent about your neighborhood, and find it neither "good" nor "bad," try hard to explain why you feel that indifference. Do you think your neighborhood is similar to many others, or unique? In general, how does this place make you feel, and why? (Owens)


  • Recognize role of audience, purpose, and voice in writing
  • Understand basic essay structure: controlling thesis, organizational structure, strategies for a successful introduction, conclusion
  • Support ideas with concrete details and examples

Draft due date
You will loose one letter grade on tehf inal draft if you are if you are not present in class with a first draft for small group workshop.

see student-created grading criteria

“5” essays, while not perfect, fulfill the grading criteria exceptionally well.
These essays may take risks that are successful and may show evidence of outstanding revision.

“4” essays meet the grading criteria successfully for the most part. These essays may take risks that are only somewhat successful, and they may show evidence of serious and sustained revision to content, organization, and style.

“3” essays satisfy the grading criteria. These essays communicate a theme, bring the neighborhood alive for the most part, employ ethos, are organized coherently, and contain competent prose. This essay may not take any risks and may not show much evidence of revision.

“2” essays do not satisfy the grading criteria. They may have a barely perceptible theme or many multiple underdeveloped themes. They use but few of the writing strategies that can bring place alive; in particular they rely on vague, abstract expressions. The organizational plan may resemble a list. Sentences may be awkward or confusing.

“1” essays do not exist or exist as freewrites

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