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Compare/Contrast of Essays

ENG121: English Composition I

Instructor Deborah Holder

March 16, 2014

Compare/Contrast of Essays

When comparing Paul McHenry Roberts narrative essay "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words" and Maya Angelou's descriptive essay "Sister Flowers", Roberts essay is superior because he uses second point of person, relate-able topics, and problem solving strategies in his essay. By using descriptive language, an author has the power to tantalize their readers simply by word usage. Descriptive language "refers to words that are vivid, expressive, and highly specific to the topic" (Connell & Sole, 2013, “6.4 Descriptive Language”, para. 3). In conjunction with descriptive language, a relatable topic also appeals to the reader’s senses. Finally, in combination with the other two elements in which Roberts uses in his essay, second point of person draws the reader into the essay by referring to them.

In the essay "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words", the author sets the mood by stating, "It's Friday afternoon, and you have almost survived another week of class" (Roberts, n.d., para. 1). By using this type of descriptive language, all college students, the author's intended audience, can relate to anticipating the weekend, and a break from the stresses of college coursework. What college student has not felt that end of the week drag? By speaking directly to the reader, second-person point of view, the author, Paul McHenry Roberts, establishes an intimate connection. As I was reading this essay, I felt that Roberts wrote this essay for me exclusively. This technique really makes his point stand out, and the writing lessons he wrote about stick out in my mind. Furthermore, Roberts uses humor within the body of the essay as well, expanding the connection between himself and his audience. Roberts states, "All subjects, except sex, are dull until someone makes them interesting" (Roberts, n.d., “Why College Football Should Be Abolished”,...