"Descriptive Essay": Need opinion

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Well-Known Member
May 25, 2004
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I wrote this for my college class. I was wondering what you all thought about it. The essay was supposed to be a descriptive essay based on a photograph. Let me know what you think, please.
“Descriptive Essay”

Rugged and old, a bear holding a heart leans next to a worn tattered quilt a heart-like creature sits on. At the base of the quilt, a bunch of peach and yellow colored roses, a piece of paper, pens and pencils and a couple of books find their place. Next to these books, a turtle neck shirt rest next two balls of yarn. Next to the yarn is a white bear that seeks guidance. On top of the quilt lays a picture of my great grandmother who I affectionately called my Gram.
It has almost been two years since my Gram passed away, though her memories live on deep in my being. The items in the picture are meaningless to most people. However, they are more than just items to me. Each of the items, unique in character, has its own story.
Perhaps one of the items I have had the longest in that picture is a Little Golden Book entitled Thumbelina. This worn book, my childhood favorite, is the first book my Gram gave to me. To me, it was the beginning of my ability to read and to understand my world a little better. When I was younger, I would stay over my Gram’s apartment for the night. Before we would go to bed, my Gram and I would always read together. We would make a night of it. One night, I remember that we were reading a joke book. On one of the pages had a joke that went like so:
“Mississippi is a long word. Right? How do you spell ‘it’?” The person would start spelling “m-i-s-s.” Then the other person would shout out, “Nope! ‘I-t’!” After that night, I would always tell that joke to my Gram. And she would always start to spell “m-i-s-s.”
The most worn, but most loved, item in the picture is the quilt. My Gram hand stitched each piece on with love and care. I have slept with that quilt since I can remember. When I was younger, that quilt brought me so much joy. The patterns of the little boys and girls, the stars and the sunrises and the butterflies just amazed me. Today, the quilt brings me warmth and comfort when I need it. There are no words in the world that can fully and accurately describe what it means. All that I can say is that love transcends death and time.
The pens, pencils, and books represent my Gram’s encouragement for me. My Gram was my biggest fan of my writing. She gave me encouragement when I needed it the most. When ever I was upset, she told me to go write because I wrote better that way. I never knew how big of a fan she was until recently. I was in my parents’ room
doing something for them when I noticed a shoe box. Inside this shoe box was an envelope that my Gram had written my name on. Inside were duplicates of the articles I wrote, all neatly folded in half. News print normally ages with time. These articles looked like they had been cut out of today’s paper.
The worn bear, the heart-like creature and the white bear all represent the values my Gram taught me: love and fairness, friendship and harmony. They represent the values I told true today. They represent the folly and dreams of my childhood. They represent trust and compassion. The balls of yarn represent the curiosity of my childhood.
The shirt represents one’s ability to comfort loved ones after their death. More specific, it represents the comfort I felt after her death on October 19, 2002. When I went to my Gram’s funeral, she was wearing a shirt similar to that one. I believe in angels (spirits as some people call them). Either way, I was crying really bad when I felt familiar arms wrapped around me. I looked around. No one was there. I turned to go away. I looked to my left and there was my Gram standing looking at me wearing that very shirt.
The roses represent the love people felt for my Gram. Upon her death, the funeral home was packed with flowers of all sorts. One particular flower caught my eye. It was a peace rose: my Gram’s favorite flower. This rose’s petals were delicate, just like the balance between life and death. It was also beautiful like my Gram’s life. It represented hope that the pain of losing her would ease up. It represented everything about my Gram: her struggle with heart problems since the age of 17, the painful miscarriages she endured, the death of her first husband and her stepson and her strength to overcome all of it.
The piece of paper holds my Gram’s final message to everyone she knew. It is a message that I cannot, still to this day, read without shedding a tear. Her message signified the end of her life. Her message signified an ending of a chapter in my life and a beginning of another. Her message meant that I had to finish growing up to be the woman that she wanted me to be. Those powerful words on that paper meant that although she would not be there physically with me, she would be there in my thoughts and memories.
Everyday, I think of my Gram. As I lay under the worn quilt, I am comforted. I look at my books and I am encouraged. When I look at the roses, I see my Gram’s smile and feel her tender hands. Looking at her shirt, I am reminded that love knows no boundaries. It knows no life or death. When I pick up a pen, I am encouraged by her loving words. Picking up the worn bear, I feel her arms embracing my being. When I read her final message, I am reminded of who I was and who I have become. There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel the urge to cry out to her, to tell her of my love for her, to tell her how much I miss her, to spill out my heart and soul to her. There is not a single day.

My Gram’s final message
When I'm gone, release me, let me go;
I have so many things to see and do.
Don't tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you love.
You can only guess how much that
You gave me in happiness.
I thank you for your love you each have shown.
But it is time I travel alone.
So grieve a while for me, grieve you must;
Then let your grief be comfort by trust.
It's only for a little while we must part.
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I'll come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near.
If you listen with your heart, you'll hear
All my love around you soft and clear.
And then when you must come this way alone,
I will greet you with a smile and a
Speaking only in terms of structure and flow:

The first sentence is a little bumpy. To be a grabber it must flow easily within itself as well as leading to the next sentence. You have seven words in which to win or lose a reader.

Several paragraphs start with "the". If the point is to draw attention to these things one by one, consider setting them off with "The XXX: " with a colon. The option here is to forcefully redicrect attention. If ytou'd rather have smooth flow instead, start some paras differerntly.

As far as content, it was written from the heart. Nobody in the world can have a valid comment against it.

The centuries of classic art
pale before words from the heart.
Your essay seems very nice. This is a bit different than the engineering technical writing I am accustomed to on the job, but you have written a very poetic and touching piece.

Your memories and affection come through strongly in your writing. Most of your prose is easy to read. My only caution is to make careful note of complex sentence structures, and to use them only where absolutely necessary. Remember that you will keep your reader closer to your written thoughts if you make the steps small and simple.