Consider: Whenever he was so fortunate as to have him near him a hare that had
been kept too long, or a meat pie made with rancid butter, he gorged himself
with such violence that his veins swelled, and the moisture broke out on his
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Samuel Johnson”
1.) What effect does the detail( the spoiled hare, the rancid butter, the
swollen veins, the sweaty
forehead) have on the reader?
2.) How would the meaning of the sentence be changed by ending it after
It makes me think
that he is poor or homeless and has no other food that he can
that he has not taken a shower in a long time, and that he is very
You would think that he was
spoiled and want insane.
Apply: Write a sentence describing
someone with disgusting eating habits. It
must be one,
correct sentence; and it must contain at least three vivid
Consider: An old man, Don Tomasito, the baker, played the tuba. When he blew
into the huge mouthpiece, his face would turn purple and his thousand wrinkles
would disappear as his skin filled out.
- Alberto Alvaro Rios, “ The Iguana
The first sentence is a general statement. How does the second enrich
and intensify the first?
2.) Contrast the second sentence with the following.
When he blew the tuba, his face turned purple and his cheeks puffed out.
Which sentence more effectively expresses an attitude toward Tomasito? What is
that attitude and how is it communicated?
You would just know that he played
the tuba and he baked, and his name.
you would never
know that he was actually trying to play the tuba.
The first sentence because you don’t have
the visual of his wrinkles in the second.
someone jumping over a puddle. Your first sentence should be
stating the action simply. Your second sentence should clarify and
intensify the action through detail. Share your sentence with a partner.
Consider: CHARLEY(to WILLY): Why must everybody like you? Who liked J.P.
Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher. But with
his pockets on he was very well liked. Now listen, Willy, I know you don’t like
me, and nobody can say I’m in love with you, but I’ll give you a job because –
just for the hell of it, put it that way. Now what do
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
1.) Who was J.P. Morgan? What
is a Turkish bath? What picture comes to
mind when someone
is said to look like a butcher? How do these details
to the point Charley is trying to make?
2.) How would the passage be different if Charley said J.P. Morgan would
look like a baker in a Turkish bath?
I think that J.P Morgan was a wealthy man that everybody wanted
to be. The Turkish bath is a term used when you are trying to say that everybody is the same when they are not dressed but
then when everybody is dressed they can tell who is wealthy and who is not. “a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher.”
This is saying that is he wasn’t dressed he would be a normal person who has a normal job like a butcher. Whne I think
of a butcher I think of a man who is fat and carries a knife and meat in his hands.
It would make him come out to be a normal person.
Apply: Think of someone famous and powerful. Use detail to create an
unflattering but accurate description of the physical appearance of this famous
person. Model your description on Miller’s description of J.P. Morgan. Share
your description with a partner.
Consider: To those who saw him often he seemed almost like two men: one the
merry monarch of the hunt and banquet and procession, the friend of children,
the patron of every kind of sport; the other the cold, acute observer of the
audience chamber or the Council, watching vigilantly, weighing arguments,
refusing except under the stress of great events to speak his own mind.
Churchill, “ King Henry VIII,” Churchill’s History of the
English- Speaking People’s
1.) Churchill draws attention
to the contrasting sides of Henry VIII
How is the impact of this sentence strengthened by the order of
2.) What is Churchill’s attitude toward Henry? What specific details
reveal this attitude?
you one point of view about Henry the VIII and then shortly after it
states the contrasting view.
It shows that
he has more than one personality in “he seemed almost like two
men” and he has a cold shoulder toward Henry.
Think of someone you know who has two strong sides to his/her
Using Churchill’s sentence as a model, write a sentence which
captures – through detail – these two sides. Share your sentence with a