Place Paragraph

Using “At the Subway Station” as your inspiration, write a precise and succinct one-paragraph description of a place (about 300-350 words).

When choosing a subject (your place)…

  • Choose a place that you know well enough to write well—a place that you can visualize and describe with sensory detail (see, touch, hear smell, feel).
  • Choose a place that is especially meaningful—either in a positive or negative way—where some important event or moment—small or large—has happened. Or choose a place that simply bears some significance to your daily life.
  • Choose a “small” place. Not Pennsylvania, not Paoli, but the Paoli train station waiting area. Not Conestoga HS, not the music hallway, but the chorus room. Consider your “ladders of abstraction” and zoom in on a smaller space to describe in great detail (for example, I might choose to write about sitting in the driver’s seat of my mini-van). 🙂

Decide on what tone you would like to convey about your place. What is it about this space that made it worth noticing for you—made it worth writing about?  What does this place mean to you? Choose details and use diction that convey this tone.

Look at the images of subway stations below. Notice how the photographer’s choices determine the tone or message conveyed in each image (click to enlarge).

What is your attitude toward your place, your message?

When writing…

Review what we discussed about the paragraph.

Think of your paragraph as a “compact essay.”

Consider UNITY—What is your main idea and how do all the sentences in the paragraph contribute to this idea? Consider COHERENCE—In what order are the sentences arranged that make the most logical sense? Consider DEVELOPMENT—What types of examples, details, facts, explanations do you include? Are they enough to fully develop your main idea?

For more inspiration, consider this excerpt for Alfred Kazin’s essay about his Brookville home or this excerpt from Sara Tohamy (CHS Class of 2016 and former AP Lang’er) about her grandparents’ backyard. We will look at both of these excerpts tomorrow in class as well.

Rough draft due Thursday, 10/15.


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