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Description and Narration in Writing

Updated on October 7, 2016

Chapters 6 and 7 of Prose Models, which focus on description and narration, teach readers how to write with a purpose. Khaled Hosseini is a perfect example of an author who utilizes description and narration. Both of Hosseini’s novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, are set in his birthplace of Kabul, Afghanistan. Hosseini’s novels, although fiction, are derived from personal experiences of natives who he has met in his visits in Kabul. Through his novels Hosseini helps his readers envision the destruction and poverty that was brought about from the war in Kabul. Hosseini explicitly shows this by using all five senses in his writing. Narration plays an even larger role in Hosseini’s novels. Several decades pass in his novels allowing the reader to see how time changes a place, in addition to the sacrifices and obstacles the characters go through in order to adapt to the changes. Description and narration have a synergistic relationship in writing. One cannot narrate without using specific details to get the message through.

Chapter 7 of Prose Models features Esmerelda Santiago’s descriptive essay The American Invasion of Macun. Santiago’s purpose in this essay is to describe the cultural influence of Americans in the Puerto Rican city of Macun as well as in her own life. Santiago’s teacher, Miss Jimenez, preaches the importance of learning English to the class. Miss Jimenez also informs her students that it is imperative for them to attend the health promotion presentation by the Americans. Santiago’s purpose, including the health promotion on nutrition and hygiene, is to show the American way is the better way. For example, when one of the American presenters brought out a model of teeth one of the Macun woman comments on how ugly the white teeth and pink gums were. This signifies to the reader that oral hygiene is not important to their culture. The other was the diet the Americans presented to natives of Macun. The fruits and vegetables they presented as nutritious were not available as crops to grow in Macun. Also Santiago’s mother comments on how the American presenters should have given them a sack of rice and a bag of beans which would have fed their family for a month. But Santiago’s mother still included the bag of groceries that was given to them by the Americans as part of their diet. Santiago’s mother also encouraged her children to start brushing their teeth day and night. Santiago’s purpose in writing this descriptive essay was to show how American culture has influenced her way of living.


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 15 months ago from Queensland Australia

      An interesting read, Allison. Welcome to HubPages.