CUNY WriteSite CUNY WriteSite

Writing Projects » Key Words » Describe » CUNY Assignments

Here are some assignments from CUNY campuses that call for the use of description, or ask students to describe.

Bronx Community College
English 12: Freshman Composition
Ann Peters

Personal Essay: Most of us have an upsetting memory of another child who loomed larger than life when we were growing up, a person we envied or admired, feared or resented. It might have been a cousin, a sibling, someone from the neighborhood, or someone from school. This kind of relationship is the subject of Margaret Atwood's novel Cat's Eye, in which artist Elaine Risley is haunted by Cordelia, a tormenter and a friend. Describe in detail a person from your childhood who had this kind of intense effect on your life.

Your aim: to bring your childhood companion to life for the reader by using vivid details that really show us what he or she was like.

Your description should include the following:
  1. A basic thesis early in the essay
  2. Anecdotal illustration (narration)
  3. At least one conversation written as dialogue
  4. At least two metaphors/similes
The first draft will be reviewed by your workshop group. Your second and third drafts should be handed in directly to me.

Hunter College
Jack Hammond

Assignment: Write a paper on one of the following topics:

1. Describe an experience in which you came into contact with a society very different from the one you were most familiar with. What were the most important ways in which you were expected to behave differently than you were used to behaving? What happened that made you learn that you were supposed to behave that way?

2. Within your own society (that is, the one you grew up in, or one where you had lived for a long time and with which you were thoroughly familiar), describe a significant contact experience (one-time or prolonged) with members of a group whose social background was very different from yours. What expectations did you have of this group: did you assume that they were mostly like you or mostly very different from you? What was the most important thing you learned about them that was different from your expectations? What happened to make you change your expectations?

Papers must be typed, double-spaced, maximum of two pages.

College of Staten Island
Freshman History
Howard Weiner

Assignment: World War I brought forth an assortment of literary works related to the hopes and reactions of participating writers and intellectuals. This creates a dilemma for historians. At first blush it would seem that this core of trained observers and communicators would make things easy for those attempting to describe and explain the war, But primary evidence (the kind resulting from 'on the scene' diaries, observations, reports, etc.) is the product of the choices, mindsets, problems, and philosophies of the recorder. Each of you will be assigned one document. Read (1) the introductory material (2) the short description of the writer and (3) the document. Write a paragraph describing your writer's view of the war and your analysis of the writer's bias or predilection.

CUNY WriteSite
Search | Index | Guide | Introduction | Writing Projects | Writing for Exams
Grammar and Style | Net Library | Conversations | Campus Resources | Teachers and Tutors

© 2000 The City University of New York
All rights reserved.