ative Paragraphs”Seeing Rhetorically” Writing Exercise
My Roommate’s Bed – Positive
My roommate’s bed is spotless. She always has it made. Never is a single pillow ruffled; no sheets peek out from under the comforter. Over the summer, she and I decided to make animal print the dominant characteristic of our room. Although I stuck to zebra stripe, her bed linens incorporate every animal print imaginable. She chose a bed set that has small zebra print running the length. In between is a larger strip of dark leopard spots and a deep tan background. The two prints contrast each other as much as the zebras and leopards themselves, making it a discernable item that draws attention to itself. An overstuffed pillow sits in the right hand corner of the bed. It is of cheetah print with dark brown and black tones that greatly contrasts the brightness of the comforter. I, however, believe the fact that it clashes with the bedspread adds mystery: her bed would look like long stripes of zebra and leopard without this huge contrast of hues to divert the eye away from vertigo.
My Roommate’s Bed – Negative
My roommate’s bed is spotless. Her bed is always spotless considering she is never in it. Rarely has a single pillow been moved; no sheets peek out from under the stagnant comforter. Although we decided to make animal print the dominant characteristic of our room, it is hard to do this and still keep the idea of “taste” in tact. My side is stylish; the other side is tacky. The colors used in the comforter are loud and bright. Because the zebra stripes are small and the leopard print between them has such a contrast of color, the bed looks so busy that I am afraid it may jump up and attack at any moment. Then there is the pillow she insists matches her bed. The pillow is of cheetah print. And yes, there is a big difference between leopard and cheetah print (leopard print is solid dots while cheetah print is only an outline of color). When a person looks at her bed, the eye wanders to the insipid lack of color the cheetah print pillow offers. Compared to the bright colors, which is the only good thing, at the least, that the bed set has going for it, the cheetah pillow is the ugly, deformed M&M whose peanut is sticking out halfway, creating a bulge in one side that makes one throw it away rather than eat it.
My writing expressly conveys my meaning in a direct way. Although I did not start my paragraphs with, “My roommate’s tasteful bed is spotless because she is a clean person,” or, “My roommate’s bed is spotless because she never has a chance to mess up the ugly thing,” my meaning was implied. But it was not vaguely implied. By the second sentence in the negative paragraph, my reader knows why I have perceived her bed is always spotless. The first paragraph’s meaning is backed up in the second sentence, which implies she is a very tidy person.
The details I selected support each paragraph. In the positive paragraph, I made a point to describe how presentable the placement of objects on her bed is. I also tried to paint a picture of the comforter as if the reader was actually seeing it. The way I described it left a tinge of admirability, but just enough to allow the reader to decide on his or her own. Rather than implying the bright colors were pleasing to the eye as in the first paragraph, the negative paragraph was intended to lead the reader to believe the brightness of the comforter was too much and too busy to be attractive. The description of the pillow that “added contrast” in the first paragraph is now an eyesore.
The connotation in the first paragraph is of a positive idea. “Always” and “never” carries heavy meaning when describing how clean and well-made the bed is kept. “Contrast,” “discernable” and “incorporate” were used to show how a negative idea can be a positive outcome. But in the second paragraph, my connotation was much less subtle. “Always” and “never” were