The Swamp


The Swamp Essay, Research Paper

The two passages concerning Florida s Okefenokee Swamp are both written to inform but are representative of two distinct styles of writing. What is most immediately striking is the contrast of concrete factual writing vs. emotion color and feeling.

The author of Passage 1 writes as if he were a natural scientist. The writing is clear, orderly, and has engaging description. It could be converted into material for an encyclopedia article or field guide; it is a factual descriptive analysis. The brusque beginning of Passage 1 immediately sets the tone of what follows: exact and correct writing that attends to every factual detail of the swamp. The author drives the reader in this encyclopedic style from lines 1 to 18. It is abruptly interrupted with a metaphoric phrase. Meandering channels of open water form an intricate maze. After this pause of one line of imagery, the author concludes the passage with seven literal lines. At the end the reader knows that alligators are present.

In Passage 2 the author feels strongly about this swamp. The voice is enthusiastic, honest, and sincere. The writing is infused with bold metaphors and abstract characterization of sensuous emotion, yet the ideas are presented with clarity. Though informed, the reader is so entertained by its passion, one is almost persuaded to be in this, hellish zoo of reverberating, screeching, and caterwauling. There are no unnecessary bumps or rough spots; the writing crackles with energy and its emotional momentum engages the reader from start to finish. With this author, the Okefenokee Swamp is a poetic expression.

There are two passages and two distinct styles of writing. In Passage 1: a well-written descriptive article of the swamp in the language of a naturalist. In Passage 2: a metaphorical characterization of the swamp in the language of a poet.

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