The professional work titled The Iguana in the Bathtubs Download The Iguana in the Bathtub by Anne Doten uses features of descriptive writing. As you read this work, consider these questions:

  1. What words, phrases, or lines are richest in showing rather than telling?
  2. Focus on this opening paragraph: What did you notice about the language? What word or punctuation patterns did you notice, and how do they affect the description overall? What words are surprising?
  3. Refer to the body paragraphs: What words create a powerful image? What do they make your picture?
  4. The writer, Anne Doten, begins the word “Dumpster” with a capital letter. What does it represent in this writing?
  5. Which words did Anne Doten use or could have used in the following sentences that imitate natural sounds and allow readers to hear the sound?
    • Iguanas started falling from the trees:
    • We rose early the next morning:
    • John opened the bathroom door:
    • We walked toward the tub:
    • John put the box in the dumpster:
  6. What are iguanas compared with? Why?
  7. What other comparison does the writer use? Why?
  8. Which transition words does Doten use to illustrate where the iguanas were located?
  9. The writer could have stopped after the first sentence and taken out all the following descriptions. With only 800 words to work with, why do you think she kept all the descriptions?
  10. Go to the concluding lines, where she says, “Some things are just beyond saving.” What does she mean? 
  11. What important lesson about life do you perceive in this work? Where do you think the work will go from here? Why might all this “showing” be important?

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