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What is one important part of your neighborhood? Write a story that shows the character...

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barbiedot | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted September 3, 2013 at 9:39 PM via web

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What is one important part of your neighborhood? Write a story that shows the character of that aspect of your neighborhood.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 3, 2013 at 10:25 PM (Answer #1)

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This is an interesting idea and more complicated than it first seems because you have to demonstrate the character of the element (aspect ) you choose as being representative of your neighborhood. Obviously I cannot advise you about your neighborhood; however, I can give you some ideas which I am hopeful will prompt you to consider your neighborhood in a slightly different way.

First let us think about things which are--and are not--in a neighborhood and what that might say about the character of that neighborhood.

The first noticeable thing about a neighborhood are the houses. What is the "feel" of these houses (rich or poor) and how are they distinguished from one another--or are they not distinguishable at all? In my current neighborhood, for example, every house is different but they all have to have brick mailboxes with lantern-looking-lights on them. What connects or disconnects the houses from one another?

The streets in a neighborhood are either striking or not. So many neighborhoods kind of look the same that, when a neighborhood has tree-lined avenues or some other distinguishing feature, the streets become a kind of touchstone or hallmark both to those in the neighborhood and to those who visit.

In addition to the houses and the streets themselves, the lawns in a neighborhood are quite symbolic of a neighborhood. Their size (large or small), their condition (well manicured or weedy), their ornamentation (landscaping, flowers, statuary, playground equipment, water features), and their use (kids, pets, no kids). 

Every neighborhood is unique in some way; even the neighborhoods in which the homes/buildings are more alike than different have something which distinguishes them from others.

If I were charged with writing this assignment, I would write about a neighborhood from my childhood in which four of the houses )in a row) on my street had no fences separating the backyards. This long strip of play area was a terrific place for all of us to play football or soccer, to chase and catch lightning bugs, or play long games of tag. These yards were better than a playground because we could make them into whatever we wanted them to be and were free to be there almost as much as we wanted because we were so close to home. I have plenty of good stories which would show the character (friendly, fun, family) of that spot. The last time I went back to visit the old neighborhood, those houses all had fences up, a sure sign that the character of the neighborhood had changed.

For your narrative, consider a neighborhood you know well and think about what made/makes it so unique. If you cannot think of anything from your own life, consider the neighborhoods you have visited or been through which seemed to speak something about those who live there. 

When you write, remember that the opening lines of the story must be compelling.

[I]t will be to your benefit to create a concise and interesting introductory sentence. Doing so will also help establish your knowledge of the subject and keep you on track in the paragraphs that follow. 

Discover a story which people want to hear, and you will have no trouble writing it. 

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

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