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English 4 lesson 80:Were the detailed descriptions of the people around the two main characters equally important in the two stories?

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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving and Weems on Washington by Mason Locke Weems are two literary works that offer detailed descriptions of the people around their respective main characters. The question of whether these descriptions are equally important in both stories is a complex one, requiring an examination of the two works and the characters within them.

In The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, the main character is a fictional persona created by Irving to narrate a series of short stories and essays. While Geoffrey Crayon himself is not extensively described, many of the characters he encounters throughout the book are. For example, in the story “Rip Van Winkle,” the titular character is described in great detail, from his “long, loose, rustic garments” to his “lackadaisical air” and “bushy beard.” Similarly, in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” both the schoolteacher Ichabod Crane and his romantic rival Brom Bones are given detailed physical descriptions, as well as insight into their personalities and motivations.

Weems on Washington, on the other hand, is a biography of the first President of the United States, George Washington. As such, the main character is a real historical figure rather than a fictional one. Nevertheless, Weems also provides detailed descriptions of the people around Washington, particularly his family and close associates. For example, he describes Washington’s mother Mary as “the very picture of good health and good nature,” and his wife Martha as “exceedingly fine-looking” with a “sweetness and gracefulness of manner.”

So, are these detailed descriptions equally important in both works? In some ways, yes. Both Irving and Weems use descriptions of characters to create a vivid sense of time and place in their respective narratives. Irving’s descriptions of Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane help to establish the rural, somewhat isolated setting of the Hudson River Valley in the late 18th century. Weems’ descriptions of Washington’s family and friends, as well as the social and political context of the time, help to paint a picture of the young nation in its formative years.

However, there are also significant differences between the two works when it comes to the importance of character descriptions. In The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, the characters themselves are often the focus of the stories. Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane are both memorable characters in their own right, and their physical descriptions help to bring them to life in the reader’s imagination. By contrast, in Weems on Washington, the focus is more on the events and accomplishments of Washington’s life than on his personal qualities. While Weems does provide detailed descriptions of Washington’s family and friends, these descriptions are secondary to the overall narrative of Washington’s life.

In conclusion, while both The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon and Weems on Washington make use of detailed character descriptions, the importance of these descriptions varies between the two works. In Irving’s book, character descriptions are often integral to the stories themselves, helping to create memorable and vivid characters. In Weems’ biography, character descriptions are used primarily to provide context and background information for the main subject of the book.

Thanks for reading this essay! I hope you enjoyed it or learned something new. I’ll be posting more soon and have a blessed rest of your day!

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