HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

Buck is a dog who grew up in sunny San Diego, California, but suddenly finds himself thrust into the frigid world of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon Territory, Canada, in the late 1890s. You can read about him in Jack London’s The Call of the Wild.

Here’s Buck and his first encounter with . . . well, I’ll let you figure it out:

At the first step upon the cold surface, Buck’s feet sank into white mushy something very like mud. He sprang back with a snort. More of this white stuff was falling through the air. He shook himself, but more of it fell upon him. He sniffed it curiously, then licked some up on his tongue. It bit like fire, and the next instant was gone. This puzzled him. He tried it again, with the same result.

High School Writing Prompt -- The classics can teach us much about writing. This example from Jack London's The Call of the Wild shows how to use the senses and reactions in descriptions.By now you know that Buck is experiencing snow for the first time.

Notice that Jack London gives you more than one sense in this passage, and he also gives you Buck’s reactions to this new phenomenon. Some of them overlap:

Sight: white
Taste: bit like fire
Touch/feel: cold, mushy, bit like fire
Reactions: sprang back, snorted, shook himself, sniffed, licked, he was puzzled

The senses and Buck’s reaction really put us in the story. We can see the dog experiencing snow for the first time and feel his frustration.

Now it’s your turn: Write a short paragraph describing an animal encountering something for the first time. Use at least two senses and one reaction.

Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Photo: graphicstock.com
Image credit: Sharon Watson

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