I waited with them, with my hair in a ponytail and my notebook in hand, ready to dutifully take notes as instructed. What would I find in Walmart with these folks on a Saturday morning? After I grouped my notes, I created my body paragraphs around three basic categories: how the people looked, things they did, and how according to me they must have felt. I believe that part of our assignment was to put ourselves into someone's shoes, as to the feelings involved, as that's what I did later on in the essay.
Here's the body of my observation essay This is the original version, with only a few words tweaked for clarity. The biggest—well-most-noticeable--thing about the old people were their clothes. The women wore shirts with big flowery prints, paired with striped pants. The men wore striped pants, too—with un-tucked shirts. A bright green tie with a yucky yellow shirt.
The men wore hats—dressy little hats. Also, long athletic-looking socks with dressy shoes. Women wore big, gaudy jewelry and lots of makeup.
Bright red lipstick was common. There was an old guy with a black toupee, a woman with large, round knots on her legs. A woman at the grocery section had her lips pursed in concentration as she carefully looked over the fruits and vegetables. The men often have hands in pockets, playing with change.
Answer the "What is an Observation Essay" Question
They would wait for their wives, looking around at other people, at rambunctious toddlers. Most old people like little kids. They would smile at them, talk to them. Some of it made me sad. Like the woman who moved along pitifully slow, shuffling her feet—just scooting them along the floor. There was the man with bloodshot eyes, deep red around the edges, who looked right through me. And the old man—wide-eyes—looking lost, taking everything in.
I wonder how they feel. Some can barely get around. I watched an old man turn around. A little girl was staring at him, wide innocent eyes watching the way he walked, hunched over, his cane tapping the floor as he moved. The man seemed angry, with scrunched up face and narrowed eyes. Never seen an old man before?
2 Observation Essay Examples to Watch Closely
Shoo, kid! He hated the feeling, but he had felt it more and more lately. The girl was still there. Although he could hardly remember it anymore, he knew he had been young once, too. He had probably been like this little girl, staring at people, such as himself.
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Where appropriate, add details that appeal to the five senses. In my essay, I leaned heavily on what I saw. There was some detail as to what I heard, such as the dialogue or the jingling of the change in an old man's pocket. What else could I have included? Taste, touch, smell? These didn't seem to fit with the essay I was writing, but when any of the senses do fit in with an observation essay, it is helpful to include them.
If the observation was of food, for instance, taste, touch, and smell would definitely be an integral part of the observation. After you've written up your observations into essay form, end with a conclusion that leaves the reader with something significant to think about. What can you share about your observations? What changed you? How are you different as a result of this observation?
What will you take with you? Share that with your reader. My conclusion written as an eighteen-year-old girl was my perspective nearly thirty years ago. It's interesting for me to read it now, and it would be interesting in another thirty years to see how my perspective changes yet again. It must be hard. Some are so bitter and have even made me feel guilty for being young. With a little more experience, my eighteen-year-old writing self could have added a few more specific details, but, all-in-all, I believe she captured the basic idea of the observation essay.
Observation essays can be excellent learning experiences. I know that one was for me. If you're writing your own observation essay for a particular class, you will need to check with your instructor for the specific guidelines for that assignment.
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Don't include sentence fragments, as I did, unless your instructor allows them for effect. Fragments can be effective when writers know how to use them but are generally not encouraged in beginning writing courses where writers need to learn how to write in complete sentences before experimenting. If you're simply looking to improve your own creative writing, practicing observing and taking notes that you incorporate into your writing will definitely make your writing more interesting and creative.
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VirginiaLynne--Thanks for saying that. That means a lot coming from you. You write some awesome hubs on different aspects of English and writing. Good job in giving a concrete example that explains your tips. You have an eye for detail. Martie--You're right about each generation having their own challenges. So true! Thanks for the awesome comments. I remember when I were young my mother-in-law often irritated the heck out of me with a phrase like: "One day you, too, will be 50, and then you, too, will have aches and pains that will change your attitude. Each generation has their unique set of challenges to meet.
By now I have a pretty good idea what they are in old-age. Suzanne--Glad you enjoyed the hub. I think that observing different situations can add a lot to one's writing. This sounds like a completely different way to write an essay and a good way to get some real facts while observing what's going on. I enjoyed reading your hub and can agree I have observed older people also frowning and being frugal with money in my area too - poor darlings. Voted interesting! Thank, ChristyWrites! I appreciate the compliments about the hub.
Observations (Statements most readers would agree with)
You're right--these tips can help any writer. Interesting, Victoria! Your tips are very useful for anyone who needs to write this type of essay for school or wants to explore different types of writing for fun. Your hubs are very easy to follow and I appreciate that!
Steps to Writing an Observation Paper | Synonym
Great tips on how to write an observational essay. The more you observe and take notes, more the content to write. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and thanks for the compliment! I had such hopes and dreams back then!