Deep Observation Assignment: Eleven Examples

Melanie

Joomi Park

She loosened the neckline of her gray hoodie before picking up her spoon for another rich mouthful of Japanese katsu curry. She knew she shouldn’t be eating past six to keep her promise of a healthier diet, but she had already broken so many of her New Years resolutions that this one felt just as harmless. Besides, she felt like if she didn’t get food inside of her right that minute, she would deflate into a pile of gunk. Every time she put down her spoon, thoughts of the midterms and finals she had to study for, the never-ending calls from her overprotective mother that she had to pick up, and the rude, good-for-nothing customers she had to cater to flooded her mind. And so she frowned, and ate, and ate and for once she felt in control of her life, like her food could solve all her problems.

But of course, it always hit her, how pitiful she must look to other people. Melanie Tubbs—a young, 20-year-old girl sporting a matching set of gray sweatpants and a hoodie, eating alone next to a heart-eyed couple, and staring at the chair in front of her, all on a Friday night. She noticed a group of girls in the corner, and the Asian one with brown hair kept looking up at her every so often. “I bet she thinks she’s better than me. I don’t need her pity,” she thought spitefully. Melanie tuned the girl out and let her mind wander. Soon she envisioned herself in a dramatic movie scene. The whole thing would take place in this very restaurant, and it would tell the tale of love, drama, and breakup. All she’d have to do is sit there and say a few different lines each time. Now that’d be the life. She wanted to laugh but she didn’t want to seem crazy, so she sat there in silence the whole time. Her spoon scraped the plate, indicating that her food stress session was over. She wondered if there was anything good about her moving to the city for school. Would she even get anywhere when it seemed like so many of her peers already knew what they were doing? She frowned and asked for the check. Her movie idea didn’t seem too funny anymore, so she paid and she frowned. At least her stomach was full.

 

Discussion Questions

  • Why would somebody want to read this piece (the “Who cares?” factor)?
  • Can you clearly identify the author’s intention for the piece?
  • How well does the author support the intention of the piece? Cite specific details that support or take away from the author’s intention.
  • Is there information missing from this piece that would make its intention clearer? What else would you like to know?
  • Does the author portray herself as a round character? How does she do this?
  • Do you trust the author of this piece? Why or why not?
  • How clearly does the author establish a sense of setting/space in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • How clearly does the author establish characters other than the self in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • Did you learn anything new from reading this piece? If so, what?
  • Are there particular passages with engaging language/description that stood out to you? Describe the appeal of these passages.
  • Would you read more writing from this author? Why or why not?

 

License

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Melanie by Joomi Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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