Open Strong: A Model

Travel Deprivation in a Pandemic

Instructor’s Note: What follows is a perfectly fine Open Strong paragraph for an essay devoted to exploring the harm done to our psychologies by depriving us of even the promise of traveling any time soon.

The deprivation of travel has damaging effects to the human mind. When most of the world shut down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, people were not able to leave their homes for an indefinite amount of time. This caused many people to experience negative effects such as anxiety and depression since they could not leave their homes and had to be socially distant from everyone else. People cannot travel anywhere to escape their stressful and busy lives and they are unable to receive the benefits of traveling. As a result of depriving someone of travel, the human mind becomes unhealthy.

Instructor’s Note: What follows NOW is a deconstruction and reconstruction of the paragraph to improve its impact and rhetorical strength by 

  1. Eliminating broad generalizations and abstract language.
  2. Replacing weak subjects and verbs with specific subjects and robust active verbs.
  3. Personalizing the paragraph with first-person-plural language (WE, not THEY).

The deprivation of travel has damaging effects to the human mind.

—Travel deprivation undermines human well-being.

When most of the world shut down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, people were not able to leave their homes for an indefinite amount of time.

—When the Coronavirus pandemic shut down the world, we were imprisoned in our homes with no promise of parole.

This caused many people to experience negative effects such as anxiety and depression since they could not leave their homes and had to be socially distant from everyone else.

—Confinement depressed us, social-distancing made us anxious.

People cannot travel anywhere to escape their stressful and busy lives and they are unable to receive the benefits of traveling.

—We lost the promise of travel and the freedom of movement that ordinarily lifts our spirits.

As a result of depriving someone of travel, the human mind becomes unhealthy.

—A year later, we’re all suffering the unhealthy condition known as travel deprivation.

ABSTRACTIONS ELIMINATED:
has effects / were not able / for an indefinite amount of time / many people to experience / negative effects / such as / they could not leave / had to be / they are unable to receive / the benefits of traveling / as a result of depriving / becomes

EMPHASIS ADDED:
Undermined / shut down / imprisoned / depressed / lost / lifts / suffering.
The more robust our verbs, the more our readers FEEL the power of our arguments.

PERSONALIZATION:
You may have been told in other writing classes to avoid the first person (I, we, us, our, etc), and for many types of writing, that is good advice. Here, where our product is the persuasive essay, the more we emphasize our unity with our readers the better. Travel deprivation doesn’t happen to “those people”; it happens to US when we’re locked down.

See the end product of eliminating abstractions, adding robust verbs and subjects, and personalizing your argument:

Travel deprivation undermines human well-being. When the Coronavirus pandemic shut down the world, we were imprisoned in our homes with no promise of parole. Confinement depressed us, social-distancing made us anxious. We lost the promise of travel and the freedom of movement that ordinarily lifts our spirits. A year later, we’re all suffering the unhealthy condition known as travel deprivation.

While the original paragraph was strong, and you may want to stand on the merits of such paragraphs, you should at least consider revising them if the examples of these changes impress you as worthwhile.

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in writing tips. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s