By Selma Lagerlof

Concise Descriptions Edit

Often times people use excessive language to try and emphasize a point. Some works or pieces oversaturate readers with heavy, overdone, unnecessary, and some quite rather redundant, repetitive descriptions of the most nominal, base features. Sailing down the proverbial aqueduct without any visible means of navigation only at the cessation of your quest to find yourself with a vast plethora of superfluous information.


Selma L.

In other words, certain stories can cut back on the detail and still properly drive a point. “Rat Trap” servers as an example for this, cutting descriptions short while maintaining accurate enough descriptions for the readers to imagine the people and scenarios.

"The master blacksmith nodded a haughty consent" (66)Edit

           The word "haughty" works as a synonym to arrogant and snobbish. By saying haughty specifically, Selma allowed the readers to create the physical features of the blacksmith in their minds, guided mainly by a depiction of him as a snob. 

"His clothes were in rags, his cheeks were sunken, and hunger gleamed in his eyes." (64)Edit

This opening description of the beggar also allows plenty of room for imagination in the reader. Selma picks just enough information out to give the reader the vibe of the character and then lets the reader do the rest. In a way, this helps the reader focus on the story itself instead of the details of the characters. This may be on purpose to further highlight the moral and plot of her story. The lack of detail actually puts more emphasis on the message she would otherwise have to hide behind layers upon layers of extraneous detail (as some authors do).

Emphasis in ArtEdit

While many people try to pile on details in order to make their point, others follow in Selma's footsteps and emphasize their point. Most media today is either too full of detail or too cut and dry, whereas "Rat Trap" avoids detail but still tells a story alongside its moral. The place where emphasis really stands out is in art. When an artist wants their work to receive recognition and serve its purpose as art, they add contrasting elements to properly highlight their picture. Take this YouTube Banner for instance:

Bandicam 2014-03-18 14-39-42-096

Shofu's Banner

This banner on Popular PokeTuber Shofu's page shows the effectiveness of emphasis. The pieces he deems the foreground get borders, like his name Shofu, the creature on the right (Darmanitan) and the three pictures encased in silver borders. On top of that, his profile picture on the left has its own border to set it apart from the banner. The idea of layering in art to provide contrast and evidence work similarly to the layering of Selma's story, where she puts moral and plot in the foreground and keeps detail to a minimum.


This picture also uses emphasis, but not in the same clear-cut fashion. The idea behind the picture is clear enough, a building with a fence and some trees surrounding it. The main idea being the building. This painting has a blurrier style than the YouTube banner. In "Rat Trap," the moral of the story is very clear, but never directly stated. The blurred effects of this painting offer a similar style, where the picture itself is not a perfect representation of the "real life graphics," because of its stylization. Instead, the use of the light over the house in the center of the image acts as a way to emphasize the building and show its importance in the image.


Esaak, Shelley. "Emphasis." arthistory. Web. 18 Mat. 2014.

Harper, Douglas. "Haughty on" Web. 17 Mar. 2014.

Lagerlof, Selma. Rat Trap. Print.