Quality or Quantity: What Matters the Most?

When it comes to telling stories, the most important part of it is how it is told.  There are many different methods of telling stories including perspectives, writing methods, and vocabulary use.  However, there has been several disputes regarding what matters more when telling a story:  quality or quantity?  In my opinion, quality is a much more important topic as it helps the reader visualize the setting and interactions between everyone in the story.  The House on Mango Street, and several other topics including video games and movies and even politics play a great role in explaining what matters the most in telling a story.

The House on Mango Street is a great example of this topic as it has areas throughout the story that support both sides of the argument.  For instance,  when they talk about the time her mama got her a new dress they use lots of detail to describe  how it looked as it can be seen in the quote in the chapter Chanclas page 46:

“It’s me-Mama, Mama said.  I open up and she’s there with bags and big boxes, the new clothes and, yes, she’s got the socks and a new slip with a little rose on it and a pink-and-white striped dress.  What about the shoes?  I forgot.  Too late now.  I’m tired.  Whew!”

This writing style is special as it allows you to picture the entire event with a limited amount of wording, thus letting the author tell his story quickly but efficiently.  As a result, this makes quality more important in this situation rather than quantity.  Another time in the story that has the same role as this one is when she describes the condition of her dying aunt and how much it had changed in the chapter Born Bad on page 59:

“Hard to imagine her legs once strong, the bones hard and parting water, clean sharp strokes, not bent and wrinkled like a baby, not drowning under the sticky yellow light.  Second-floor rear apartment.  The naked light bulb.  The high ceilings.  The light bulb always burning.”

By describing the scene like so, the author will be able to set the scene for readers to imagine in their minds.  As a result, this quote also promotes quality due to how without it, scenes can’t be set in stories for readers to imagine.  This kind of use of the quote is also seen when Esperanza is interacting with Elenita in the kitchen in the chapter Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water on page 63:

“But we stay in the kitchen because this is where she works.  The top of the refrigerator busy with holy candles, some lit, some not, red and green and blue, a plaster saint and a dusty Palm Sunday cross, and a picture of the voodoo hand taped to the wall.”

Although it seems as if quality was used the most in this situation, there are actually some points in which quantity takes the lead.  For instance, the author of The House on Mango Street uses quantity to display a set of actions that had been done in a short amount of time in the chapter Our Good Day on page 16:

“People on the bus wave.  A very fat lady crossing the street says, You sure got quite a load there.  Rachel shouts, You got quite a load there too.  She is very sassy.  Down, down Mango Street we go.  Rachel, Lucy, me.  Our new bicycle.  Laughing the crooked ride back.”

With the use of quantity in the some of the right locations, the author is then able to describe the actions that had occurred on the girls’ bike ride while at the same time allowing the reader to picture it.


Other than being in literacy, the conflict between quantity and quality have also existed in the media including video games and movies and even politics.  For instance, an article regarding Trump by Viet Thanh Nguyen talks about how,

“We are all storytellers of our own lives, of our won American Identities.  I want my son to rise to the challenge of fighting to determine which stories will define our America.  That’s the choice between building walls and opening hearts.  Rather than making America great again, we should help America love again.”

This supports quality as he asks for everyone, whom he claims to be storytellers themselves, to work together and love one another again, using Trump and details regarding Trump to push for support in helping America love again.  Through this belief that the quality of how each person matters, the author Viet is sure to get people in his support.  Following this excellent article is a great example regarding quality in the movies is the movie Finding Dory as they use details in artwork to tell the story of,

“The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.” -IMDb

This is a great example of quality due to how quality gave the characters in the movie life and allowed the story to be told without any stops.  In addition, quality as gave the movie a wide range of color along with a great plot, thus resulting in the movie receiving great reviews.  Another perfect example that fits the example of quality is the movie Pacific Rim which tells the story about how,

“As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.”

With a great plot and spectacular graphic effects, the movie is told with lots of suspension with its quality being its main source of success as the movie had a small cast, but a great amount of detail.  The final source I present in regards to the use of quality is the game Battlefield 1 which IGN claimed,

“The crude, archaic charm of World War I’s weaponry lends unique personality to Battlefield’s already strong first-person shooting.”

This is due to how much detail was pushed into the game, which took place in World War 1 as the creators of the game wanted it to be as realistic as possible for people to not only understand the hardships of war, but also admire the quality of the game in both its plot and its visual detail.  Although quality played a major role in the entertainment industry, quantity has sometimes emerged from the bottom in a way that would make them stand out more than games with a lot of quality.  One example is the game Overwatch, which IGN described as:

“Overwatch does a great many things well, but above all else, its success is built on the backs of its many excellent characters. It’s fitting that the main menu is dominated by one of them at all times; their diverse appearances, origins, and personalities are all laid bare with every pose they strike.”

This quantity for entertainment has been an exception due to how the entire game is set up with each character, although having a small role and storyline behind their origins, would be able to do greater things as a team.  This resulted in a lot of popularity with Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of Overwatch, having major success in this endeavor.  All in all, quality reigns over quantity in all situations, but if the cards are played right, then quantity is sure to win the conflict and take over the reins as the main source of storytelling.


Trump is a Great Storyteller.  We Need to Be Better. by Viet Thanh Nguyen of New York Times

Finding Dory by IMDb

Pacific Rim by IMDb

Battlefield 1 by IGN

Overwatch by IGN


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