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'African-American men swayed' - UW Cultural Difference Essay


tobeJames 3 / 11  
Dec 7, 2009   #1
Prompt: Describe an experience of cultural difference you have observed. What did you learn from it?

Impersonal was the only word that could describe the sensation. Whether it was the general size of the city, the hoards of the teeming population, or the discrete interaction I shared with a speechless taxi driver, the thoughts and emotions of New York appeared unvoiced. Any attempted connections were left unhinged. I could go so far as to theorize that the environment was acting as a drain on the population. Any questions I potentially posed, were questions these working people were too busy to answer. As I wandered through the towering edifices and shrunk beneath the blinding lights and advertisements of this city that would not stop to acknowledge my presence, all I could think was that I must have come from a place far away from here. On our last day, my friend and I chose to rest our weary feet on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum among a small crowd of other tourists. Truthfully, the melody is what brought us in. Four African-American men swayed back and forth, singing beautifully about love to the ears of their intent audience. The concept of music weaving itself between the seams of a seemingly detached society was provided a sense of tranquility. Through the eyes of these men was reserved the message of hope and compassion for humanity. Through their joined voices, I was admitted a passage into the authentic soul of this city that before, impressed me as foreign and far off. The vulnerability I was being exposed to was new and refreshing. Ultimately, it became apparent that even within the crowded confines of this metropolis, people were making an effort to connect across the emotional divide that I frequently encountered on my trip.
Mustafa1991 8 / 373 4  
Dec 7, 2009   #2
"was"

Impersonal was"

Do you realize how awkward that sounds? Impersonal can't even describe a sensation while we're on the matter. Lose the thesaurus and find a compass.
OP tobeJames 3 / 11  
Dec 7, 2009   #3
Do you realize how unhelpful that comment was? Your attempt at satire is illogical. I knew where I was in my essay. You sound pretentious and I'm sure you think you're above some actual constructive criticism. Thanks!
Mustafa1991 8 / 373 4  
Dec 7, 2009   #4
Ok, maybe a ghostwriter instead becase you do seem to have a general idea, it's just the technique (direction/way) which is lacking.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 8, 2009   #5
Well, it looks interesting and nice if you put quotes around it:
"Impersonal" was the only...

What was the discreet interaction with the taxi driver? I'm intrigued! Hmm.. maybe discreet is not the word that captures your intended meaning.

Okay, how about this:
"Impersonal" was the only word to describe the feeling in the air.
or
"Impersonal" is the only word to describe the atmosphere in New York City.

I think you should divide this into a few paragraphs for good organization.
OP tobeJames 3 / 11  
Dec 9, 2009   #6
Thank you for some appreciated criticism!
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Dec 10, 2009   #7
I really like this! I found a few small things though;

...between the seams of a seemingly detached society was provided a sense of tranquility.

Through the eyes of these men was reserved the message of hope and compassion for humanity.
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 11, 2009   #8
"Whether it was the general size of the city, the hoards of the teeming population, or the discrete interaction I shared with a speechless taxi driver, the thoughts and emotions of New York appeared unvoiced."

First of all, "hoards" should be "hordes"- wrong homonyms can be a rather embarrassing mistake. You could just get rid of "hoards/hordes" entirely and say "the teeming population" instead, which might fit better. Also, "discrete" is generally spelled as "discreet", although you might be able to get away with your unorthodox spelling if you're British or Canadian ("It's not a misspelling, it's just a regional preference! At least we're on the metric system!" I get that all the time). And I'm not exactly sure if discreet is the right word- is this some under-the-table transaction with a taxi driver that requires your discretion? And to me, "speechless" implies a feeling of surprise or astonishment. Even if you mean "speechless" as in "mute", was the taxi driver really mute? Or just unwilling to speak to you? Or simply brusque? Try refining your diction throughout to give a better sense of what you're trying to convey.

Otherwise, despite the aforementioned flaws in diction (it's not a huge deal, it just makes your writing sound awkward and unnatural at times) and occasional structural issues, as has been mentioned above regarding your first sentence, your essay addresses the prompt fairly well. I think it's an adequate submission for UW, although it could be much improved with just a little bit more work.


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