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"America's grip on my shoulders" - my indoctrination of American culture, patriotism


Baeringer 1 / 11  
Nov 14, 2010   #1
This is my personal essay for Georgetown. I have not yet completed it and I am wondering whether or not to pursue completion. PLEASE tell me if I am on the right track! Honest (even if harsh) criticism is welcomed and encouraged!! The essay in its entirety is suppose to convey my indoctrination of American culture, my descent from patriotism and lastly my ascent back to patriotism. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO READ THIS! I REALLY APPRECIATE IT!

When I was small, I use to love her. She was all I knew; all I cared to know. Then early adolescence struck and I began to refute her; not let her hold me so tight. Her symbolic kisses upon my forehead no longer satisfied the craving they themselves had created. But later still, I let myself fall back in love. This time not blindly but with full awareness of her baggage. I held up a mirror and peered into it. She too was clay, subject to molding. She was America, and looking into the eyes of my reflection, she was only human.

I was born in 1993. Technically speaking, I am a Floridian, but my mother insists I only lived there for a couple of months so the label Philadelphian is a much better fit. But in either case, my mother and I could agree, I was most certainly American. And not only was I American, but my mother, my father, and my teachers and in retrospect, all of the influential figures of my childhood. I was drinking in as much America as I was watered down apple juice. The formalities of being an American citizen were quickly my own: the memorization of the Pledge of Allegiance, rising for our National Anthem, the colors of red, white and blue. I had unknowingly been drafted into Team America who played for the side of the constitution, democracy and capitalism.

Intelligence is the successor of ignorance. Before intelligence, we were all ignorant. In my years preceding high school, I would vouch I was thoroughly ignorant and thusly not aware of my ignorance, (the ironic paradox of ignorance.) This vindication can be supported through my acquaintance with one word: communism. Communism was first described to me as a system where everyone is equal. I thought that sounded a whole lot like a familiar system called democracy. But the inflection of my teacher's voice prompted me to think otherwise. This was no system to align myself with in fact it was something I should be against. That communism, for reasons unbeknownst to me, was some sort of figurative enemy. I was offended. Wasn't my public school education supposed to be unbiased? What was this? And I had an answer. An outrage. How dare I be subjected to predisposed opinions? This was, to me, a powerful example of my American indoctrination. And so my dissent from patriotism began as I began to loosen America's grip from my shoulders.
Benn_Myers 8 / 46  
Nov 14, 2010   #2
I like the metaphor that begins your essay, but I think it goes on long enough that it becomes a bit overwrought. I would try to show patriotism without falling into this sort of overly-dramatic personification of our country.

I really like your middle portion, starting with, "I was born in 1993" and ending with, "Democracy and Capitalism." Its light, clear, and humorous.

"Intelligence is the successor of ignorance. Before intelligence, we were all ignorant. In my years preceding high school, I would vouch I was thoroughly ignorant and thusly not aware of my ignorance, (the ironic paradox of ignorance.) This vindication can be supported through my acquaintance with one word: communism" This section of your essay is overly intellectual and has very little bearing on the prompt. I wouldn't analyze the nature of ignorance in this essay, you'd be better off just stating that you were ignorant and moving onto your main point.

But overall you're definitely on the right track. Keep writing and post the full thing here when you're done and I'll read it again.

Hope this helps!
OP Baeringer 1 / 11  
Nov 14, 2010   #3
Thank you so much! I'd really love for you to edit the full essay, your critique was very useful. I feel as though I am trapped using the metaphor as my whole introduction? Where should I stop the metaphor?
brownhopeful 2 / 6  
Nov 14, 2010   #4
keep the first paragraph it's fantastic scratch the second it comes off quite negative
as for what you would replace it with that's up to you
oh and great vocab. use
OP Baeringer 1 / 11  
Nov 14, 2010   #5
The negative is necessary because it illustrates my dissent from patriotism. What do you find to be extremely negative?

and also to Ben:

I suppose the reason to draw out the metaphor so long in the introduction is to sort of throw some sort of twist to the topic of the essay, ya smell me? When the admissions person is first reading the essay there won't be a forward announcing THIS ESSAY IS ABOUT AMERICA. With that in mind, what should be done to the introduction?
brownhopeful 2 / 6  
Nov 15, 2010   #6
Colleges don't want to read a negative essay.... I understand what you're trying to do but they're going to read that and be like who is this? esp. at Georgetown
Benn_Myers 8 / 46  
Nov 15, 2010   #7
I am not intimately familiar with Georgetown's application process, but didn't you say the prompt has to do with your descent and re-acceptance of patriotism? I think that they'll understand your essay and what its about with a lighter introduction. The metaphor isn't bad, its just a little overwrought for my tastes and I would consider trimming it down a little bit.
OP Baeringer 1 / 11  
Nov 15, 2010   #8
Oh no, its just a personal essay. My take on the personal essay is the patriot thing.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 25, 2010   #9
Her symbolic I don't think symbolic is the right word here... "symbolic" means they happen as symbols to signify something else...

Okay... this is excellent expository writing, and it flows along with a soothing rhythm. I also think that if you were able to write 20 pages this would amount to something that could really affect a reader deeply. But in a limited amount of space I don't think you can connect all these ideas together.

For example, look at the first sentence of every paragraph. They all seem like intro sentences for different essays. I know you are tying them all together later, but as the reader reads it is confusing.

Your problem is that you are a good writer, and good writers try to convey too much of what they are thinking... no, wait, that is not a trait of a good writer, but of a profound thinker. Profound thinkers try to convey too much... you should look at the number of paragraphs you are going to write and decide what might be a realistic amount of insight to convey. And try rewriting the first sentence of each paragraph so that they have some common thread... some word used in each for example, or so that they all refer to the same concept, which links all your paragraphs together.

:-)


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