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Common App Essay - Translation from Chinese to Me


Fallon 1 / 2 2  
Oct 28, 2020   #1
I feel like my intro part is a bit long and impersonal at times while my conclusion is too cheesy. Any thoughts?
There's also a 650 word count while my essay is a bit over 700 words, so if there are any suggestions on which part to cut, I would appreciate it!

(I also might pick the last prompt of the common app, but not too sure yet.)

I discovered Chinese novels



When I got tired of English novels with their complicated sentence structures and advanced words, I discovered amateur translations of Chinese novels. To be honest, any long term reading of these stories would make English seem like incomprehensible jargon. There wasn't much to love about these novice translations and I thought a few days would be enough for me to forget about them and move on. I created an account to bookmark ones I'd started and before I knew it, my library grew until I had hundreds of these translated novels luring me in with the charm of a different writing style.

I indulged in stories regaling robots, dynasties, entertainment stars, and fantasy martial arts. I couldn't dig myself out of my self-made growing hole as I continued adding books to my collection. The deeper the hole, the more uneasy I felt. My classmates would gather together, discussing what books they read, which was their favorite. They didn't have to say anything--I already knew they were referring to English novels. I didn't think anyone would understand how I felt about my poorly-edited translated novels, and my apprehension of others' opinions led me to hide my obsession with "I don't have a favorite novel--because I loved all of them." My longing to share plagued me, but I felt like I couldn't say anything about it even if it was always on my mind.

Encountering racist and xenophobic works weren't rare, especially from lesser-known Chinese authors, but this particular novel hit me personally. All the knowledge the author used was inaccurate, clearly following faulty generalizations and negative news from biased media. I wanted to just tell her the generalizations she was referencing might not have mattered to her, as she only used it to further the plot, but it mattered to me. Pushing past paragraphs of slander, I kept reading, but as my anger built, I had to take breaks every few chapters to calm down.

I had tried to think about anything--anything at all to pour a glass of water over the raging fire burning in my heart. My mind wandered everywhere, but I couldn't stop myself from going back to the harsh words that were used and I realized I was exactly like that author I despised. I made the people around me out to be judgemental villains while I had felt suppressed. But I wasn't, not by them at least. I had suppressed my own opinion, my own ideas because I didn't want to be more familiar with them and what they actually thought; I had wanted others to listen to me as if they were a statue, not a person. I never ended up finishing the book.

Pushing my insecurities aside, I wanted to let people know. I wanted to tell my friends about my library of Chinese novels--about the me that I've been hiding. I wanted to be sincere to my friendships that lasted while I had been putting a mask on.

My sister knew first. I casually brought it up in a conversation as if it was nothing big and moved on, not letting her dwell on what I just said. As I increased the frequency of "translated Chinese novels" when talking, I became aware she didn't even care. Something that seemed like such a big deal to me didn't matter much to her and as I slowly understood, I gradually opened up. I started mentioning it to my friends and if they asked what I was up to, I no longer said "nothing" but "reading Chinese novels." Quite honestly, they cared more about how long I studied for the next test rather than my obsessive pastime.

Their casual attitude allowed me to accept that the majority of the time I had unfounded anxiety over others' opinions, that was all it was: unfounded. My newfound understanding allowed me to fully join conversations, contributing my thoughts and ideas previously deeply hidden by my fear of judgment, and it allowed me to be more than the introverted wallflower; it allowed me to be the still introverted, but outspoken and more open-minded thinker.

So, I can now confidently say that my favorite novels include The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Mulberry Song by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang.

Holt [Contributor] - / 9,735 3072  
Oct 28, 2020   #2
Which prompt are you responding to? I am not sure about the relevance of your response or which parts of your essay to adjust because you forgot to include the prompt or a representation of the prompt prior to presenting your response essay. Anyway, I will do my best to review your work, based on what I have in front of me.

The response seems to split into 2 different discussion points towards the middle. The first part, deals with an interest in reading, the second, is about racism. Why the sudden u-turn in terms of discussion topics? What were you aiming to do that created the split?

Honestly, I found myself highly confused as I read your essay. There seems to have been a personality change towards the end in terms of your character as well. Is that something the prompt requires you to present? The essay needs to be more focused. It is presenting scattered discussions that do not really gel well to create an interesting and cohesive discussion presentation. It is unfortunate that you did not post the prompt, I could have given you more targeted advice regarding how to improve the presentation if you had included the prompt in the post.


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