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Commonapp: Jack Sparrow vs Personal Experience


l3goals12 7 / 18  
Dec 12, 2009   #1
I just can't make my mind up about which one to choose.Could anybody please review my essays and tell me which one of the two is better?

I know it makes a lot to read and i'd really appreciate any kind of help on that. Thank you very much.
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you

One of the greatest fears of all parents is that their child goes missing. The anxiety caused, but more importantly the fear felt, by losing a loved one marks one's life. In the case of the child this is an even more traumatizing experience as his parents mean the entire world to him.

I was nine years old when such an incident occurred to me in a Singaporean commercial center. I was watching Winnie the Pooh on a giant screen and I was so engrossed in the film that I did not notice my parents had moved on to a different section of the shop. It was the late December period and the shop was packed with people looking for gifts. Some, like my parents, were even so taken up by that task that they forget their child behind. In any case the film, being played without sound, quickly bore me. Needless to say that when I turned away from the screen all I found was a sea of strangers which had no time for a lone stranded kid.

In a split second my pulse rate shot up, fear and stress gripped my body such that I almost passed out. I tried to maintain my calm and think rationally, but to no avail. I'd never been left on my own in an unknown environment, let alone in a country I'd been in for only two days. All sorts of scenarios passed through my head; I was living on the streets begging for food, I was sent to an orphanage by the Singaporean authorities and other improbable stories. I started searching around frantically. I thought I saw my parents three levels below...but it was only my eyes playing tricks. I saw a security officer and I wanted to ask him for help but I was too afraid of his reaction. Instead I walked in the opposite direction trying to fight back a feeling of complete helplessness. It was then that my mother saw me. I was immediately surrounded by my parents who started cajoling me.

That day I got both a shock and a revelation. I had always thought of myself as someone who was strong, who would be able to get himself out of any situation. . What a disillusion! I had been separated from my parents for only ten minutes yet I had been at a complete loss of what to do. Of course, I was still only a kid, but it has always been in my nature to ask more of myself than what was normally expected. Therefore, from that day onwards, I pledged to myself that I would strive hard to become a person who would be able to depend on no one but himself. That's why I see in adversity an opportunity to better myself. That's also why I am more determined than ever to attend university, because since that day I have been waiting for the opportunity to prove to myself that I can be an independent and responsible person.

Life is a long journey. Although I will have people, like my parents on whom I can count and who care for me, by my side during that journey, part of it I shall accomplish alone. I will forever remember that day at the commercial center as the first time I had to move on my very own and failed to do so. Yet each time I found myself having to overcome a difficulty on my own, I make it my duty to prove that the one failure at the commercial center is the exception which proves the rule.

Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

"What the Black Pearl really is...is freedom." Freedom...by all means a hard thing for me to come by, particularly those past two years. When I got into grade eleven, I was extremely happy by the prospect of at last being faced with a great academic challenge. I relished the thought of juggling with homeworks, extracurricular activities and increased responsibilities in my everyday life. Needless to say I got an increased workload, but that could practically sum up the essence of those last two years in school. It seemed that my peers were less and less interested by social life at school. The clubs we had formed as junior students would all have died out if it were not for incoming freshmen and the teachers still treated us with the kind of condescension that made me feel like we had been retrograded into a lower grade. Outside class hours it seemed that a general lethargy had gripped the whole of the senior students. It was a real nightmare and before my first semester was over I was already impatiently waiting to be freed from this boring life.

It was therefore a chance I happened to watch Pirates of the Caribbean one day. My favorite character is Captain Jack Sparrow. Although one might believe he is a lying eccentric pariah, he has certain deeply buried qualities which are visible in his small actions. Like me, Jack Sparrow is in search of new thrills, adventures and freedom from the routine of daily life. But unlike me, Jack does not wait for an adventure to befall him. He goes looking for it and more often than not he runs into trouble. As I have myself noted on certain occasions, foolhardiness can sometimes pay off. When I played Texas hold'em poker I was usually a very conservative player. It all changed with Jack. I no more hesitate to go all-in with nothing in hand, a bluff which has paid off one out of two occasions.

He leads an incredibly vivid life. As he puts it himself, his ship, the Black Pearl, is not just a mere ship. It represents freedom from social conventions, freedom from law or simply freedom to follow one's wishes Little by little, I developed an appeal for danger. I am more than ever willing to take risk. In fact my love for extreme sports like scuba-diving and the more dangerous paragliding, which were not even worth considering while I lived with my parents, are all born from my desire to pursue a more passionate life.

What makes it so easy for me to identify to that character is his very human nature. He is neither a hero nor a villain; he is both at the same time. He is can be cupid, selfish and untrue but on the other hand he can also be courageous, loyal and uncannily kind-hearted for a pirate. One moment he is stealing a royal navy ship, the next he is saving a stranger from drowning, putting his own freedom at stake. His flaws only strengthen my conviction that I can, despite all of my weaknesses, accomplish great things.

I've always had the impression that I'd set my sights too high; I wanted to attend a highly competitive high school, be top of the class, and do the most difficult jobs such as physician. I must admit that although I did attend a top high school and was always streamed in the best class, I could not help my will from wavering from time to time. But thanks to Jack Sparrow's example I finally understood that I had to be courageous, take a chance when I got it, and then hope for the best.
keilinger 9 / 53  
Dec 12, 2009   #2
Definitely the second one. The conclusion in the first essay is strong, but throughout the middle, I kept wondering how you had gone from getting lost to vowing to be an independent person. I also feel that many of the sentences are overdramatic, such as this one: "That's also why I am more determined than ever to attend university, because since that day I have been waiting for the opportunity to prove to myself that I can be an independent and responsible person."

That said, they are both well-written. Which one are you leaning towards?
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 12, 2009   #3
I agree with keilinger- go with the second essay. It's stronger, more recent (few colleges want you to describe an experience you had when you were nine), and says more about you as a person.

Here are some grammar corrections to your second essay:

"I relished the thought of juggling with homeworks, extracurricular activities and increased responsibilities in my everyday life."
I'm not sure if "homeworks" is deliberate, but "homework" is usually singular.

"Although one might believe he is a lying eccentric pariah, he has certain deeply buried qualities which are visible in his small actions."

"Eccentric lying pariah" sounds better to me than "lying eccentric pariah"- just a thought. Also, "small" should be "smallest", since not all of Jack Sparrow's actions are small.

"I no more hesitate to go all-in with nothing in hand, a bluff which has paid off one out of two occasions."
"No more" should be "no longer". And if you've only bluffed that way twice, and only succeeded once, then it's hardly representative of the habitual risk-taking that you seem to imply you are now engaging in, post-Jack Sparrow. Perhaps you could consider using a more drastic example?

"He is can be cupid, selfish and untrue"
Get rid of the word "is". Also, I am mystified by "cupid"- are you trying to compare him to a small, cherubic angel of love? Or was it merely a typo for "stupid"?
OP l3goals12 7 / 18  
Dec 13, 2009   #4
I took much more time writing the first essay, but I was not really inspired.

Alright then I'll go with the second essay.

Also, I am mystified by "cupid"-

Sorry about that. Cupid is a French word for greed."Greedy" is what I really meant.

Thanks a lot for your help, both of you.

Anymore criticism is most welcome.


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