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Death of my grandmother: William And Mary Essay

nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 11, 2010   #1
This didn't come out the way I intended it, but is it still usable? Point out any and all flaws, especially in the tone... all help greatly appreciated!


There's an elephant in the room, and although it's an effort to come to terms with my baggage, I'm going to try and admit that it's there.

My paternal grandmother died of cancer, on November 30th 2010; 12 days before I wrote this. Cancer of the colon, that metastasized to the liver. No, it wasn't a shock, I'd known about it for two years. Yes, I was close to her; she did mean a lot to me.

People say I'm a lot like my grandmother. Indeed, it's impossible to ignore the uncanny resemblance when you look at photographs, which I've been doing a lot lately. But the resemblance goes deeper than what a black-and-white portrait taken in the 1950's could ever capture. Her background as a teacher met my passion for learning, and many a bright summer's day was spent with her poring over Hindi verse, to our mutual enjoyment. Our dark eyes share a particular brand of fire; we shared a mildly feminist passion, along with a desire to shatter all boundaries. I'm said to be as sharp as her, which is an honor, for she really was a discerning lady.

I learned to be frank and forthright from her, and to speak what really was on my mind; she also taught me to never allow myself to be pitied for who I was. She was a lady who, when meeting over seventy people on the last day of her life, turned to my father and asked him what would happen if, after all this fuss, she didn't die; and some day, I'd like to have her ability to handle the worst situation with just a pinch of humor and a tablespoon of acceptance.

My grandmother expected a lot from me, which defined the person I am today. She wanted me to be a complete woman; one who could hold her head up in pride over her accomplishments, but saw no need to. She pushed me towards academic and cultural achievements, but showed me the importance of living your life with dignity and self-respect. The age she grew up in prevented her full blossoming to her maximum potential, as she was denied opportunities boys her age took for granted; she taught me to value the chances I got and to seize the day as firmly as I can.

Hindu scriptures say that a soul ascends to heaven and peace thirteen days after the death of its body; although my family and I maintain a healthy amount of disrespect for most traditions, I don't believe it's a coincidence that this day falls on the first day of Christmas. The world is conspiring to give me grandmother peace; it's in my power to help it along. That's my inspiration, my incentive, to and succeed; I'm determined to accomplish it.
jpc34 1 / 7  
Dec 11, 2010   #2
Wow, that's really powerful. I absolutely love the second and third paragraphs. I'm sorry for your loss, but you did an amazing job paying respects to what sounds like a great woman in this essay.
OP nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 11, 2010   #3
Thanks a lot, it means a lot to me. And it seems it had the desired impact. Thanks for the critique!
aelee523 3 / 8  
Dec 11, 2010   #4
This is really excellent. Good Job. Im so sorry for your loss but you did an amazing job capturing her in this essay. Best of luck to you!
OP nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 13, 2010   #5
I'm afraid it doesn't answer the prompt well enough, though... Anyone else got feedback?
RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Dec 16, 2010   #6
I think it answer the prompt perfectly, since you talk about your grandma who shaped you into who you are today. I, however think you should take out the first sentence, it sounds like a cliche.

Your writing is very heartfelt. i love the "anecdote" when your grandma said "what happen if she didn't die", that sentence alone is enough to show your grandma's personality. There is not a lot of grammar problem i could fix, may be moderators could spot some perhaps.

Good luck! I am also applying to W&M, so if you don't mind to take a look. Hope to see you there (if I can get in first -_-)
puffholic 1 / 5  
Dec 19, 2010   #7
Overall it answers the prompt well and it's a good essay.

But-well there is always a "but", and it's just my own opinion - you talk about a lot of things of your Grandmother and say these characters shape you, but I cannot see HOW she shapes you. Maybe just focus on one or two things would be more clear. And maybe put some examples, some small stories of her or of yourself.

Hope this helps! and GOOD LUCK!
zdmw911 9 / 32  
Dec 19, 2010   #8
Great essay! Extremely well-written. The only thing I can suggest is that you spend a paragraph or two on how this impacted you and what it has driven you to do, rather than just reflect on the event.
iamesthere 4 / 15  
Dec 19, 2010   #9
Touching and honesty essay, good job!
It was well written but I think instead of stating just telling the reader how she changed you to act and become a certain person, show the reader how you she changed you. Like an experience you had in which you thought of your grandma and decided to take action based on what she would do.
acrayan 3 / 7  
Dec 19, 2010   #10
The world is conspiring to give me [my] grandmother peace; it's in my power to help it along. That's my inspiration, my incentive, to and succeed; I'm determined to accomplish it.

Nice essay! didn't find anything wrong except for that typo you had there.

Best of luck with W&M.
OP nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 20, 2010   #11
First off, thank you all for your comments!
zdmw911, Xina and Esther, I completely understand what you mean.. I'll rewrite parts of it and add sentences describing what has happened instead of saying something has happened=).

Tan Vi: I will rewrite the introduction and the conclusion, which is normally the last thing I do before I send an essay in. And it is a cliche, but unfortunately the best I could think of then:/. And good luck with W&M... as long as I get in too.XD

Aravind: Hey, thanks, I didn't notice that!

I was thinking of using this essay(an edited version) for Princeton, for their prompt 'Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way'... do you think the essay's good enough for Princeton?

Thanks a lot to any past and future commenters:). Good luck to all of you.
PsioVana 3 / 11  
Dec 20, 2010   #12
You know there is an ancient Chinese saying in Wenxindiaolong"True human emotion is the only basis of all compositions. Without it, compositions are but words." I think your essay perfectly suits this "true human emotion" standard. Really, it is a perfect essay. I mean it. But one advice:try to use repetition or other techniques to make your essays more appealing to AO's eyes. And they will be impressed by both your writting and your emotion.
OP nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 25, 2010   #13
Ren, I've spent the last 5 days looking at your post and going 'that's brilliant, I should do that'... and I went and edited ALL my essays, based on that. So thanks a ton:)
neil 1 / 12  
Dec 27, 2010   #14
Wow. Again, thats powerful writing that also conveys a lot of positive attributes of yours through a description of her. Last sentence seems incomplete though. "That's my inspiration, my incentive, to and succeed"

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