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death is only way to happiness? U of M essay 500 words


lrayan6 2 / 6  
Oct 25, 2009   #1
please help this is the last essay for U of M and its supposed to 500 words mine is 540...does that matter? Also, i really need help editing it. Tell me what you think please be honest, all suggestions are appreciated!

heres the prompt: Tell us about a book you have read that you found especially challenging, stimulating, or provocative. Explain why it made an impact on you.

The first day of junior year my American literature teacher handed us the sheet with all the books that we would be reading that year. At the very top of the list was Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the book; I mean in all honesty the books that I read in school are not exactly an exciting pass time. They are written years ago in times that are completely different to ours and yet the teacher still expects me to relate to the characters and their peculiar life styles. However when reading Ethan Frome I found my life was in a way parallel to Ethan's.

Ethan Frome is a man torn between what he wants to do, and what he should do. Though too intelligent for rural life, Ethan finds himself stuck in an average man's shoes. His love for learning and keenness for engineering could have led Ethan to a much better life. Unfortunately, the town's people make Ethan feel obligated to marry his cousin Zeena in return for all the care she brought to his ill mother. Depressed by his now ill wife and failing farm, Ethan begins to fantasize a better life with Zeena's cousin Maddie in the west and wonders what life would be like if he had finished his engineering studies. In the end he believes his only way to happiness is escaping his miserable life through death.

I, like Ethan feel obligated to stay at home with my family for college. Traditionally a Middle Eastern girl stays in her parents' home till she marries, and with all that they have done for me how can I leave them? After finishing the book I came to realize that I had two options; I could follow Ethan's example as he did what people expected him to do by marrying Zeena and staying on the farm; or I could be assertive and challenge myself at great institution such the University of Michigan Ann Arbor? The answer if one could not realize by reading this essay, is to challenge myself and pop out of the traditional Middle Eastern bubble also known as my house. If there is one thing that reading Ethan Frome taught me is to not conform to other people, but rather take my own lead on life and do what it is that I believe will make me happy. My intelligence and love for learning can take me too many different successful places as Ethan's could have, and although I value the opinions of my family I do not want to be like Ethan wondering 'what if" everyday searching for a way out of a life I did not choose. I learned from Ethan that if I want to be happy in my future then I should start making the decisions fir it myself and not let other influence it. I need to be challenged not only with intelligence but also with how well I can stick to tradition when I am surrounded by many other differing ones. I feel that University of Michigan Ann Arbor is where I need to be in order to not follow Ethan's mistake and lead a life of success and happiness.
Vulpix - / 71  
Oct 25, 2009   #2
Your third paragraph is very strong, and it clearly explains the allegory of the book in terms of your own life. My main issue is that your second paragraph is mainly a summary of the novel, which should be completely unnecessary. Ethan Frome is a literary classic- do not insult your admissions officer by assuming that he or she is not familiar with it!

Also, a couple more comments:

"At first I was a bit apprehensive about the book; I mean in all honesty the books that I read in school are not exactly an exciting pass time. They are written years ago in times that are completely different to ours and yet the teacher still expects me to relate to the characters and their peculiar life styles."

Perhaps it would be better to restate this passage so it doesn't sound quite as negative. Remember, euphemisms are your friend! Even if you don't like the books you read in school, you could say so in a more indirect way, like "I find it difficult to relate to books written in a more archaic style", instead of "yet the teacher still expects me to relate to the characters and their peculiar life styles." Also, I believe in your first sentence "an exciting pass time" should be "an exciting way to pass the time."

Some other grammar and spelling edits:

"I learned from Ethan that if I want to be happy in my future then I should start making the decisions fir it myself and not let other influence it."

"Fir it myself" would work better as "for myself", and "other" should be "others."

Again, you probably want to re-read your writing just to try and catch those tiny grammar mistakes- unfortunately, the really can make a difference. This is a good start though! You are a strong writer, and you obviously have a clear message with this essay.
ebby2010 10 / 51  
Oct 25, 2009   #3
"The first day of junior year my American literature teacher handed us the sheet witha list of all the books that we would be reading that year."

"At first I was a bit apprehensive about the book(reading assignment?) ; I mean in all honesty the books that I read in school are not exactly an exciting pass time."

^ "apprehensive" might not be the right word to use here.

"They are written years ago in times that are completely different tofrom ours and yet the teacher still expects me to relate to the characters and their peculiar life styles."

^ you go from saying "ours" to "me" chose one or the other.

"After finishing the book I came to realize that I had two options. I could follow Ethan's example as he did what people expected him to do by marrying Zeena and staying on the farm; or I could be assertive and challenge myself at a great institution such the University of Michigan Ann Arbor?. "

"The answer if one could not realize by reading this essay, is to challenge myself and pop out of the traditional Middle Eastern bubble also known as my househome ."

"If there is one thing that reading Ethan Frome taught me is to not conform to other people's expectations , but rather take my own lead on life and do what it is that I believe will make me happy."

"My intelligence and love for learning can take me too many different successful<--(not the right word) places as Ethan's could have, and although I value the opinions of my familymy family's opinions, I do not want to be like Ethan wondering 'what if" ,and everyday searching for a way out of a life I did not choose."

"I learned from Ethan that if I want to be happy,in my future then I should start making the decisions firforit myself and not let others influence itthem ."

I enjoyed your essay! good luck with admissions! =)
OP lrayan6 2 / 6  
Oct 25, 2009   #4
Vulpix
yea i wasnt sure if i should put the second paragraph in, but at the same time i feel that if i take it out then they may not see the exact connection im trying to make. By placing it right in front of them i feel that it helps my essay make more sense???? do you think i should just have less detail in that paragraph??

and thank you ebby2010 for your help!
nysock 2 / 3  
Oct 25, 2009   #5
First thanks for reading my essay, i liked your advice.
I really enjoyed your essay, but thought that the middle paragraph was a bit more summary than I needed. If you could find a way to still convey the MAIN purpose of the book as it relates to your story instead of recapping the entire book, i think that your essay would be much stronger

good luck!
OP lrayan6 2 / 6  
Oct 25, 2009   #6
how about this?

Ethan Frome is a man torn between what he wants to do, and what he should do. Though too intelligent for rural life, Ethan finds himself stuck in an average man's shoes. His love for learning and keenness for engineering could have led Ethan to a much better life. Unfortunately, the town's people make Ethan feel obligated to marry Zeena in return for all the care she brought to his ill mother. As depression over comes Ethan he begins to fantasize about a better life and searches for an escape from his currently miserable one.
batmankiller 6 / 40  
Oct 26, 2009   #7
^ I'm not sure sure if 3 paragraphs is really necessary or you could even merge 2 and 3 to shorter paragraphs. You say you're 40 words over, I think cutting down the second paragraph and merging it with the third would be nice.

Ethan Frome is a man torn between what he wants to do, and what he should do. His love for learning and keenness for engineering could have led Ethan to a much better life. Unfortunately, the town's people make Ethan feel obligated to marry his cousin Zeena in return for all the care she brought to his ill mother. In the end he believes his only way to happiness is escaping his miserable life through death. Likewise, I feel obligated to stay at home with my family for college. Traditionally a Middle Eastern girl stays in her parents' home till she marries, and with all that they have done for me how can I leave them? After finishing the book I came to realize that I had two options; I could follow Ethan's example as he did what people expected him to do by marrying Zeena and staying on the farm; or I could be assertive and challenge myself at great institution such the University of Michigan Ann Arbor? The answer if one could not realize by reading this essay, is to challenge myself and pop out of the traditional Middle Eastern bubble also known as my house. If there is one thing that reading Ethan Frome taught me is to not conform to other people, but rather take my own lead on life and do what it is that I believe will make me happy. My intelligence and love for learning can take me too many different successful places as Ethan's could have, and although I value the opinions of my family I do not want to be like Ethan wondering 'what if" everyday searching for a way out of a life I did not choose.

In essence, I learned from Ethan that if I want to be happy in my future then I should start making the decisions for it myself and not let others influence it. I need to be challenged not only with intelligence but also with how well I can stick to tradition when I am surrounded by many other differing ones. I feel that University of Michigan Ann Arbor is where I need to be in order to not follow Ethan's mistake and lead a life of success and happiness.

Sorry I tried, not sure if I helped, but yes definitely cut down ont he summary, 2-3 sentences is enough.
EF_Stephen - / 264  
Oct 26, 2009   #8
The third paragraph is the main one, but it is too repetitive. You mentioned several times about leaving home vs staying. You can simplify this by just logically mentioning it once. that will help your word count, too.


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