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"the department stores on Fifth Avenue" - Williams Essay


guitarbfour 1 / 2  
Dec 26, 2009   #1
RequiredImagine looking through a window at any environment that is particularly significant to you. Reflect on the scene, paying close attention to the relation between what you are seeing and why it is meaningful to you. Please limit your statement to 300 words.

I remember that afternoon long ago when my father took me to the department stores on Fifth Avenue. It was one of those cold days that you see in cheesy holiday movies, the type of cold that warms you, the type of cold that lets you press your nose up against the glass and leave a soft imprint. There was a crowd of people clustered around Saks, staring into a tall window that was lit up with Christmas lights. We pushed our way into the crowd and my dad lifted me up on his shoulders. I blew into the window and a soft mist settled over the scene that I saw. There were miniature Santa Claus figurines bejeweled with plastic gems, synthetic elves sledding along a track, their movements mechanical in nature, all dancing to "Let it Snow" in a proscribed rhythm.

Maybe I should have been outraged. I am Jewish, and nowhere in the window display was there a golden menorah hanging up high, or Maccabees waving their swords to "Dreidel, Dreidel". That would have been absurd. And yet I felt just as home in that one moment, staring at the imagery of a foreign religion, as I do sitting in my synagogue praying (I'm not particularly observant but I certainly have a strong sense of faith).

We all belong to a number of communities throughout our lives, some because of common interests or beliefs that we share, others for seemingly arbitrary reasons. For me, the communities I feel closest to are the ones where there is a heterogeneous blend of people, communities where I can provide a different perspective rather than reinforcing one. Being different in a crowd only helps me reinforce my beliefs, and forces me to back them up, rather than blindly following them.

Looking back on the crowd below me, I saw people of all religions, races, ages, and genders, all united around this holiday that had become so secularized that it was quintessentially American. And for a moment, I felt ok being one of them.
fearless9 4 / 12  
Dec 26, 2009   #2
Jake,
I like your essay it's very though-provoking and touching.
I hope u can achieve your dream
Good luck...
kda013 6 / 18  
Dec 26, 2009   #3
I personally don't see any mistakes
to correct since this is very nicely written ;]

i must say that i'm totally amazed how
concrete your essay is despite the abstract essay topic.

Anyway, i think the very last sentence: "I felt ok being one of them."
ok ----> all right
it would sound more formal? i guess...

Good luck!;]
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 26, 2009   #4
this isn't a bad essay, it solid, but it doesn't have the profound impact it could. Unfortunately, I'm kind of stuck on what to say to help you out, it doesn't really seem like this is an essay you can do alot to change w/ only 300 words unless you completely blow it up. The best thing I'd say is jump right into this heterogeneous theme and say why as a Jew that you feel right at home more. You seem to tell why, but you don't show why, thats what i think you need to do otherwise your just making an empty statement here w/ liking diversity. And the only way you can elaborate more is if you have more space and i dont think think I would include so much about the Santa experience. I thought the Santa experience was solid writing and a solid introduction, but since you don't have enough space to elaborate on the heterogeneous idea which is far more important,i would jump straight into the heterogeneous idea. This would probably require you shaking your essay up a good bit, but it also would give it a lot more potential.

However, this is still solid as it is and you might find if you completely redo it becomes worse, your call, my biggest advice is to come up w/ way to elaborate or show your desire for diversity or being accustom to diff religions rather than just stating it, however you do it, it will strengthen your essay.

Good luck, if you get a chance could you read my essay COMMONN APP for Dartmouth and other schools Thanks alot
TimMill 9 / 63  
Dec 26, 2009   #5
very nice, especially for an abstract prompt... you've gotten across a message in an almost poetic voice. I'm impressed.

Take out what you have in parenthesis completely- it doesn't add anything, the adcoms aren't interested in that.

Also, your last paragraph is imperfect. That Christmas is secularized may strike an off tone with some people, and it doesn't reinforce your point well. You're talking about acceptance and toleration of differences, not the dilution and commercialization of belief. Maybe talk about how all the races partake in something that has become an American tradition.

And your very last line, "And for a moment, I felt ok being one of them", is also awkward. "For a moment" implies usually you don't feel good about being American. "ok" is informal, if you must use that word say "okay". And, like pointed out above, feeling "ok" isn't a very strong emotion. You don't need to say something overpowering, "I was happy to be one of them" is fine, but "ok" is a little weak.

Hope this helps, best of luck!
Tim
cmg12 3 / 3  
Dec 29, 2009   #6
I love this essay. I think you have accomplished precisely what Williams is looking for, perhaps you could include a bit more on how you feel that Christmas has become secularized and how you have become part of the holiday.


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