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"A Hidden Blessing": UC Prompt 1

serashi 1 / -  
Nov 25, 2010   #1
PROMPT 1: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Would somebody please tell me if it isn't strong enough/it doesn't flow correctly? I tried to stay as relevant to the prompt as possible but am concerned the essay might come across as not having focused enough on myself? I'm also aware/have been told I have a tendency to get a bit pedantic when I write so if anything seems particularly overdone/excessive or maybe contrived-sounding, please let me know. Thank you.

I began drawing at an age younger than most, toiling daily at the endless demands of my younger sister, Rachel. I would scribble sad representations of characters from her favorite cartoons dozens of times over, until my chubby hands eventually became deft at depicting the bright smiles of Mickey, Pooh, and all the other amiable creatures of Disney fame. My fulfilling of these requests had already become somewhat of an obligation by the time Rachel was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of four, and this duty, as unchanging as her mental age of three, continues to be my responsibility even to this day. What has passed, however, is time:

Now, at a hundred seventy pounds and a height of five feet six inches, Rachel weighs in as almost twice my weight of 90 pounds and more than half a foot taller than me at my meager 4'11. As a result, our arguments paint a picture that often comes across as more comic than critical: My hands set in tellingly admonishing positions upon my hips, I look up with a brazen stare at my sibling as she throws the typical temper tantrum- only she, pouting in her petulance, manages to tower over me while I do so. Most of the time, however, Rachel is my "Lennie"; my "not-so-Gentle Giant". She is generally well-meaning, albeit largely unaware that her actions have consequences beyond the immediate reaction. At the criminal offense of interrupting her favorite Pixar movie she is liable to hit, bite, and yell in one moment, then cry at the injustice of her punishment the next. Her clumsy attempts to wash the dishes, cook her own food, and cut her own hair have led to some irrevocable disasters, where we find ourselves simultaneously horrified at the sheer casualties and charmed by the surprising considerateness of her efforts. Where others would feel anything from pity, intimidation or even contempt at her ignorant and often hostile behavior, I internally marvel at a figure who I believe to be frustrated with her own inability to express herself, who is intelligent in a way that others are incapable of understanding, and possesses, more so than anybody else I've ever met, the ability to love and care for those around her. Perhaps that is why the characteristics I am most proud of- patience, compassion, an appreciation for the simpler things in life- all seem to stem from her unremitting influence and dependency upon myself. Perhaps that is why, through Rachel's fascination with cartoons/animated movies and her initially bothersome demands, I came to harbor both an appreciation for the art itself and a dream to become an animator capable of creating the kind of films she so adores. Perhaps that is why I have come to acknowledge and appreciate her role as the most important in shaping my interests, my plans, my life, and my identity.

It would be a lie to claim I never resented the role I had so many times felt had been forced upon me. As the eldest child and sole bilingual speaker in the house, I was often compelled to attend session after session of behavior therapy to translate for my parents, and babysit every night for somebody who would otherwise be a capable high school student themselves. In the darkest of those silently bitter hours of 'wasted' youth I simplified her very existence to a heavy burden upon my young shoulders, holding me back from living a life like the comparably carefree ones of my peers. I would have never imagined that in the end, Rachel would be the one to push me forward-- the one to be both my inspiration and my motivation, leading me to discover my dreams and shaping me to be the person- the better person- I am today.

marinac 2 / 9  
Nov 28, 2010   #2
Your last paragraph saves it form being too much about Rachel. I would go through the essay and really look at some of your word choices. Your use of vocab is great but can take away from the depth of your topic if it appears forced.

"...darkest of those silently bitter hours..."-reword
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Dec 7, 2010   #3
You have a great writing style, not pedantic!

"not-so-Gentle Giant "---I think those Gs should not be capitalized: "not-so-gentle giant"

I think this is the thing to change: What has passed, however, is time: It is so uninteresting! It takes the reader's attention away and makes the reader miss the point about autism in the previous sentence. I think you should replace this sentence about time passing... replace it with a sentence that uses the word autism again and expresses a message that is the single most important thing for the reader to remember after finishing your essay.

Look at each point you make in this essay, and ask yourself what it means. Ask yourself if it is what you really want to say. What are the most important ideas to share with the reader?

When I read this...Rachel would be the one to push me forward-- the one to be both my inspiration and my motivation, leading me to discover my dreams and shaping me to be the person- the better person- I am today....it is impressively written, but its basic meaning is generic: she inspired me to discover my dreams and be a better person. It's like something someone might say to end an essay if they could not come up with any creative theme.

But I think you can make a great theme associated with the excavation of your identity -- use a word the reader might not expect, and make it an unforgettable theme!


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