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Silence of the Lambs character influence - Common App Essay

ekim226 5 / 29  
Dec 18, 2010   #1
At the last minute, I decided to rewrite my college app essay. I plan to submit it this Monday or Tuesday, so any advice at all would be greatly appreciated! (grammar, content, transitions, flow, diction, etc.) My essay is at 708 words, so let me know what I can cut out as well. Thank you!

Prompt: 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.

Fluttering moths. Overworked sewing machines. Threads placed haphazardly across the room. On a quiet day in Illinois, FBI trainee Clarice Starling knows she has found the nation's deadliest serial killer, Buffalo Bill. An atypical UVA graduate, Starling hears the screams of the confused lambs being slaughtered in her uncle's barn after her father-her world-was wrongfully killed when she was 10. But no life trauma lets her down because she knows what she wants: to rescue one more innocent person, to forever silence her worries and the screams of the confused lambs she could not save. Although men question her potential as an amateur female detective, she never complains. She never doubts. She lives with unwavering confidence.

On a Saturday night, my mother and I browsed TV channels to find a good movie to watch as we do every weekend. Serendipitously, Silence of the Lambs was just starting. The eerie music and creepy plotline made me think, "Oh, one of those old thriller films." However, as I watched agent Starling pursue her dreams, rise above discrimination, and share herself to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, I saw a piece of myself in her, realized she is just as real as I am and desired the confident personality she had. While Clarice grew up in the trap of rural West Virginia with both her parents dead, I grew up in the monotony of change, of moving from rural New Jersey to their urban suburbs to the bustling South Korea, as I now find myself in gloomy Seattle with my estranged brother across the country, my father restarting his life in Asia after his gambling addiction, and my mother by my side recovering from Breast Cancer. Despite my life traumas, I have been notorious for my positive outlook and for my "shine," enough so that my school has dubbed me the Shiny Girl. I may have reasons to cry, complain, gossip and swear as those around me claim "life sucks," but I dare to overcome my life's difficulties by seeing the beauty in life and society, and remembering my purpose: to let one more person know life is truly beautiful.

As I strode through my high school halls with confidence that may be unusual for a meager 4'10" girl to handle, underneath my smiles and happiness, I loathed how students saw me as a naïve and innocent goody-two-shoes. I saw images of laughing kids having crazy weekends and I did not want to be different anymore; I no longer wanted to be the optimist that I was. I wanted only to be like everyone else. When I saw Clarice cry remembering her difficult childhood after her encounter with Hannibal the Cannibal, she helped me realize that heroes have issues too, and do not change the world by being average. Clarice's persistence, her undying determination to save one more innocent person lead her to track down the impossible psychopath who made clothes out of women's flesh. She defeated evil, saved Catherine Martin, joined the FBI despite being a woman, and gained wisdom. At that moment, I knew that no matter what separation society places me in, I cannot let the perceptions of others sway me.

Clarice Starling reminded me to always walk with confidence, to stay true to myself, to be honest, and that weaknesses lead to success. She gave me the encouragement I needed to believe that positivity is the most powerful quality in leadership. To this day, I have not stopped smiling in my writing, speech, and persona, and I wake up every morning remembering I can influence someone's life and the world. Whether it's through sharing my life stories on my blog, talking on my school's broadcast program, or bonding with new people as a journalist, I will make this day better than yesterday for me, for someone else and for the world.

iamesthere 4 / 15  
Dec 19, 2010   #2
I honestly thought you wrote a very well-written, in depth essay and it revealed a lot about some of the difficulties you went through, what you are interested in (writing/journalism) and how you learned through your difficulties. Good job!

Some corrections you can change:
1) I saw a piece of myself in her, realized she is just as real as I am...
You should add and "and" between the comma and realized
2) I dare to overcome my life's difficulties by seeing the beauty in life and society.
You should change it to the difficulties of my life.

Please check my essay called: My Ice Cream Shop. Thank you!
thimmaiah 4 / 5  
Dec 19, 2010   #3
this is a very well written essay. you have captured clarice starling's character perfectly and have moulded her character into yourself.which university are you planning to apply to?

It would be easier for people to judge your essay if they knew which college you are planning to apply to. Other than that, the essay is really wonderful.

Best of Luck
OP ekim226 5 / 29  
Dec 20, 2010   #4
Thanks so much for the feedback! I'm applying to Northwestern, UPenn, NYU, Brown, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and a few others. Those are my main ones. :)

(to others:) I'm still accepting much criticism, so please do read/help if possible! (I'm especially having difficulty with verb tenses.) Thank you!!

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