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'The Wit of Writers' - Stanford Intellectual Vitality Supplement

etron 5 / 17  
Oct 10, 2011   #1
Hi everyone, I'm trying to submit my ED Stanford app, so I'd really appreciate any advice you might have on these essays. (Some of the others are on essayforum, too.)

Basically, I'm right at the 1600 character limit and also the 250 word minimum. Yikes! Can you tell me if this essay gives a sense of me and if it's intellectually vital enough? Thanks so much!

Stanford students possess intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

This rhetorical précis on Graduation (Angelou) is particularly feisty; I'm halfway through a sentence that's already three-quarters of a page long. A punctuation epiphany strikes, and I'm wrestling six or seven semicolons into their respective places, when my minimized Facebook chat chimes. My fabulous plan for the placement of semicolon number eight escapes me. Blast! Frustrated, but intrigued, I open Facebook to yet another question from a classmate struggling through the same rhetorical précis.

My friends call me the Mighty Detangler. If only they knew what joy a well crafted, grammatically correct sentence brings me (I get all warm and fuzzy inside)! My hungry brain finds some of its fulfillment in extracting good ideas from the snarled ruins of dangling modifiers, mismatched pronouns, subject-verb disagreement, and TOO FEW COMMAS.

Why is it that grammar strikes such a chord in me? I remember my parents' pride (just oh-so-proud) when I first grasped the irony in Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. This was a watershed moment for me: I finally began to see that the wit of writers often lies in well-placed parentheses, crafty commas, and winking semicolons. (I mean, really, can you imagine e.e. cummings without commas, Shakespeare without syntax, or Dickinson without the dashes?) Maybe I'm on my way to becoming a wordsmith. (If only I were better at the subjunctive mood, that sly trickster!)

As I proofread what I've typed, I see no green squiggly lines anywhere-except under "cummings." (Ignore.) It looks as though I've passed Microsoft Word's grammar check. Sweet relief!
reidabook 6 / 19  
Oct 13, 2011   #2
I personally do not like the very last sentence about proofreading, but overall it is exceptionally written. The main problem I see is that the point is not clear. Is your intellectual experience helping your friends, or Calvin and Hobbes?
jennifercapp - / 7  
Oct 23, 2011   #3
I like your approach on the prompt - it's certainly a unique one. I admire you for that. However, when I began reading, it took me a while to understand where you were going with it. Perhaps, you can make it a bit more clear! :)

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