Could you please critique my essay? I feel I am heading in the right directions but am not sure if I have reached an "A" paper yet. I don't believe there are too many grammatical errors, but additional proofreading would be appreciated!Prompt: Do you think you understand the problem(s) experienced by those who are considered "different" in our society? Consider interviewing someone from another culture, generation, or someone who has experienced alienation and use your findings to write an expository essay advancing your view of the situation.
Love is an interesting thought; in itself it can cause such an impact, whether it is for better or for worse. The profound affection and passion accompanied by such an emotion should leave us very much certain in what we want, yet more often than not we are left mystified and ambiguous of our feelings; ranging between anything from agonizing remorse to pure, unadulterated joy. As a society we view love to be a very dominant and expressive aspect in our lives. Sentiments of being "the sunshine to her blossom" or "Juliet to my Romeo" are littered throughout our pop culture and are often ideal in what we hope to achieve, though we may fall short every once in a while. Nevertheless, we are persistent in these notions in that while we may fail time and again, in the end we hope to one day find that special someone. Western civilization has shaped many individuals views on love, including myself, to be this endeavor of trial and error, but throughout much of my life up until now I failed to reflect on successful relationships within my own family; one of which being my parent's. Growing up in India, they never had the "privilege" of going through the dating scene familiar to me as a result of their arranged marriage, and while I do not take well to the thought of having my own spouse chosen for me, the institution itself is not one I can honestly say I object to.
In general, there are two schools of thought when it comes to marriage. In Western culture, the choice of a spouse is up to the individual. Often called "love marriages", institutions like dating allow individuals to collect relative information in their preferences for a partner and ultimately lead to a more informed decision on what they view as their ideal spouse. Contrastingly, in traditional societies the rationale for having parents choose their children's spouse is to avoid immature or impulsive decisions. Though there are many variations, in most "arranged marriages" criteria for the prospective partner is composed of aspects such as religious affiliation, level of education, financial stability, and a clean family history. While love marriages consecrate a bond between two individuals, in non-western cultures one's foremost responsibility is to their own family and ancestry. This point in particular is important to note, because the high level of regard held towards one's ancestors and respect given to their parent's wisdom plays a large part in differentiating the views on arranged marriage between Western and traditional cultures.
Talking in the strictest sense, an arranged marriage means that the boy or girl marries whoever their parents choose for them, but in my mother's case she had the option of saying no to anyone she did not like. As she went through her years in grade school many boys took a liking to her, and while she could have chosen to marry any of them, that looming "duty to family" was always present in the back of her head. She did not mind having her parents pick a husband for her because she trusted that they would pick whoever was best for her, but many other parents at the time were focused on marrying for wealth. On my father's side however, his family was not your "traditional" Indian family. His parents fell in love 65 years prior, back when those same core values were more prevalent than ever, and ultimately got married. Likewise, they wished the same for their children and by chance my dad happened to be asked by my mother's parents to meet her. At a young age my father lost his hearing, and while initially it made it hard for them to converse, my mother grew fond of him for his character and thoughtfulness, ultimately said yes when he proposed to her. After moving to the United States, nearly twenty years later they still love each other with the same passion as the first day they met.
When you look at statistics regarding marriages in the US, nearly 40% of first marriages end in divorce, yet if you look at India's divorce rate, roughly 1% of marriages end in divorce (Divorce). While you could argue that their large population skews the proportion, or that the institution of marriage in the US is not as valued as it used to be; in reality this is attributed to a number of reasons. If you look at our society today, it is blatantly clear that there are a large number of impulsive marriages; the city of Las Vegas alone can justify this. Those kinds of couples end up divorcing after the realization that they do not work well with each other and end up moving on to new partners. But while many arranged marriages are healthy and successful such as my parents, this is not to say that they are all perfect. Often you will find that women are mistreated in relationships, from reasons such as subpar income to domestic violence, but will stick with it for the sake of their children or to not be shamed by their family. Several years ago my mother's sister was stuck in an abusive marriage. Without institutions like dating, she only had one or two weeks to really get to know her husband; and once he proposed, he seemed charming and genuinely kind, so she said yes. But after their second child he started drinking more often than usual. At first she only noticed it once in a while, but after a couple months it became a weekly occurrence in which he would come home in a drunken rage and yell at her and the children. For almost a year she did not want to cut things off with him in fear that it would be bad for her kids, but after strong encouragement from her friends and family she finally separated from him. While this can be seen in both love marriages and arranged marriages, more often than not those in arranged marriages stick through with it. In the end, what really matters is ones devotion to upholding their commitment, and how much each couple is willing to endure.
You can dispute that despite having such large retention rates, making couples feel trapped in their relationship is a huge pitfall in the practice of arranged marriage. And while I would agree with you, is that to say that they have no voice at all in their own relationships? Just look at the case with my aunt: when she knew that her relationship was only hurting her, she made the conscious decision to do what was best for her and her children and file for divorce. What it boils down to is whether or not the individual will actively shape their own life. You cannot legitimately blame someone or something else for problems that you could easily solve. If you know your relationship is unhealthy and you want to end it, end it. If you want to try and fix it, get marriage counseling; but do not just sit there and do nothing. This is the real world, you cannot walk up to the ocean and expect it to part; you either swim, or sit you sit on the beach and accept your decision. I will agree that arranged marriages can have their downsides, but with turnarounds on marriages in the US as short as couple days, the same could be said for love marriages. Being exposed to so many examples of successful relationships such as my parents and numerous other relatives, I cannot detest the concept of arranged marriage as a whole. It is a practice that has worked for many generations, and I am certain that it is not going to die out any time soon.