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SAT Essay: Are our decisions always limited by the rules of society?


puroodsy 3 / 16  
May 25, 2010   #1
Hi, this is another SAT practice essay from me. Comments are greatly appreciated!

Prompt:Are we free to make our own choices in life, or are our decisions always limited by the rules of society?

Being free to make our own decisions in life has always been the dream of many people, but in the real world this dream is unequivocally chimerical. We are well aware of the restriction of the society has on our decisions. Both the set of written rules, such as the Intellectual Property Rights Law (2007) in the law of China, and the set of unwritten social code of conduct, as demonstrated in the novel "Lady of the Camellias" by Alexandre Dumas, show that societal restrictions on our decisions are inevitable; however, sometimes these restrictions are beneficial for the society at large.

China's newly enforced IPR Law is an epitome of how people are subjected to a set of written rules. Before this law was enforced in 2007, piracy was rampant across China. People feel incentivised to practise piracy because it brings about easy money. Multinational businesses however find this offense very serious as it caused the loss of profits in many firms; thus many firms have contemplated shifting out of China. However, after the law was passed, together with strict enforcement of the law, the number of IPR violation cases every year dropped to half. As people are banned from practising piracy, they are forced to a more honest way of doing business, which is a good thing for the community. At the same time, multinational businesses are happier with China, thus their investment in China would be more assured. Clearly, this example shows that people have to abide by the rule of society, and this restriction from committing economic crime in China has done the society good.

People's decisions are also restricted by the unwritten code of conduct of the society. This idea is clearly portrayed in the novel "Lady of the Camellias" by Alexandre Dumas. The female protagonist of the novel is Margueritte, a courtesan who goes against the societal norm for ladies to be meek and abide by arranged marriage. She chooses to love Armand, a poor young man who love her passionately, which is also unorthodox for a courtesan, as a courtesan usually would go for the richest. Despite her free spirit, Margueritte has to leave Armand, on the request of Armand's father, so as not to taint the reputation of Armand's family and allow Armand's sister to be married in a good family, as it is widely acknowledged that a relationship with a courtesan is an infamous act, blemishing the future of not only the man but also his family. Even the freest spirit of Margueritte has to comply with the unwritten code of the French society. This novel thus shows the vulnerability of people against the rules of society, even the freest is not free to choose their course of life.

Overall, the analysis of both the written rules of laws and the unwritten rules of society has shown that people can do nothing but to comply with such rules of society. Though sometimes such rules bring about a better prospect to the society, more often than not such restrictions infringe on personal freedom and make life less ideal. And yet, there is nothing we can do to resist such rules. People are helpless against the rules of society.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 26, 2010   #2
Thanks for teaching me a word that I had never seen before! chimerical
"Being" mucks it up at the beginning...
Being Freedom to make our own decisions in life has always been the dream of ...

You don't make many errors!!

...both the written rules of laws and the unwritten rules of society has have shown that people can do nothing but to comply with such rules of society.---- Yes, that is right. google around and find out what Thomas Hobbes said about the purpose of government. I think you'll really enjoy reading Hobbes after reading this book by Dumas.
OP puroodsy 3 / 16  
May 27, 2010   #3
Thanks for all the comments!

'Chimerical' is a word I picked up from the SAT word list. It comes in handy :)

Oh and Kevin thanks for the reading suggestions! I will definitely find out more about it.


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