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Persuasive Essay - "Examine what is said, not him who speaks." ~Arab Proverb

MiiSTiiCZ 3 / 9  
Mar 17, 2011   #1
I'm just practicing my on-demand writing skills at the moment, so I randomly picked a quote from a website and gave myself thirty minutes to compose an essay. I'm just looking for feedback on my writing and any tips or strategies that anyone has for improving on-demand writing. Thanks!

"Examine what is said, not him who speaks." ~Arab Proverb

"Examine what is said, not him who speaks." Stop and dwell on that for a minute. Now, what does it mean? Our society has become based on examining external appearances to determine the value someone has. Such a grave mistake it is to judge someone based solely on their looks. Never mind the wealth of knowledge one may have. Forget about the skills they have that could be put to terrific use. The only thing that matters is appearance. This is how our society functions. Regardless of the general policies our society has sent forth, judging by appearance alone is neither ethical nor logical. Therefore, to be ethically and logically sound, our society should use knowledge and content, rather than appearance, to judge the value and effectiveness of something or someone.

Judging by appearance is very common in today's society, and it leads to a multitude of problems. Several hundred years ago, when the slave trade began, the view of white supremacy became significantly more prevalent and led to the enslavement of millions of Africans because they were viewed as a "lesser race." That mentality has continued to exist for centuries, even through the abolishment of slavery in America. For centuries, those with African ancestry were considered property, with only monetary value. However, in the early 1900's, George Washington Carver, an African American, discovered a vast number of uses of the peanut, and through this African American man's intellect and patience, the present world has many amenities that are often taken for granted. This brings to mind the clique phrase "Never judge a book by its cover." If Mr. Carver had been born one hundred years earlier, he would have been a mere piece of property, and he would have had no opportunity at all to entreat our society to his magnificent discoveries.

Appearances, while important, should under no circumstances be the sole method for which the value of something is judged. George Washington Carver was a great inventor, but he was African American. If born at a different point in time, he would have merely been viewed as a piece of property and never given the opportunity to use his intellect to benefit society. Judging anything by appearances is not ethically or morally sound; therefore, to remain ethically and morally sound, modern society should cease to judge solely by appearance, and instead judge based on a multitude of internal characteristics.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Mar 20, 2011   #2
"Examine what is said, not him who speaks." Stop and dwell on that for a minute. Now, what does it mean? This Arab proverb reminds us that our society has ...

I would change the intro like that (above). It is not good to presume to tell the reader to reflect on something. It is better to just lead them in their reflection. It may be "presumptuous" to tell them to dwell on it.

This reminds me of a Budidhist proverb: Do not miss the moon because you are looking at the finger pointing to the moon.

Okay, you did quite a good job with this topic, but the topic itself is not so good. The quote is about more than just appearances. It is about "ethos" or credibility. To examine the person can mean examining her character, not just judging based on looks.

And this essay is just all about the folly of "judging a book by its cover," so it is not really the best topic. Everyone has already thought about this. You should make it unique by adding your own great "flavor" -- your own theme or observation.

OP MiiSTiiCZ 3 / 9  
Mar 24, 2011   #3
Thanks for the feedback!

I agree with your statement that the topic was poorly chosen. That is definitely something that I need to work on in future essays. After reading back through the essay, I also agree that my intro was rather weakened by asking the reader to reflect. Again, thanks for your feedback! I'll definitely work on those things.

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