yale 250, first draft

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hellohi
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yale 250, first draft

Postby hellohi » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:08 pm

Her eyes transformed.

It is common to see children selling gum and other items on the streets of Amman to raise money for their families. My uncles usually just gave the children money without buying the goods- I often thought of them as beggars. So, nothing was unusual when my uncle offered her a couple Jordanian Dinars but refused the soap the girl tried to sell us at the gas station.

However, her response literally made me jump back in my seat. Her eyes burned with anger and even hate as she yelled that she was not a beggar. I then realized the children did not sell the goods as a way to make more money than they would begging, but because of their pride. In this girl’s mind the soap gave her the self-respect that society was not giving her and legitimated what she had to do every day to survive. When my uncle implied that what she was selling did not matter it challenged her pride, and her response showed how important that was for her.

I saw her eyes change again as she realized she needed the money. I remember that girl every time I hear that welfare programs or “handouts” disincentivize people from working. Specifically I remember how her proud eyes transformed to such deep anger when my uncle rejected the soap and then to profound sadness when she decided to take the money.

She ended up placing the soap on our windshield and walking away.

CanadianWolf
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:21 pm

Is the last sentence of the first paragraph a complete sentence ? Or should it be part of the prior sentence ? (Same question regarding my first two sentences of this post.)

"legitimated" or "legitimized" ?

"how important that was for her" or "to her" ?

Otherwise, in my opinion, this is a very effective Yale 250.

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kwais
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby kwais » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:31 pm

It's a good start. Not sure what the welfare/handout sentence is doing there though. I couldn't tell if you were expressing sympathy or contrasting welfare with what this girl was doing (I suspect the former).

I'm not sure the 3 word intro works. Not every essay needs a device to start it off.

The only other critique I have, and I have this of many essays, is that many applicants go for the "then I realized this poor person was a real person" angle. It can come off as condescending, though that is certainly not the intention. Yours comes off less that way than many others I have read, but just thought I'd point it out.

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defdef
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby defdef » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:32 pm

hellohi wrote:Her eyes transformed.

Children selling gum and other items on the streets of Amman is a common sight. My uncles usually just gave the children money without buying the goods- I often thought of them as beggars. I didn't think anything was unusual when my uncle offered her a couple Jordanian Dinars but refused the soap a girl was trying to sell us at a gas station.

Her response literally made me jump back in my seat. Her eyes burned with anger and hate. "I'm not a beggar!" she yelled. It was then that I realized the children didn't sell their wares to make more money than they would begging, they did it to keep their self-respect. In this girl’s mind the soap gave her the dignity that society wouldn't and legitimized what she had to do every day to survive. When my uncle implied that what she was selling did not matter it challenged her pride, and her response showed how important that was for her.

I saw her eyes change again as she realized she couldn't afford to pass on the money. I remember that girl every time I hear that welfare programs or “handouts” disincentivize people from working. Specifically I remember how her proud eyes transformed to such a deep anger when my uncle rejected the soap and then a profound sadness when she decided to take the money.

She ended up placing the soap on our windshield and walking away.


edited a bit. just some suggestions! also agree with kwais that the welfare sentence is perhaps the weakest in the narrative as far as flow goes

hellohi
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby hellohi » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:57 pm

Thanks a lot!
I'll probably just take out that sentence and try to make another draft.

CanadianWolf
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:02 pm

If you delete the welfare sentence, then you will change substantially the depth & impact of your writing, in my opinion. Without this sentence, my original critique would suggest that you need to add an additional insight to your work.

eleemosynary2
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby eleemosynary2 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:26 pm

The essay grabbed me, which I wouldn't say about many I read on here, so well done. I'm fine with the opener and closer. Something about the penultimate paragraph feels rough or indefinite, which I think is the feedback you're getting from others.

Clarify the welfare sentence. If you can, change the "I remember" angle to describe how your outlook changed.

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DougieFresh
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby DougieFresh » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:43 pm

You have a powerful introduction, a real attention grabber.

Be careful with over using adjectives, "her proud eyes...deep anger...profound sadness". You have a dramatic story, it doesnt need to be dressed up.

Is the Yale 250 a short PS?

hellohi
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:02 am

Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby hellohi » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:02 pm

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. Hows this second draft seem?

Her eyes transformed.

Children selling gum and other items on the streets of Amman is a common sight. My uncles often gave the children money without buying the goods- I thought of them as beggars. So, nothing was unusual when my uncle offered her a couple Dinars but refused the soap a girl was trying to sell us at a gas station.

Her response literally made me jump back in my seat. Her eyes burned with anger, and she yelled "I'm not a beggar!" I then realized the children did not sell their wares to make more money than they would begging, they did it to keep their self-respect. In this girl’s mind the soap gave her the dignity that society would not, and legitimized what she had to do every day to survive. My uncle challenged her pride when he implied that what she was selling did not; her response showed how important that was for her.

Her eyes change again as she realized she could not afford to pass on the money. I remember that girl every time I hear that welfare programs or “handouts” disincentivize people from working. Specifically I remember how her eyes showed such anger when my uncle rejected the soap and then profound sadness when she decided to take the money. She reminds me that, for at least one person, “handouts” are both needed to survive and motivate them to work.

She ended up placing the soap on our windshield and walking away.

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Spritzpiggy
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Re: yale 250, first draft

Postby Spritzpiggy » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:49 pm

First, I really like the idea and the story is told well. I agree that this is probably one of the best ones I have read on here. I also agree with others that pulling in the government assistance reference is a bit of a grab, but the connection does work. So, knowing that this is really good already, heres my thoughts to make it a little stronger: In my opinion, this sentence goes too far: 'She reminds me that, for at least one person, “handouts” are both needed to survive and motivate them to work.'

In this story, how are you illustrating that a handout is needed to provide MOTIVATION for someone to work? It seems like this girl is working quite hard, without a handout to provide any incentive. She is poor, yes, but she is selling a product, which she gives to someone when they pay. That sounds like a transaction to me, not a handout. If this transaction occurred within a nice store, would it still be a handout? Your uncle attempts to give her a handout, however that handout never provided her the original motivation to try to make a living for herself. In this way, the story kind of counters your argument.

You say it perfectly here: In this girl’s mind the soap gave her the dignity that society would not, and legitimized what she had to do every day to survive. My uncle challenged her pride when he implied that what she was selling did not; her response showed how important that was for her.

You basically show that she doesn't want a handout, and then make a general argument that handouts are needed to make people work - without showing anywhere that a handout is actually needed to make people work. Confusing.

I know your intention is not to offend and your story is trying to illustrate how you came to see a situation differently, but it still comes off a bit "Romney-esque" (couldn't think of a better example off the top of my head - you know: optimistically, you really want to think he means well, but he just cant say it right). Anyways, I would edit it and maybe take out the handout part altogether, because its a stretch. Just my opinion. I hope this helps, good luck with your cycle. I am sure you will do very well. :)




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