SAT Essay Assignment: Do we need other people in order to understand ourselves?

Assignment: Do we need other people in order to understand ourselves?


Anne Shepard wrote that, “A better understanding of other people contributes to the development of moral virtues. We shall be both kinder and fairer in our treatment of others if we understand them better. Understanding ourselves and understanding others are connected, since as human beings we all have things in common.” This excerpt from Aesthetics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art, is trying to convey the message that in order for people to more empathetic to the needs and the rights of others, we must take time to understand others and ourselves. Not only will understand others achieve “fairer treatment” for others, but we also start to understand ourselves better. I completely agree that we need other people in order to understand ourselves better. People have achieved this method of understanding themselves better through their interaction with others in both experiments and school.


In the novel, Nickel and Dime, a journalist goes undercover to see the reality of medium waged jobs. Through her journey she comes across a large number of people who go through harsher mental and physical work than the people she knows in “higher” and more “elite” fields. Although they worked just as hard, if not harder, than the people who knew carrying six figure incomes, they were not entitled to the same liberties or income. The realities of a medium waged life were flabbergasting to this journalist. She no longer felt that impoverished people were just lazy and that they deserved what they received. Through her interactions with them she was able to turn her views and treatment of the lower-class around (TS in the end of the paragraph).


In public school students come across all types of people. In certain classes views on topics such as abortion, religion, and other controversial issues are discussed. Subjects that some students never took a view on or through about are now brought before them. The student’s view on a matter has the chance to be created or even molded through this interaction. A student can hear others views on matters which may give him or her new insight on a topic. Your views and decisions on topics makes you who you are and knowing why someone else may do something, even if you yourself would not personally do it, helps you to understand and revere others  (TS in the end of the paragraph).


When we live in arrogance we are only hurting ourselves, until we open up to interactions with others or live in someone else’s shoes can we not only understand others better but ourselves too. How can we ever make smart decisions when we do not know all the possibilities? The truth is we cannot. As humans we all have feelings and have a voice inside ourselves that tells u to do “the right thing.” That is why we must understand others in order to not offend others. In order to understand ourselves better we must have interaction with other people  (TS in the end of the paragraph).

2010/9/21 16:17:58

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(1) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:SAT Essay Assignment: Do we need other people in order to understand ourselves?

Sample Essay - Score of 6


Most parents and teachers tell students the extremely tired cliché of the consequences of following the crowd. It is said that, in order to be a completely individual thinker, one must ignore what others say. Such advice is certainly true to some extent; unreasonable malice must be forgotten in order to keep some level of self-esteem. However, as with most ideas, this one can not be taken in absolute form. In at least some respects, we need other people in order to understand ourselves.


An excellent example of a literary character who could have psychologically benefited from social interaction is J. Alfred Prufrock from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In the poem, Prufrock desires a relationship with a woman very much, but he refrains from initiating conversation be-cause he fears that he could not hold the interest of a sophisticated lady. Should Prufrock have taken the step to accept other people into his life, he most likely would have discovered, as the reader of the poem certainly did, that he is most articulate. Others would have impressed upon him the beauty of his words and his talent for prose. If Prufrock would have spoken his song a loud, the ladies surely would have shown him what he himself did not understand. Since the ladies would reveal Prufrock’s talents to him, it is true that we need others in order to understand ourselves.


The lesson of learning from other’s opinions of yourself extends much farther than the song of a fictional character. Two days ago, in an art class, my group of students had assigned self portraits due. Most of us brought in photographs of ourselves. Nevertheless, one boy brought nothing and handed us all slips of paper. He told us to write a word to describe him, and when we had done so, he pasted the words on a poster. This must have been a revealing exercise for him because, upon the sight of such descriptions as “bitter” and “sarcastic”, he was shocked. In the case of this boy, he had not realized how his personality appeared to others. Though he might not have thought himself “bitter”, his friend’s comments certainly made him seem that way. The fact that we need others in order to understand ourselves is clearly shown by this boy’s revelation.

2011/4/29 8:14:40

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复


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