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Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past?

Sample Essay Prompt

You have twenty-five minutes to write an essay on the topic assigned below.

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.

— Adapted from I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation, by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
 
Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
 


2011/4/28 19:41:08

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(2) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past?

Sample Essay of score 6 -

Memories act as both help and hindrance to success. Many people advise you to learn from the past and apply those memories so that you can effectively succeed by avoiding repeating your past mistakes. On the other hand, people who get too caught up with the past are unable to move on to the future.

Elie Wiesel's memoir Night  perfectly exemplifies the double nature of memories. Wiesel, a Jewish man, suffered heavily throughout the Holocaust and Night is rife with horrific descriptions of his experience. These memories help to spread the view of what life was like. Through recounting these memories, Wiesel is able to educate world readers about the atrocities committed in hopes that the same blatant violations of human rights are never repeated again. Through reliving the Holocaust through his writing, Wiesel was inspired to become proactive in the battle for civil rights. Some would point to his peaceful actions and the sales of his book and label him a success.

Despite the importance of recounting such memories, Wiesel acknowledges the damage that memories can also cause. Following his liberation from the Auschwitz concentration camp, Wiesel was a bitter, jaded man. He could not even write Night until several years later. The end of the novel describes Wiesel's gradual but absolute loss of faith throughout the experience. His past experiences haunted him for several years, rendering him passive. It was not until he set aside his past that he could even focus on the future. Had he remained so consumed with the pain and damage caused in the past, he may never have achieved the success that he has attained.

Overall, Wiesel's experiences exemplify the importance of the past as a guide. Wiesel's past experiences helped to guide him in later life, but it was not until he pushed them aside that he could move on. To me this means that you should rely on your past without letting it control you. Allow your past to act as a guide, while making sure that you are also living in the present and looking to the future.


2011/4/28 20:15:52

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

Re:Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past?

Sample Essay of score of 6 -

All futures build upon the past. Without our past, our future would lose foundation and only run a tortuous path leading to nowhere. In order to move up the ladder of success and achievement we must come to terms with our past, learn from it, and integrate it into our future. Even if in the past we made mistakes or even failed outright, it will only make us wiser and guide us to the destiny illuminated by the light of the past.


This past year, I was auditioning for the fall play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." (comment - good, a pacific example from self, unlike the trite form the million others) . To my detriment I thought it would be a good idea to watch the movie in order to prepare. For two hours I studied Elizabeth Taylor's mannerisms (comment – strong diction here!), attitude, and diction, hoping I could mimic her performance. I auditioned for the part of "Maggie" feeling perfectly confident in my portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor, without awaring that my director saw exactly what I had been intending, and I didn't get the part. My director told me that he needed to see "Maggie" from my perspective, not Elizabeth Taylor's.


I learned from this experience, promised myself I would not try to imitate another actress, and would only create my character. Perservering, I was anxious to audition for the winter play just two months later. The play was Neil Simon's "Rumors," and would get the opportunity to play "Chris," a sarcastic yet witty role, which would be my final performance in high school. In order to develop my character, I planned out her life just as I thought it should be, gave her the voice I thought was right, and the rest of her character unfolded beautifully from there (comment – here is the key part, should add more insight, particularly how). My director told me after the first show that "Rumors" was the best work he'd ever seen from me, and that he was amazed at how I'd developed such a believable character. Thinking back to my first audition I was grateful for that chance I had to learn and to grow, because without that mistake I might have tried to base "Chris" off of someone I'd known or something I'd seen instead of becoming my own character. I utilized the memory of the Elizabeth Taylor debacle to improve my approach to acting and gave the best performance of my life so far.


2011/4/28 19:58:10

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

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