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Endiku 03-06-2013 06:43 PM

Just a bit of feedback on an essay? ;)
 
So. I'm a junior this year and taking a composition class (I'm slightly behind due to being dislexic :oops:) and we are preparing for SATs by learning to do timed essays. We did a timed rough draft today, and brought them home to revise, and I was wondering if some of you who are more knowledgable than I would be able to scan it over and see if anything does not flow/is spelled or used incorrectly/stands out to you that needs changed. Since its just a rough draft it has TONS of weak words in it, and probably not enough sentance variations or good vocabulary, but I will be making thos changes today :) if you can think of a fantastic word to replace one I have feel free to tell me though!

It had to be 20-22 sentances, 400-415 words, and five paragraphs. It is a descriptive essay.


The Farmer is a direct example of the handiwork of God. Though at a glance he may not appear to be anything of great importance, he is one of the few beings that understand what truly living means. He works the soil with his own hands, strong and sure. Few can wrap their minds around why he chooses the life that he leads, and many scoff at the idea of constant labor for such little payoff, but he knows things that they do not. This man is an example of a different type of brilliance than the world is used to accepting, but this makes him no less valuable.


He is the epitome of strength. Though his stature may not be one of rippling muscle or unequalled height, he commands respect. Weathered and worn, his hands have seen many days of exhausting labor, and could tell their own story if only one would listen. Modestly, he does not rejoice in the brand of his clothing or the price of his boots, but rather he thankfully wears whatever will suffice to cover his back and protect his weary feet.


Simple yet fulfilling, his lifestyle is not full of glory or fame. Exhausted, the man knows that there will be no thanks for his toiling yet he works from dawn to dusk, ensuring that his family will never go without provisions. The laborer does not take what he has not earned, but he does not hesitate to give the shirt off of his back to a man in need. There is no need for extravagant things and shiny bling, for his treasure lies with the land that he tends and the family that he adores.


Crafted by the land and life that he loves, his mentality is like no other. An unsung hero, he is a true American patriot. 9. Underneath the hard exterior, he is honest and thoughtful. Raised to believe that family always comes first, he will go without so that they will not suffer. The man is not boastful or conceited, yet a taste of contentment and pride dances in his eyes.


Some may call him a lunatic; others may think that he is only the product of poverty and ignorance. This man, however, is the backbone of his country. A farmer, a friend, a laborer, and lover, he is the reason that others can reach out and accomplish their own dreams. He is not ordinary, he is extraordinary. He is America.



I have a lot of trouble with getting all of my tenses right so if you see anything wrong there, let me know as well :) I'm also debating whether I should change the metaphore at the end of 'He is America' into a little clearer of a sentance by writing instead; 'He is the American Dream.' But I'm not sure if that makes sense either? Which do you prefer?

Thanks!

Faceman 03-06-2013 06:52 PM

There are a few minor issues here and there, but considering your age, it is pretty good. You do need to start a few more sentences with the subject. It is good to insert a "Withered but worn, he..." rather than a "He was withered and worn, but..." once in a while for variety, but you have done it so much in that particular essay it jumps out as a pattern that, when done that repetitively, can be annoying to a reader...

Endiku 03-06-2013 06:55 PM

I see. Thanks for the input! My teacher is such a stickler for not using Subject-verb sentances that I tend to get overly happy with certain sentance variations that I am most comforable with xD Are there any specific ones that you think would be best to omit or change, or should I just pick a few? Writing sentances in that format has also become an easy way for me to advoid to be verbs, since I'm only allowed to have three (and I strive for less) in the whole essay. She just hasn't noticed quite as quickly as you did. LOL

Faceman 03-06-2013 07:07 PM

No specific advice - just space them out so the overall syntax is a variety that flows well rather than having a consistent and recognizable pattern the reader comes to look for and expect...

tinyliny 03-06-2013 11:19 PM

I was looking for you to elucidate the things that the Farmer knew that others don't. I mean, your first paragraph said, "he knows things that they do not"

Given that openning paragraph I was looking for you to kind of enumerate the things a farmer knows that others do not. Why he chooses this lifestyle that "others cannot wrap their mind around why".

To me, it's overly flowery. And, it implies that only farmers have family values.
What DO farmers know that we do not?
That at any moment a hail storm can reduce all their hard work to nothing.
That they are at the mercy of a fickle and often unpredictable world market, wherein events halfway across the globe can play havoc with the pricing of the product they planted half a year ago.

that they must creatively manage debt in order to survive, let alone prosper.
That their land , itself, holds potential. literall in its' soil, and they must husband that soil so it is available for THEIR children.

that what they produce from their land is a demonstration of their own strength and determination, and thus something they have complete freedom to take pride in. They are not just a cog in the wheel. They are their own wheel.

Shropshirerosie 03-07-2013 12:02 AM

Hi Endiku. I have gone through it as you asked and made some observations in bold in the middle of your text. I hope you can follow them as I wrote them.

But I'll caveat all with the thought that as I do not know where you are in your education, nor what your tutor's expectations are, I would like you to take it all with a pinch of salt.

Creative writing is subjective and whilst we all have our opinions, they are just that. Stick to your guns if you have chosen a particular wording for a reason.

The Farmer which farmer? One you were talking about earlier? I would be more comfortable reading this if you start "An American Farmeris a direct example of the handiwork of God. Though at a glance he may not appear to be anything of great importance, he is one of the few beings a farmer is not a being, he's a human. Perhaps use the word 'people' insteadthat understand what truly living means. He works the soil with his own hands, strong and surei would go with 'with his own strong, sure hands'; although your tutor may suggest that this is too romanticised as the truth is he works the land with big expensive machinery. Few can wrap their minds around why he chooses the life that he leads, and many scoff at the idea of constant labor for such little payoffperhaps 'return' instead of payoff, but he knows things that they do not. This man is an example of a different type of brilliance than the world is used to accepting, but this makes him no less valuable.


He is the epitome of strength. Though his stature perhaps 'physique' would be more useful here than stature, which suggests height rather than overall physical appearancemay not be one of rippling muscle or unequalled height, he commands respect why? Weathered and worn, his hands have seen many days of exhausting labor, and could tell their own story if only one would listenI understand what you are trying to say here, but this doesn't make sense. Hands don't talk - and we ARE listening. "Could tell their own stories, if only hands could talk" make sense. Not sure I like it though!. Modestly, I think the "modestly" is clunky and unecessaryhe does not rejoice in the brand of his clothing or the price of his boots, but rather he thankfully wears whatever will suffice to cover his back and protect his weary feet.


Simple yet fulfilling, his lifestyle is not full of glory or fame. Exhausted, the man knows that there will be no thanks for his toiling yet he works from dawn to dusk, ensuring that his family will never go without provisionsthis sentence did grate with me a little. We all know farmers, and they do get thanks, and some of them make money too! It just seems a little over-romanticised here. The laborer does not take what he has not earned, but he does not hesitate to give the shirt off of his back to a man in need. There is no need for extravagant things and shiny blingbling is slang - perhaps use the word 'treasures' or make it more relevant 'for extravagant things and the latest technology, for his treasure lies with the land that he tends and the family that he adores.


Crafted by the land and life that he loves, his mentality is like no otherexcept all the other farmers out there. An unsung hero, he is a true American patriot. 9. Underneath the hard exterior, he is honest and thoughtful. Raised to believe that family always comes first, he will go without so that they will not suffer. The man is not boastful or conceited, yet a taste of contentment and pride dances in his eyes.


Some may call him a lunatic; others may think that he is only the product of poverty and ignorance. This man, however, is the backbone of his country. A farmer, a friend, a laborer, and lover, he is the reason that others can reach out and accomplish their own dreams. He is not ordinary, he is extraordinary. He is America.

TurkishVan 03-07-2013 02:52 AM

I'm not going to critique your essay, since I'm not great with that type of thing. But I will give you a tip that always helped me on essays of any type, but especially timed essays.

My H.S. english instructor always said this about structuring an essay:

"Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em,
Tell 'em,
Tell 'em what you told 'em."

Obviously you don't say something like, "I'm going to tell you about blah blah blah... Here's a bit about blah blah blah... Now that I've told you about blah blah blah..." But it helps you stay on top of your thoughts, and on track in general.
It's the one tip that always helped me when the clock was counting down! I ended up getting very good scores in the writing portion of the ACT, and I can thank that tip for those scores.

Endiku 03-07-2013 09:23 AM

AGHHH. HF just ate my post. I'm not rewriting that xD

Thanks so much for the input guys, and I really am taking it all in and trying to use it. Tinyliny, I think you made a very valid point about my writing being overly romanticized and unrealistic. I think I was listening to The Farmer by Paul Harvey one too many times. Perhaps it would be more tasteful if I selected a specific farmer as the person that I craft my essay around, in order to keep from generalizing too much and being unclear or untrue? I do realize that farmers are tough men who take a lot of chances, and believe it or not that was actually my intent in sharing my words- but I see that my intent got lost in my words...yet again xD I will try to reword it to make it better sound like a farmer, and answer unanswered questions better dispite my lack of room to write.

Shropshirerosie- Thanks so much for doing that! I love some of your changes, especially 'physique' rather than stature, and I didn't even catch that bling was slang. Whoops! Ofcourse, unfortunately, although HF and perhaps your community supports its farmers and thanks them, I live in a sort of-country-being-taken-over-by-urbanism area where they're really considered to be the scum of the earth. Most people around here are of the opinion that we're 'too advanced' for such things now, and are constantly trying to force family farmers out of town. Its rediculous. Again, maybe I should be refering to a singular, personalized farmer rather than generalizing?

As for some of the sentance changes that some of you suggested, I do agree but annoyingly enough, they are actually required to appear in my essay in at least one sentance each, and if I ommitted them I would just have to put them in somewhere else. I am required to have one prepositional phrase, one present participle, one past participle, one appositive (still working on that), one paired adjective, one sentance starting with an -LY verb (hence, Modestly.....-), one word sentance less than 6 words, and less than 3 To Be verb sentances... all in a 400 word essay. Its rediculous!


For those who weren't sure, I'm a Junior which makes me 17 years old. I'm taking Composition III with the Write Shop curriculum.

Shropshirerosie 03-07-2013 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Endiku (Post 1926702)
. I am required to have one prepositional phrase, one present participle, one past participle, one appositive (still working on that), one paired adjective, one sentance starting with an -LY verb (hence, Modestly.....-), one word sentance less than 6 words, and less than 3 To Be verb sentances... all in a 400 word essay. Its rediculous!


For those who weren't sure, I'm a Junior which makes me 17 years old. I'm taking Composition III with the Write Shop curriculum.

Ha! Now we know that, I think it's fair to say that your essay construction is looking pretty good. It's hard to create something that flows when you have so many constraints.

Appositive...

The farmer, the man who grows the food I eat, is an example of the handiwork of god.

His hands, those iron fists that drive tractors, tap at computers, and cradle new-born lambs, are rough and weathered.

Oh, and yes I think it works better if you make it about one man.

Endiku 03-07-2013 04:24 PM

Yeah, and that is only about half of the restrictions xD I also can't use first person (I think? I need to check), must follow the rules of Parellelism, mustn't use any words from a list of weak words (100) that we had to memorize, and sometimes we're given a special 'twist' in the essay where we have to add personification, extended metaphores, illusions, parallel sentances, similes, and mirroring techniques. Needless to say, it is hard and often makes essays sound odd, but I guess it will help in the long run.

I'm going to switch things around to talk about ONE particular farmer and use a few of your suggestions, and I will repost it tonight or tomorrow :)


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