Saturday, August 29, 2009


by Steve Minton, Author, Editor & B.A. in English, Boston University.

"The simple secrets to success with college and business writing…revealed!"

Keep reading through this entire blog and you will learn:

- How to ace your college term papers and essay tests…without cheating.

- A step-by-step plan to unleash your creativity and write top-notch fiction, short stories and poetry

- How to avoid the biggest mistakes made in cover letters and resumes…and land that dream job!

Photograph (C) VIP Photographics. All rights reserved.

(C) 2009 T.S. Steve Minton and Interfusion Publishing, Tucson Arizona. All rights reserved.

"Thanks, Steve. Your booklet was really helpful to me when I was under pressure to get my papers done to graduate from vocational college. Your step-by-step approach helped me brainstorm ideas more effectively, and also gave me an intelligent structure to follow which saved me hours of time. You helped ensure my success."
- Rashel Johnson, graduate, Chaparral College, Tucson, Arizona

"Quite simply, your versatile writing ability never ceases to amaze me. More than that, your booklet has helped me to become a better writer. You provide a veritable arsenal of techniques to blow the professors away. It's mandatory reading for students who want to take their writing craft to a higher plateau. Kudos and thanks for the preview."
- Rick Oravec, MBA, Fordham University, New York City

"It looks fantastic, Steve. Congratulations and my deep respect for all that you have pulled together here."
- Prof. Mark B. Woodhouse, Ph.D., former chairman of undergraduate philosophy department and Associate Professor Emeritus, Georgia State University, and author of the widely used college textbooks A Preface to Philosophy and Paradigm Wars: Worldviews for a New Age.

"Your site is quite impressive. I actually printed the resume and cover letter section because my partner is presently writing one and I myself am writing cover letters for the new development stage I am in. I did get a lot out of the cover letter material and believe it helped me to redo my cover letters to be more effective. It's great when there is a document to follow that tells what should be there and what should not."
- Paul JJ Alix, founder of YOGA for ALL school in New York City; yoga practitioner for 27 years and teacher for 17 years, certified instructor for seminars and workshops for the New York City Parks Department, throughout America and internationally.

  • Additional credentials and testimonials for author T.S. Steve Minton are posted here.


This book has been designed to provide useful and informative material on the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and author are not engaged in rendering professional services. If the reader requires such assistance or advice, a competent professional should be consulted. The publisher and author make no guarantees as to the numerical grade any student will attain when using this resource for their assignments, nor can we guarantee that the job seeker will obtain his or her desired position. They specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this book. The publisher and author provide unique information, tools, and distinctions; the student and job seeker must provide the individual effort which is such an indispensable component of successful writing.

Recommended video:

Term paper/research paper strategies for narrowing and filtering an academic topic in order to generate a research question and outline for your term paper.

The first strategy is to apply three tests that any workable research topic must pass: a topic must be debatable, plausible, and consequential. The second strategy is a series of filters to further narrow the research topic: theme, place, time.

Last, you will use the two strategies (tests and filters) to generate a research question to guide your search for sources and information.

Chapter 1: Academic Term Papers and Essays

Section 1: An Overview of Academic Writing

Make the process of academic writing your friend, or it will become your surest enemy. You need no frantic late night vigils, nor the dubious panacea of phony term paper services to write persuasive and powerful papers. It takes a step by step process, revealed to you in this writing tutorial program. First-rate writers begin by heeding the advice of that classic guide book to writing, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White: "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the
same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."

As a student assigned to compose an academic term paper, you must understand and meet your instructor's expectations and criteria for a successful paper, realize the biases of this person, and play his or her game. Carefully inspect the paper's assignment sheet, speak directly to the instructor, and answer the following questions:

What will it take for me to compose a perfect paper for this instructor? Precisely what does he or she want? What guidelines must I follow? What method must I use to convince the instructor I have constructed a persuasive argument? What format must I use for endnotes, footnotes and references? What resources are available to help me successfully write this paper?

Section 2: The Academic Term Paper

To compose a successful academic term paper, we must understand its two components: FORM and CONTENT. The form is the paper's structure, its skeletal frame. Upon this frame we place the meat of the composition, the content of what you have to say. We will analyze content and form, since you need both the content of a persuasive thesis, something to say which you must defend, and a means of logically presenting this argument, the ready framework the form provides. These two components of writing work always in tandem, according to the specific paper's requirements. The Virtual Writing Tutor provides tools and distinctions for better writing, for you to apply to your particular writing situation and finish with aplomb.

Section 3: Getting Started: The Thesis

First and foremost, as an academic writer you must
understand the difference between...


The subject is what your paper is about, its topic. The thesis is your argument regarding this issue, the idea the piece will support. You must support your arguments by persuasive evidence and reasons for your position. If your subject is too broad, a good thesis gives you focus by limiting the perameters of the inquiry. Ross Garner reminds us that "the inquiry of a short critical paper must be tiny in scope that it may be deep in reach; it must not deal with big things superficially, but with little things really."

Let's clarify the difference between subject and thesis. "Homelessness is a prevalent problem in
America today" states a subject. This statement tells us the paper is about America's homelessness problem, but gives no reasons nor argument to explain this fact. "Homelessness in America is caused by the addiction and pathology of homeless people" is a thesis statement. Throughout the paper, the writer must defend this argument that homelessness in American society is caused by the addictive and pathological behavior of homeless people. Another writer, starting from the same subject of homelessness, might present a different thesis such as "Homelessness in America is caused by the unfair and unequal distribution of wealth." To limit the scope of the inquiry, the writer could explore the issue of homelessness in a specific region or state of the United States, and apply the thesis to that specific area. Now apply these distinctions to your own topic, and develop a thesis which your paper will support.

Section 4: Generating Thesis Ideas

Perhaps you are stuck and feel you cannot develop a compelling thesis. You need not fret and fume, nor should you resort to a bogus term paper service. Take a deep breath, and let's visualize the process of writing as akin to a MAP for a JOURNEY. Consider your outline (consisting of INTRODUCTION, BODY, and CONCLUSION) as the map, which gives the general contours of your destination, without telling what happens on the journey. Take assurance in E. M. Forster's remark, "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"

A technique enabling you to see what you have to say is CLUSTERING (also called “Mind Mapping”) a "whole brain" method of generating ideas, visually organizing information, and making a plan for the paper.

OUTLINING is a familiar way of organizing your ideas, though clustering has the advantage of utilizing your brain's visual and verbal sides. To cluster a topic, place the name of that topic in the middle of a piece of paper, and draw a circle around it. Branch off from this original topic circle by drawing connecting lines to any words that freely come to mind regarding the topic, then put a circle around these associated words. Don't worry about organizing these thoughts; just let the associations pour out. Then you can look at your clusters and group related concepts together. You may add tiny pictures and colored pens to help you distinguish and organize your bits of information.

Remember to utilize "The Journalist's Questions" to clarify the precision of your subject and the point of your thesis: "Who, What, Where, When, How, Why?"

The Thesis

The thesis statement is the single most important aspect of your paper; it is, essentially, the
justification for its very existence. A good thesis sentence should contain:

- Your basic argument

- The blueprint for the organization of your supporting details

Developing the Argument - Topic versus thesis

At the outset of your brainstorming, you will likely first decide on a topic for your paper; namely, the particular subject you plan to address in response to the assignment (in some cases, the assignment will already include a specific topic). Your job in formulating a thesis is to find a specific statement to make about that topic.

Section 5: The Paper's Basic Structure

Once you have a compelling thesis, you can apply it to the paper's BASIC STRUCTURE: INTRODUCTION, BODY, and CONCLUSION, the beginning, middle, and end of the
paper. Let's take a closer look at these basic but important elements of academic writing.


The paper's most important sentence is the first. Make sure the opener grabs the reader's attention, and compels further reading. In the introduction you will summarize the essence of your argument, the thesis, which you will support throughout the body of the paper. The introduction sets up the EXPECTATIONS for the rest of the paper.

Be direct and concise; imagine you are telling your best friend or roommate about your paper, and express your passionate position on this issue. Then transform your ideas into formal academic language.


Here's where you defend your position with everything you've got: argument, persuasion, examples, and definitions of your terms. You will present the DATA that either
fulfills or reverses the EXPECTATIONS you set up in the introduction. Soon we will examine more closely these tools of persuasion.


Here you wrap things up, but realize that a powerful conclusion does not reiterate everything you have already said throughout the paper. You must distill the
essence of your thesis, and also surpass what has come before. Save the best for last; go out with a bang not a whimper!

Section 6: Writing and Rewriting

The student writer needs to take heart, and realize even the best writers usually write and rewrite their material before they have a worthwhile piece. You must plan, draft, revise,
and edit, often more than once. Gene Fowler assures us that "(w)riting is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead." Red Smith offers further consolation: "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and
open a vein." If we replace "sheet of paper" with "computer screen" and "typewriter" with "word processor," the tough love wisdom of these wags remains. There is no such thing
as getting more out of anything than what you put into it, in any sphere of life! The goal of this manual is to provide you with timesaving techniques and tips, so that you can direct the efforts demanded of you with greater intelligence and effectiveness. When you apply your thesis to the BODY and CONCLUSION of the paper, the process of THESIS, ANTITHESIS, and SYNTHESIS becomes a useful model. Present your argument or thesis step by step, give a fair and objective
presentation of the opposing viewpoint or antithesis, then draw an original conclusion or synthesis. Consider this process also in terms of EXPECTATIONS, DATA, and ELABORATION. The introduction creates expectations for the rest of the paper, and the writer fulfills them or surprises us with the unexpected.

Skillfully present your data (including opposing points of view) in the body of the paper, and

Section 7: Point of View

To transform your thesis into an incisive work of writing, the piece requires a distinctive point of view. The writer needs to account for AUDIENCE, SITUATION, and PERSONA.

1) For what AUDIENCE do you write? Use the hypothetical "R.I.R." (Reasonably Intelligent Reader) as a guideline. You need not talk down to your audience as ignoramuses, nor can
you assume that their swift intelligence simply "should" agree with whatever argument you present. As a writer you must NEVER commit the literary "mortal sin" of assuming that
your reader agrees with you; otherwise, you neglect the hard work an academic paper requires: to state your major premise, argue, persuade, illustrate, and define your terms.

2) What SITUATION prompts you to write? What is your SUBJECT, and what is your viewpoint or THESIS regarding the subject?

3) What PERSONA are you using in the piece? What worldview are you adopting: Conservative Republican, Liberal Democrat, Marxist-Revolutionary, Fundamentalist Christian, New Age
Mystic, Scientific-Rationalist, Radical Feminist, or something not so easily classified? What are the attitudes, ideologies, presuppositions, and limitations behind your particular belief system? Consider, present, and refute an intelligent counter-argument to your persona's belief system.

Chapter #2: Academic Term Papers Part Two : Style and

Now that we have a general overview of how to write a powerful academic paper, we present a variety of specific styles and techniques designed to help you write more successfully.

Section 1: Regarding Essay Tests

Learn to anticipate the kinds of questions the instructor is likely will ask on a test, by paying close attention to what he or she focuses on in class. Note the essential words on the
essay test question, such as "compare," "contrast," "analyze," "define," etc., and do just that. Plan your response with an outline or the clustering technique, assess the time available, and use it efficiently. Engrave on your mind this invaluable tip for succeeding on essay tests: Always give the gist of what you have to say in the first paragraph, then spend the rest of your time elaborating on this thesis paragraph. In the time provided, you cannot expect to construct
an essay utilizing all the techniques discussed in this manual. By "spilling all the beans" in the first paragraph, you show that you know your stuff; by elaborating throughout the rest of the paper, you show you've done your homework and can defend this position.

Section 2: Sentence Styles

Here are some specific SENTENCE STYLES to spice up your writing:

1) The This - Not That Pattern

Example: "By just a whim of fashion, not by aesthetic choice, disco became a fad."

2) The Not Only - But Pattern

Example: "A human being must live not only a private life as an individual, but also a life in society among his or her fellow citizens."

3) The Just As - So Too Pattern

Example: "Just as the summer sun can cause brush fires, so too can absolute power corrupt absolutely."

4) The If Not - At Least Pattern

Example: "The investor wants results, if not a dollar more, at least not a dollar less."

5) The More - The More (or Less) Pattern

Example: "The more Odysseus tries to sail home, the more he loses his way."

6) The One - The Other Pattern

Example: "There are two factors for success in art: one, to practice your art
and attain mastery; two, to find a patron, or become your own patron."

Section 3: Types of Linguistic Statements

Let's examine three types of linguistic statements: REPORT, INFERENCE, and JUDGMENT. By understanding these distinctions, you gain tremendous intellectual precision and avoid the wishy-washiness which plagues inexperienced writers.

1) A REPORT is a statement subject to universal agreement; it is a verifiable account of events, with no judgment passed on these events.

Example: Ronald Wilson Reagan served as President of the United States from 1980 to 1988.

2) An INFERENCE is a statement about the unknown based on the known; it is subject to common consent but not universal agreement.

Example: In our lifetimes, there will not be an economic catastrophe like the New York Stock Market crash of 1929.

3) A JUDGMENT is strictly a matter of private opinion; it expresses the writer's approval or
disapproval, it always says more about the speaker than the issue under consideration, and it expresses utter subjectivity.

Example: Michelangelo was the greatest artist of all time.

Section 4: Tools for Analytical Thinking

To more convincingly present the argumentative thread of your thesis, you should utilize INDUCTIVE reasoning, DEDUCTIVE reasoning, and SYLLOGISM .

Let's peruse these methods of logic...

1) The INDUCTIVE method goes from specific to general observations, from minor to major premises. First you collect the raw data, set up your conditions ("If this, then that"), and then you develop your hypothesis.

2) The DEDUCTIVE method goes from general to specific observations, from major to minor premises. Then you develop your conclusion. Example: Starting from the general observation and major premise that "murder is wrong," we can make the specific observation that "murdering Joe Smith is wrong." Using the deductive method, a thesis starting from the general premise that "the cause of homelessness in America is the unfair and unequal distribution of wealth" then could analyze the specific homeless situation in New York City.

3) SYLLOGISM is a form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. Example: The Greek philosopher Socrates presented a classic syllogism. "All men are mortal" is the major premise. "Socrates is a man" is the minor premise. "Therefore
Socrates is mortal" is the logical conclusion of this syllogism. All syllogisms follow this pattern, where A has B, C is part of A, therefore C has A. Utilize this method to argue the logic of your thesis. Conversely, the wise writer avoids the following LOGICAL FALLACIES...

ASSASSINATION: (Ad Hominem in Latin literally means
"to the man.") Different names for when an opponent of a belief attacks the personality and character of the belief's proponent, rather than the contentions of the argument.

2) ARGUING FROM AUTHORITY: Quoting from authorities and experts does not in itself prove your point. After all, experts have been proven wrong at times. You need to explain the
reasons for your position, not merely name-drop its supporters.

3) EMOTIONALLY LOADED LANGUAGE: Using words with emotional rather than intellectual connotations is often a means of evading a debate over the legitimacy of the argument itself.

When the Supreme Court denied appeal for controversial death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal in fall 1999, two headlines appeared online: "Convicted Cop Killer Denied Appeal" and "Political Prisoner Denied Appeal." Both statements represent entrenched positions, supported
by emotional fervor. Such incendiary language discourages sober analysis of Abu Jamal's innocence or guilt. Writers usually use pejorative terms such "nonsense" or "pure hokum" to
dismiss rather than refute controversial topics. Do you believe something is manifestly nonsensical? Don't just say so and pretend that settles the issue. I repeat that you must state
your major premise, argue, persuade, illustrate, and define your terms -- and enjoy trying to eviserate your opponents. Otherwise you're only preaching to what you imagine as
your choir.

4) UNIVERSALS/ABSOLUTIST STATEMENTS such as all, every, never, and always are strong words properly reserved for cases of apodictic (absolute) certainty. Let's take the always controversial topic of Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs, and note the absolutist language employed by following ideological groups, in statements I have created which often (not always!) characterize the viewpoints of these warring paradigms.

1) Scientific Materialist Skepticism

"All UFOs can be explained by hoax, hallucination, or misidentification of prosaic phenomena, or by hallucination."

2) New Age "True Believers"

"All UFOs are alien crafts containing our benevolent Space Brothers and Sisters who are here to enlighten us and solve all of humanity's problems."

3) Christian Fundamentalism

"All UFOs are the work of the Devil, deceptive signs and wonders of the apocalyptic end times."

Although these groups often violently oppose one another, regarding UFOs they share (in my
characterization of their dominant views) a preference for dogma over scrupulous analysis of a complex and baffling phenomenon, a reflexive attitude of certainty antithetical to true
critical thinking. The topics of your term papers might be more mundane; you nevertheless will benefit when you cease to generalize and ask yourself: Do I really mean all? every? never? always?

Section 5: Definitions: Formal, Negative, and Stipulative

The three types of DEFINITIONS are a powerful system for organizing and clarifying your subject and thesis. Forthwith...

1) FORMAL definition consists of TERM, CLASS, and DIFFERENTIA. Let's take the topic of rock and roll, considered our term. The class of this term, rock and roll, consists of a specific description of what the thing is: a form of music emergent in 1950s American culture, derived from rhythm and blues music, with important antecedents in jazz and country and western. Based upon their viewpoints, various observers will define the class and its subsequent differentia. Take Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart (who are cousins, as dramatized in the film Great Balls of Fire). Singer Lewis might define the class of the term rock and roll as "a form of youth music meant to make you dance and bring you to wild abandon." His evangelist cousin
Swaggart probably would define the class of the term rock and roll as "a form of youth music based on sin and depravity, the work of the Devil." Differentia refers to specific distinctions about the term and class underconsideration. Differentia for rock and roll might

a) it's a youth music

b) it's heavy and fast-paced, primarily based in rhythm and blues

c) it can be electric or acoustic and

d) it can be lyrical or instrumental. The differentia you choose to highlight depends on the viewpoint implied by your thesis.

2) NEGATIVE DEFINITION tells what the subject under consideration is not. Example: "Rock and roll music is not a music for the cultural elite."

3) STIPULATIVE DEFINITION is almost totally private and personal; more than anything it tells the emotional state of the writer. Example: "Rock and roll music is nothing but a
form of degradation." Let's probe a controversial subject such as the Vietnam War, to see how different groups apply varied definitions to describe the same event. The average American of the 1960s era termed the event a "war." According to China, it was a "war of liberation" by
North Vietnam. The U.S. government insisted on calling the event a "police action." North Vietnam regarded it as a "civil war," while the people of South Vietnam saw it as an
"invasion." The guerrillas in South Vietnam hailed the conflict as a "revolution." The writer should understand how the definition itself defined, and hence created for these different groups their perspective on the reality of Vietnam. The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a stark reminder of the ultimate reality of this catastrophic event, the massive death and human tragedy which transcend the perspectives of language and ideology.

"Got writer's block? Unfinished masterpieces? These free short story writing help tips will help you finish more quickly and bring your work to the world.”

How do you save hours of false starts and find the key to inspiration? Start applying these free short story writing tips...

The Short Story Starts With Character

An enduring short story will make CHARACTERIZATION the primary emphasis, with the plot developing from the interaction of these deeply etched characters. Apply to your story the notion that our character evokes our life's destiny. Know your characters intimately. What is your character's MOTIVATION? What is their IDENTITY? What are their VALUES? What are their FEARS AND DESIRES? What is their exact appearance? What are their characteristic body postures, their manner of speaking, how do they twitch or sit in a chair? Certain characters can be aspects of your alter ego, expressing your deepest held beliefs about life. Other characters can represent the qualities you most despise. Put yourself, and anyone you've ever met, into your characters. A single character can synthesize a dozen people you've known in your life.

In general, if you want to write convincing stories, you will write about what you know deeply, from your own EXPERIENCE. If you want to write convincingly about what you haven't experienced, you should do intensive research and interviews, and possess a world class imagination. Meditate on this quote from Thomas Wolfe's novel Look Homeward Angel:

"Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?"

Literature is a way of bridging this silent gulf between people, a form of companionship, an expression of what is most essential and meaningful about human life. Express in your stories what you believe human life is all about, your viewpoint on the meaning of existence.

The Elements of Storytelling

Strive for FOCUS in your short story. Every detail you present should reinforce your driving theme. Everything you put in the story should be integral, nothing should be gratuitous. Remember John Steinbeck's advice to "Know your story in 10 words before you tell it in 1000."

A good short story writer will account for the following elements in their story:

1) CHARACTER: Develop your characters, explore their interactions and value conflicts, and their internal life or "interior monologue."

2) CONFLICT: Have a protagonist, the principal character in the story, and an antagonist, the adversary to the protagonist. The writer can also portray an "anti-hero," a character notably lacking in heroic qualities, such as Holden Caulfield in the adolescent classic The Catcher in the Rye. Jack Kerouac's fictionalized portrayal of Beat Generation avatar Neal Cassady as frantic, endearing, but selfish Dean Moriarity in On the Road straddles the line between hero and anti-hero.

3) PLOT: The action of the story, what happens.

4) THEME: The main idea of the story. To understand the difference between plot and theme, consider Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The plot of the story concerns Captain Ahab's search for Moby Dick to gain revenge. The theme of the novel concerns the nature of evil and God, and profound questions of destiny versus free will.

5) SETTING: The place where the action is set.

6) MOOD/ATMOSPHERE: The feeling and emotion that the story evokes.

7) DESCRIPTION: Give concrete details of people and things.

8) SYMBOLISM: The meanings of the events and images in the story. Symbolism means when one thing represents or stands for another thing. Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his long allegorical poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner uses the visible symbol of the albatross to represent the invisible realm of spirit which underlies matter. When the Ancient Mariner shoots the albatross, a harbinger of good luck on his sea voyage, it becomes an omen of ill fortune and a symbol of the Mariner's defiance of the mysterious and unknown realm of spirit. By slaying the albatross, the Mariner enters into discord with nature, which brings disaster to his shipmates and forces him to repent and to reconcile with the divine and the malevolent aspects of the spiritual universe.

9) IMAGERY: The recurring visual aspects of the story, related to symbolism.

10) STANDPOINT: The viewpoint of the narrator, for example the first person voice of the protagonist, or the omniscient voice who knows everything about all the characters in the story. The rise of literary High Modernism in the early 20th century emphasized the importance of the subjective inner monologue (e.g. James Joyce's Ulysses and the works of William Faulkner), often depicted as multilayered montages of narrative perspectives which undercut the notion of the narrator's omniscience. Literary Postmodernism took these trends of narrative ambiguity and perspectivism to new edges of chaos and deconstruction. Again we depart from the scope of this online course. I refer readers interested in the new trajectories of narrative experimentalism (in relation to the online world) and discussion of "isms" to the online work of Mark Amerika at For an intelligent critique of Amerika's work, go to Clicking for Godot: Interactive art struggles to produce masterpieces by Scott Rosenberg at

11) LANGUAGE: The situation the author describes determines he proper type and tone of language to use.

12) DIALOGUE: To write convincing, realistic dialogue, listen closely to what people around you say, and remember the timbre and quality of their voices. Make photocopies of good examples you encounter in your reading, and keep files of them to use as models to follow in your own writing.

Use these elements of storytelling to have a "map" for your story, a general idea of where you want to go, but allow writing to be a process of discovery. The first sentence of the story is crucial, since it hooks the reader, and often sums up the theme of piece. Write and rewrite your story until you are satisfied. Reading your story aloud is a great way to comb out awkward language. Burn this phrase into your brain and act on it: Writers are readers! Remember the advice of Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson: "For a man to write well, there are required three necessities: to read the best authors, observe the best speakers, and much exercise of his own style."

"Got writer's block? Clustering and Mind Mapping are the cure."

CLUSTERING is a "whole brain" method of generating ideas, visually organizing information, and making a plan for the piece of writing. OUTLINE WRITING is a familiar way of organizing your ideas, though clustering has the advantage of utilizing your brain's visual and verbal sides.

To cluster a topic, place the name of that topic in the middle of a piece of paper, and draw a circle around it. Branch off from this original topic circle by drawing connecting lines to any words that freely come to mind regarding the topic, then put a circle around these associated words. Don't worry about organizing these thoughts, just let the associations pour out with the free rhythm of the mind. Then you can look at your clusters and group related concepts together, and re-do the cluster map for more refinement of your concepts, as many times as needed to get clarity. You may add tiny related pictures and colored pens to help you distinguish and organize your bits of information.

The British brainpower expert Tony Buzan developed a system analogous to clustering, called MIND MAPPING. I've used this method of visual thinking for years, to stimulate my imagination on creative projects, focus on goal setting, and even deal with life crises (since a problem always becomes more manageable when it's written down, and even more so when it's visualized).

Poetry Writing Help
Struggling to find the key to inspiration for your poems? These free poetry writing resources will solve the mysteries and awaken your poetic vision.

"The diary of a frustrated poet...doesn't have to be your story. These free poetry writing tips can give you the key to inspiration."

Introduction to Creative Writing
It's true: creative writing is a wonderfully liberating way of expressing your feelings, experiences, and views on the world. Many people wish they could express themselves in writing, but imagine that to write well takes a magical elixir. I'm here to remove this mystique; I'll provide approaches and tools for people who want to get started in writing poetry and short stories, but perhaps don't know where to begin. Admittedly, the following system will be a concise but not comprehensive introduction. To become a successful writer always takes great effort and persistence. I advise all writers to remember the sagacious words of William Faulkner in his 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature speech:
"The problems of the human heart in conflict with itself...alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat." Faulkner insisted that the writer deal only with "the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed: love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."

The successful short story writer and poet, like any creative artist, learns to balance creativity and discipline. The free flow of ideas, images, and insights can exhilarate the writer, but you should balance these sensations with structure and form, if you wish to effectively communicate your vision with others.

How to Generate Writing Ideas
Many inexperienced writers innocently wonder of professional writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" To which the controversial fantasy author Harlan Ellison always replies, with typical sarcasm, "From an idea factory in Schenectady." Ideas come actually from the playful interaction of reality and the imagination. We could not imagine a purple horse unless the color purple, and an animal called the horse, existed already in nature. The activity of the imagination combines these two pre-existing things, and creates the synergy of something new. Learn how to observe the world with real penetration; the person at the bus stop or in the grocery check-out line can provide ample material for stories, if you discover how to really look, question, imagine, and record. Here are some splendidly productive methods for brainstorming ideas for writing:

1) Keep a DREAM LOG, a daily journal of your dreams. Write them down as soon as you wake up, even while you're half awake. Go back to these records when you're more lucid, and you may find that your unconscious has delivered a gold mine of ideas and images that you can utilize in your writing.
2) Keep a JOURNAL and write a little everyday: your daily events and ideas and observations and the people you meet. You will begin to see the world as a writer, through the prism of your observation and imagination. Remember the statement of success coach Anthony Robbins : "If your life if worth living, it is worth recording." Write down anecdotes from your daily life, from the people around you, from the evening news, from everywhere and anywhere, and you will soon have a wealth of raw material that can be expanded into a good short story or poem.
3) The "CUT-UP" technique developed by iconoclastic author William S. Burroughs definitely will generate surprising ideas. Take pages from any randomly selected printed matter -- books, magazines, junk mail, newspapers -- and divide one page horizontally into three strips of text, labeling the columns A, B, C. Divide another page with the same procedure, and do it to as many pages as you wish. Then get a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Transcribe the text from column A of one page, together with column A from another page. Combine these fragmented sentences to form a new, usually very bizarre sentence. You can transcribe these columns in any pattern you wish: ABCD, BADC, etc. The results may seem meaningless at first, but look deeper and you may trigger a flow of astonishing ideas and imagery to use in your writing. Here's an example of what can emerge (from The Third Mind by Burroughs and Bryon Gysin): "Interesting Mayan numerals repetitions associations rains start to realize green space travel Muslim trees in unexploded star." Use this sentence as a launching pad to generate further ideas. What associations do the Mayan numerals trigger in your brain? Or green space travel? What do Muslim trees have to do with unexploded stars? Use your imagination to draw your own exciting conclusions, then write them down.

Introduction to Poetry
Writer Jon Stallworthy gave an outstanding definition of what makes a poem in his essay on "Versification" in The Norton Anthology of Poetry: "A poem is a composition written for performance by the human voice." Nineteenth century English Romantic poet William Wordsworth described poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion reflected in tranquility." Rhythm, meter, and rhyme are important elements the poet utilizes in composing a poem. These elements interrelate to form a unified whole, based on the poem's central image. Imagery, simile, and metaphor are also important devices the poet uses to convey his or her message. To master poetry requires as much skill and disciplined practice as to master music, so naturally in this short guide we only can expose you to basic principles.

Structural Elements of Poetry
Let's briefly introduce you to the basic structural elements that combine to form a poem: rhythm, meter, rhyme, imagery, simile, and metaphor.

1) RHYTHM is a pattern of repeated sound, marked by the duration and quality of the repetition. The accent of a rhythm refers to the stress placed upon a specific word. Notice the rhythm and accents in this selection from Edgar Allan Poe's "Anabel Lee": "For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams/ Of the beautiful Anabel Lee/ And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes/ Of the beautiful Anabel Lee."
2) METER is a rhythm repeating a single basic pattern. A specific kind of meter is iambic pentameter, used by William Shakespeare in his sonnets: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? /Thou art more lovely and more temperate."
3) RHYME is of course the correspondence of word sounds. Study this selection from Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn": "Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness/ Thou foster child of silence and slow time/ Sylvan historian who canst thus express/ A flowery tale more sweet than our rhyme." Keats uses two kinds of rhyme: perfect rhyme ("time" and "rhyme"), and imperfect rhyme ("quietness" and "express").
4) IMAGERY refers to language evoking visual images. Visualize the stunning imagery evoked by this passage from Hart Crane's "Voyages II": "O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,/ Bequeath us to no earthly shore until/ Is answered in the vortex of our grave/ The seal's wide spindrift gaze toward paradise."
5) SIMILE is a figure of speech that creates a similarity, through the comparison of two things using the words "like" or "as" or "than," as in the phrase "our graves...are drawn like curtains."
6) METAPHOR is a figure of speech in which one thing stands for another, as in this passage from William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence": "To see a World in a Grain of Sand, / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, / And Eternity in an hour."
Methods for Writing Poems
In a poem you will communicate your deepest feelings and express your Big Ideas on the universe and life, but please do not be seduced by the sophomoric notion that art should consist of the unfettered expression of emotion. Never lose sight of Wordsworth's distinction that poetry originates from "emotion reflected in tranquility." You must set aside time for writing and stick to it, and eliminate all distractions. Listen to and record your inner voice, with all its concerns and preoccupations, even its tumult.

In this act of outpouring, however, your emotional honesty must not override your artistic control, if you aspire more to artistry than to mere confession or to the transcription of the utterances of the unconscious. Here we discuss the creation of literature, not the inner shadows of depth psychology and automatic writing or the supernatural vagaries of channeling. Nor does the scope of this online course encompass an advanced discussion of aesthetics or the philosophy of art; suffice to say that we can define art on both the functional and qualitative levels.
We can define art functionally (i.e. what does art do?) as the transmission of a vision of the world through a chosen artform, in this case poetry. The person beholding the message conveyed in the respective artform responds to the reality contained therein. Within this loose definition, the most haphazard and unedited artistic expressions have a place. After all, a vision has been communicated, right? Of course, this functional definition omits crucial questions of the value and quality of the transmitted message, of proper and improper art (see Joseph Campbell's Reflections on the Art of Living for definitions of these terms), of artistic ethics, and of the debasement or uplifting of the human spirit -- for surely there is a world of difference between, say, the Shakespearean sonnets and MTV's Jackass. If these multiple differences mean nothing to you, you should really ask yourself if you're in the right profession.

The qualitative definition of art (i.e. what is art's value?) seeks a transmission in which the human spirit has been enriched; the artist illuminates a new angle on the perennial predicaments of the human condition. This higher sphere of art and poetry consists of the refinement of the emotions of life into a plastic form (an "artifical universe" of creation, in whatever medium), a nuanced layering of meaning, an exquisite balance of the unconscious ground of creativity with the craft of conscious intent.

With due respect to those masters of excess, the vivid automatic writings of Andre Breton and his Surrealist cohorts, "the spontaneous bop prosody" of Jack Kerouac ("first thought, best thought") and the Beat Generation, and the finer fantasy moments of two-fingered typist and conscientious objector to re-writing Harlan Ellison, I encourage fledgling poets (and fiction writers) to err on the side of refinement not of unbridled expression.
Take Beat figure Neal Cassady, who despite his enormous influence as the prototype for Kerouac's fast-moving, fast-talking characters Dean Moriarity in On The Road and Cody Pomeroy in Visions of Cody, the profound impact of his "Joan Anderson Letter" (see The First Third & Other Writings) in forming Kerouac's "mad, confessional" onrushing style of "spontaneous prose" (also called "spontaneous bop prosody"), and his role as the spiritual mentor to author Ken Kesey's hippie multi-media pioneers The Merry Pranksters and to the intrepid traveling of The Grateful Dead 1 can be seen as squandering his literary and creative gifts on the altar of a reckless, Dionysian life of spontaneity and sensation. His wife Carolyn Cassady asks, "what talent, what originality does debasement and destruction require? As Henry Miller once told me - 'spontaneity' only has value when the underlying mind has something to offer." ("Off the Record & On the Road", interview in Organica magazine, autumn 1992) Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in his epochal classic "Howl" (1956) wrote of his feverish cohorts and himself as young writers "who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish." What poet has not experienced this disillusioned self-assessment of his or her "inspired" work, in the glare of the hard-boiled light of day? Writing is work, so start toiling in the vinyards. Let the wine pore forth from your very soul.

One way to begin your poem is to consider an experience you have had, a situation or predicament or realization in the midst of life. Make this experience the heart of the composition, the stimulus for your act of writing. Take this central perception and view it from many angles, brainstorm the images, words, and descriptive details that this experience summons up. Use the technique of CLUSTERING or MIND MAPPING to brainstorm efficiently. Write the word for your experience in the center of the page, and draw a circle around it. Then draw connecting balloons containing all the words you associate with this experience, letting your mind roam freely. Engage all your senses when developing imagery: sight, sound, taste, touch, and feel. Then choose an appropriate format to organize your poem: epic, dramatic, or lyric form, narrative poem, haiku and other forms (try villanelles, sestinas, sonnets, elegies, pastorals, ballads, pantoums, odes, blank verse, the stanza).
Ask your local librarian to help you find out more about the poetic formats and approaches that are best for you, or do independent online research (try the massive free resources at Columbia University's I recommend the book The Norton Anthology of Poetry (see below) and The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach , edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. Distinguished poet and your author's former Boston University professor Stuart Dischell recommends starting a poem by developing a strong first line, then letting that line suggest a direction for the rest of the poem. Let your writing juices flow, make writing into an act of self-discovery. Use the power of description to fire up your writing. Play with language, delight in its surprises, and become interested in words for their own sake, like e.e. e.e. cummings or Gwendolyn Brooks in the following poem:
"The Pool Players, Seven at the Golden Shovel"

We real cool.
We Left school.
We Lurk late.
We Strike straight.
We Sing sin.
We Thin gin.
We Jazz June.
We Die soon.

Always read your poem aloud to comb out awkward syntax, phrases, metaphors, or rhythms. Do not forget that poetry has always been an oral tradition. Share your work with friends and with other aspiring poets. Be responsive to their constructive criticism, but let no one quell your inner voice. I urge you to take further action: enroll in a workshop in poetry writing, ask your local librarian about contacting local and national poets, and read books on writing poetry such as those recommended on this page.

Resume Writing Tips

What are the 3 essential components your resumes must utilize immediately for you to avoid the "reject" pile and to hear the golden words "you're hired." Are you using these resume writing tips in your job search? Are you going to get that coveted handshake or pound the pavement some more? If you need free resume writing help, free sample resumes, or free sample cover letters, jump in

· The following method for writing resumes and cover letters can aid in your quest for gainful employment, during and after graduation.

1) In an effective resume the applicant must show, not just describe, their abilities and experience. You want to demonstrate, not simply list, the exact results you have achieved at your previous jobs. You should present yourself as a "resource person," a "can-do" type of individual, not as someone begging for a job.

2) Keep the resume short; one page is ideal, two is the maximum. The paragraphs and sentences should be short and concise. Be sure, however, not to leave out the precise details regarding your experience. Any proofreading errors of grammar, punctuation, or spelling are absolutely unacceptable. Such mistakes will only result in your resume getting placed in the "reject" pile.

3) The resume needs to be well organized and contain only relevant information; do not confuse the employer with a crazy jumble of data. Include no photos, fancy frills, or previous salary information. There are four recognized methods of organizing your resume: the chronological, the targeted, the functional, and the creative or alternative resume. Whichever format you prefer, all resumes should include the following: personal information such as name, address, and telephone number; career objective; education; work experience; skills, activities, and honors; and (optional) a statement that references are available upon request.

This type of resume gives a chronological list of your employment history, in jobs relating to the position for which you are applying. Put your name, address, area code and phone number at the top of the page, centered. Skip several spaces and list your work history under the title "EMPLOYMENT HISTORY," all in capitals and underlined, flush with the left margin. On the next line, type the years you worked, then type the employer's name, all in uppercase. Next list your job title, and the city and state of the employer. It is not necessary to list the exact address of your former employer. On the next line, tab a space and give details about your duties in this job. Remember to select only those details that best relate to the position for which you are applying.

The next category will be your "AWARDS AND MEMBERSHIPS," all in uppercase and underlined. List any award distinctions and affiliations.

Then move to the "EDUCATION" section, again all in capitals and underlined. List the year you graduated, the name of your school, and the degree you received. If you are a college graduate, your high school information is no longer relevant.

The final section is "PERSONAL." Keep this information to a minimum; list your date of birth if you wish, and any hobbies or pursuits only if they relate to your desired position. You would be wise, however, to leave out information on your sex, weight, and health.

Do not list specific references; instead put "References available upon request" centered, at the end of the resume. Some contemporary resume mavens recommend against this statement on references, since employers are already aware of this fact. At least have these references ready to fire off; if you make the grade they probably will be requested.


This type of resume targets a specific kind of job. Center your name, address, area code and phone number at the top of the page. Then list and fill in the following categories, following the format described above: JOB OBJECTIVE, ABILITIES, ACHIEVEMENTS, EMPLOYMENT EXPERIENCE, AWARDS and MEMBERSHIPS, EDUCATION, and PERSONAL.

Under the job objective category, remember to describe the position you desire in general, not specific terms. For instance, if you wanted to get hired as an assistant editor at Publishing Company XYZ, do not write "Job Objective: English B.A. seeks assistant editor position at Company XYZ," write instead "English B.A. seeks assistant editor position in magazine publishing field."


will present your experience in several different work areas. Center your name, address, and number as described above. Then list the categories "WORK AREA 1," "WORK AREA 2" and so forth (fill in the category with the specific names of the work areas in which you have experience). Then list the categories for your experience, education, and personal information.

is for applicants who march to a different drummer. It is ideal for creative fields like the fine arts, advertising, promotions, and so forth, but not so advisable for more conservative fields like commerce, banking, and industry.

Center your name, address, and number as in the previous examples. Under the category of "EXPERIENCE," list the employers you worked for, and the years during which you worked. What makes this resume "creative" or "alternative" is that you will describe your job duties and accomplishments with TEXT descriptions. Write full, descriptive sentences in this section, unlike the phrases you would use in the former examples.

The next section is for "EDUCATION," followed by the optional section "REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST," centered in the middle of the page.

Free Cover Letter Writing Help
These free cover letter writing help tips reveal how to give employers what they want when they decide who to grant an interview.the reject pile and hear the words "You're hired"?

Every cover letter should be brief, and the applicant must remember that the letter's sole purpose is to get an invitation for an interview. Give only the qualifications specified in the advertisement, otherwise volunteer no information. As with the resume, the letter must contain absolutely no proofreading errors, no mistakes of grammar, punctuation, or spelling. Use of "white-out" is unacceptable.

These are the components every successful cover letter should follow:

a) Identify yourself to the employer, name the contact person by name (Mr. or Ms. X) and state your objective for writing. Your goal is solely to stimulate the interest of the employer.

b) Express why you're writing to the employer, and present areas of mutual interest between yourself and the employer. Be personal but not chummy. Use the words "I" and "you" to establish rapport. Write in a language that will be readily understood by the employer. Demonstrate your special talents and expertise that relate to the desired position. Remember to come across as a "resource person," not as someone begging for a job.

c) Summarize any relevant education and experience that relate to the position.

d) Close the letter with a suggested course of follow-up action. Your goal is to get called for an interview, so state it. Say that you will call back at a specific time, generally a week after the letter is received.

e) Sign off with an appreciative statement such as "Sincerely yours" or "Cordially yours." Remember that the cover letter must have a meticulous appearance. The typing and printing must be perfect, as well as the proofreading. Be concise throughout the letter, and keep your focus not on yourself but on the employer's wants and desires. Never lie or exaggerate, don't put yourself down, and don't be obnoxious.

The Thank You Letter

When your cover letters and resumes achieve their desired effect - getting you the interview - do not neglect to send "thank you" notes to the person who interviewed you. On no account send these notes in a form letter; be sure to personalize them. Handwritten letters are best. Follow this procedure for a successful thank you letter:

1) Thank the interviewer, and express interest once again in obtaining the position.

2) Explain why you are a good candidate; refresh the interviewer's memory by mentioning something specific from your exchange during the interview.

3) Thank the interviewer again, and say that you look forward to hearing from them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Free Sample Essay on Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God
The following essay is intended for use only as a model of excellence for the college student�s own efforts. Copying any portion of this document is both a violation of copyright laws and an act of plagiarism punishable by expulsion. Please enjoy this free sample essay as a tool for literary comparison, but do not make it your own. Interfusion Press will cooperate fully with school administrations on this matter.

(start of cover page) "The Power of Language and the Sound of Silence in Their Eyes Were Watching God"
Final Paper, English 455: The Modern American Novel
Boston University English Department
Boston, Massachusetts
Professor John T. Matthews
T. Steven Minton
April 15, 1991
(end of cover page)
Zora Neale Hurston in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, (1937) emphasizes not only the power of language, but also its limitations. Hurston explores the centrality of language to human nature and to her own black culture. Encounters with characters who use the power of language to vastly different ends bring into focus protagonist Janie Crawford�s phases of development. Although language is a key theme in the novel, Janie reaches her deepest insights about herself in moments of silence. Her most intense experiences of yearning remain essentially incommunicable. In these moments the richly poetic authorial diction supercedes the exuberant but limited black vernacular that forms Janie's means of speech.
While Janie is keenly aware of the power and the danger of speech, she also realizes that when separated from authentic experience, language has its limits: "Course, talkin' don�t amount tuh uh hill uh beans when yuh can't do nuthin' else."1 From the novel�s opening, Hurston makes us notice the potential of language to both release and to oppress human beings. When �the Negroes� finish their day of stifling labor, "It was time to hear things and talk." All day they toiled like mules for their masters, but at home on their mighty porches "They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed notions through their mouths. They sat in judgment."2 The gossipy women who chatter about other people's doings reveal the less savory powers of language. Lacking direct experience of life, they can only drag others through the dirt.
Through the wisdom she has gained, Janie rises above their bothersome intrusions. She knows that "An envious heart makes a treacherous ear. They done 'heard' 'bout you just what they hope done happened."3 This practice of gratuitous talking can sometimes be joyous, as with the gabblers of Eatonville, who sit back on porches all day, engaged in "a contest of hyperbole and carried on for no other reason."4 But even this approach to speech can be pernicious; the men cruelly ridicule Matt Bonner's old mule, without regard for the man's feelings.
Joe Starks represents the use of language to gain personal power, through intimidation. Joe takes over the town of Eatonville, determined to become a "big voice." Unlike the good-for-nothing porch gabblers, who are "all talk," Joe "puts his money where his mouth is." He builds up the town, and appoints himself leader. He discourages Janie's self-liberation, by treating her as a mere toy, meant for personal display.
Janie's deepest longings, for all that a louse like Joe will not provide, cannot adequately be expressed through language. Even when she first met Joe, she realized that "he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for the horizon."6 By tracing this nature imagery to its first appearance in the novel, we can realize how Hurston uses it to express Janie's non-verbal longings. Janie's dawning awareness of her sexuality ...
...was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell...She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage!7
This descriptive passage is more than unabashedly sexual; it alludes to the non-verbal expression found in music: "a flute song," "the alto chant of the visiting bees." Yet this strange music "had nothing to do with ears," it is an "inaudible voice." Throughout the novel this nature imagery recurs; its appearance marks stages in Janie's growth. Janie is on a search "on the horizon"8, and also for the man who represents the bee to her pollen. Her first quest solely is for experience, to transcend the stifling world where people are nothing but mules for a master.
The second quest, her heart's desire, is to find love and ecstasy. Logan Kerricks can provide neither. Besides being physically repugnant, he uses Janie as if she were a mule. She runs to her grandmother to confess her dissatisfaction, but Nanny just cannot understand Janie's far-reaching dreams. Although Logan speaks ill to Janie and works her too hard, Nanny cannot see, for "...there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought."9 Janie realizes her predicament, and thus becomes a woman, through the wordless lessons given by nature. She knew things nobody ever told her, for instance, the words of trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, "Ah hope you fall on soft ground," because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
The inherited world of language cannot teach Janie the deepest truths about herself. Nanny's desire that Janie become as the white people, even at the expense of love, cannot bring her happiness. Janie is not satisfied with the accepted role of suppliant wife who tends a decent home. Her fervid desire to break free impels her to latch onto her first chance to escape. So she lies to herself, saying that with Joe "From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made to fit them."11
Shortly before this passage, she realized Joe was not "A bee for her bloom," but she imagines so anyway. Words help to fabricate an acceptable lie, the kind we create to make life bearable. We can interpret Janie's life with Joe as an index of both the folly and the power of speech. Janie knows that the men who hang around the porches gabbling all day, making up fanciful stories and pranking each other, are "just talkin' consolate yo'self by word of mouth."12 The townspeople simply scorn these loafers, while their attitude toward Joe's speech is a mixture of respect and resentment. Hicks says, "What Ah don't lak 'bout de man is, he talks tuh unlettered folks wid books in his jaws...showin' off his learnin''."13
Joe manipulates his powers of persuasion and intimidation, based upon the crafty use of language, to become as oppressive as the white men who despise his race. In the same fashion, Joe oppresses Janie. Janie holds her frustration within; although her tongue remains her only weapon, she knows it does little good to use it. Finally, she learns its power. She asserts herself in conversation against Joe, claiming that God confides in women too, that men don't know as much as they think about her gender. Joe tries to suppress her, but pushes Janie too far. He incites her to deliver a devastating blow, when she makes a crack about his lack of male potency. The silence which ensues in their relationship is terrible: "something stood like an oxen's foot on her tongue." 14
Though silence becomes an oppressive force and contributes to the dissolution of their relationship, it remains the only realm where Janie can reach an understanding of self. When Joe slaps her face after she makes a bad meal, she looks deep into the silence of herself to see the truth. She no longer can sport the illusion that Joe deserves her "blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man."15 She cannot use language to express her feelings to a man who does not care. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous other emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving them up for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.16
Tea Cake fulfills the longings that Janie could never verbally express. Her experiential journey to the horizons was really to find loving people, not the material things which Logan and Joe provided. In Tea Cake, Janie finally finds the man who represents her inexpressible sexual longings, hearkening back to her pubescent nature visions:
He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossom - a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be a crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step that he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God.17
Janie at last finds the visceral and fleshly embodiment of her inexpressible and abstract yearnings. Tea Cake symbolizes more than blissful sexuality, however; he stands for music, joy, and exuberance. From the generosity of his heart, he teaches Janie things her other lovers would not have considered: how to play checkers, how to shoot a gun, how to think of herself as beautiful and dignified. He speaks to Janie with respect and love, without condescension or manipulation. In the Everglades, Janie learns to enjoy the chatter of the men on the porches, and even to join if she pleases. Here Hurston focuses on the pleasure, not the grotesqueries of language: "...the men loved to hear themselves, they would 'woof' and 'boogerboo' around the games to the limit. No matter how rough it was, people seldom got mad, because everything was done for a laugh."18
In the courtroom scene, Janie remains silent while the lawyers argue if she was guilty of killing Tea Cake with a shotgun, or if it was an act of mercy done to ease the pain of his terminal illness. The reasons for Janie's silence in this scene are a centerpiece of literary debate about the novel. Some scholars claim that the suppression of Janie's voice undermines her search for identity, while others insist that the third person narrator actually conveys Janie's mature realization that language is not always efficacious, that women should discretely choose when to speak.19 This writer maintains the latter position; I have tried to demonstrate in this essay that Janie's moments of greatest illumination and insight come when her voice is silent.
In Janie's moments of quietude, when she recognizes the disparities between her shining dreams and the harsh reality of life, the poetic voice of the narrator takes over. In her first erotic awakening, in realizing the deficiencies of her mates, and in finally discovering her ideal lover, Hurston's authorial voice captures the luminous epiphanies that Janie's own voice cannot express. Janie sees that by telling her story to an empathetic friend like Phoeby, her friend can grasp these visions, if not in words then in feeling, for "Dat's just de same as me 'cause mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf."20 Having experienced fully what life has to offer ("Yuh got tuh go there tuh know there") 21, Janie can fold in that limitless horizon, and bring it all back to herself: "She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it around the waste of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much life in the meshes! She called in her soul to come and see."22
1 Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (New York: Perennial Library, 1990), pp.183
2 Ibid., pp. 1
3 Ibid., pp. 5
4 Ibid., pp. 59
5 Ibid., pp. 27
6 Ibid., pp. 28
7 Ibid., pp. 11
8 Ibid., pp. 1
9 Ibid., pp. 23
10 Ibid., pp. 24
11 Ibid., pp. 31
12 Ibid., pp. 36
13 Ibid., pp. 46
14 Ibid., pp. 80
15 Ibid., pp. 68
16 Ibid., pp. 68
17 Ibid., pp. 85
18 Ibid., pp. 128
19 Ibid., pp. xi, xii
20 Ibid., pp. 6
21 Ibid., pp. 183
22 Ibid., pp. 184
· Points to Ponder:
Note how the essay makes a concise and well-observed study of the power of silence in Janie's life; how the essay balances the theme of emergence of her voice with the importance of silence; and the author's compelling view of her refusal/inability to speak at the trial. (These comments are from Professor John T. Matthews of the Boston University English department, author of The Play of Faulkner's Language, not the author tooting his own horn). The author's conclusion not only sums up, but also goes beyond what has come before in the essay. Realize that all details drawn from the book, and the original conclusions arrived at by the author, integrally relate to the thesis. The author uses a proper academic format for the paper: title page, pages numbering, and endnotes.
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Model Essay Test
Question: Explain how author Richard Wright in his novel Native Son(1940) utilizes the literary modes of naturalism (which shows how larger societal forces impact individual lives) and modernism (which stresses formal experimentalism and the role of subjectivity). Contrast Wright's narrative methods and his social message with naturalist authors like Dreiser and Wharton, with specific examples from the text of Native Son.
Richard Wright's Native Son is a powerful example of literary naturalism, while the novel also embodies qualities of literary modernism. Like the novels of Theodore Dreiser and Edith Wharton, Wright uses the naturalistic mode of storytelling to show how outside forces influence individual's lives. Wright demonstrates how America's pervasive and hostile white culture (circa 1940) feeds the black culture messages of desire, yet holds off any satisfaction.
The character Bigger Thomas becomes a representative modern man, burning in the personal hell of his cultural disenfranchisement, yearning for an expression of selfhood in a society that tramples the black race. Wright's portrayal of Bigger serves as a paradigm for the modern urban condition, thus being naturalist, while it also utilizes the modernistic approaches of subjectivity and layering of narrative voices to convey its effect. Everything is filtered through the perceptions of Bigger; characters and scenes are shown as he would perceive them. Wright sacrifices literal realism for a psychologically realistic vision of what it means to be a modern black male.
At all turns, Bigger gets bombarded with messages of what he wants, but cannot have: on billboards, in magazines, on the cinema screen, in a thousand details of cultural life. The discrepancy between what the white world has and what he desires drives Bigger to fury. It is a pain for which there is no cure. Any efforts of people to reach out, to offer human compassion and connection, only increase his violent reaction. He hates his family, because he can do nothing for them. Fear of himself, dread of committing a robbery, makes him attack Gus. Jan and Mary try to know him, but Bigger has no inner categories by which to react. He can only hate them, since their sympathy speaks to the distance between the white world and the one he must inhabit.
While showing the pressure of cultural forces, throughout the novel Wright locates the narrative within the psyche of Bigger. In this manner, Native Son is both naturalist and modernist. Bigger's murder of Mary Dalton is the first time in his life he feels a sense of personal power. He imagines that he controls his own destiny, but his deed sets off a chain of outside forces that engulf him, along with the entire city of Chicago.
Wright's portrayal of the death of Mary Dalton indicates the impact of both instinct and cultural impressions upon Bigger's actions. While placing Mary on the bed, he hovers over her in desire, drawn by lustful instincts. But Bigger's sense of dread derives from the cultural taboo against miscegenation. As ever, the white culture says, "You want it, but you can't have it." Mrs. Dalton�s haunting white form, and the white cat that appears when Bigger puts Mary's body in furnace, represent the white world that has imposed this taboo. Mrs. Dalton and the cat are a tangible presence, symbolizing how deeply the conscience of this white world has been hammered into Bigger's psyche. Bigger gains exaltation and self-possession from this heinous deed, because he believes he has upset the social order that has imposed the strictures that bind him. Bigger's tragedy is that he entirely blames white society for his actions, refusing, indeed incapable of taking responsibility for his own actions.
The mistake of the State's Attorney Buckley is that he fails to see that Bigger's deed was a reaction to the rules men like him impose. The newspaper accounts of Bigger�s murder demonstrate how white culture is ignorant that the solutions it proposes are the very causes of such ghastly murders. The papers call Bigger an "ape," a "beast," and all sorts of other animalistic comparisons. The first account states that all public places must now be segregated, that education must be limited since "Negroes are organically incapable" of higher learning, and that education would only lead to crimes like Bigger's (by making black people want more). These are the oppressive details of societal life which produce monsters like Bigger Thomas. But the white establishment refuses to see; indeed a key metaphor throughout the book is blindness.
Wright makes Bigger a stereotype, keeping with the naturalistic tradition of Dreiser, Wharton, and (in a radicalized form) Gertrude Stein. This is the author's goal: to expose the stereotype, to show us how naming people makes us what we are. Bigger is a representative individual, one who reacts to the collective aspects of society. Dreiser's Sister Carrie and Wharton's The House of Mirth use the literary mode of naturalism to show how a society based upon status, power, and material acquisition affects individuals who strive to rise within it. These novels take place within society; Native Son shows what ensues with those members of society who stand outside our capitalist and materialistic culture. Wright certainly is polemical, but he is not sanctimonious or high-flown like Dreiser. The author wants to demonstrate the effects of the modern world on Bigger's psyche, even at the expense of taking liberties with realism. Wright admits in his introduction that so many people probably would not be allowed in Bigger's cell. But they are there because they each represent aspects of what Bigger reacts to in the world. The preacher's otherworldliness, his denial of this life, will not do. Bigger wants satisfaction NOW! The sympathy of his mother, as I said before, only increases his sense of alienation. Bigger comes to see that Jan does not blame him, that a white man can also be a human being. This too increases Bigger's alienation, for he sees that he has hurt an actual flesh and blood person by killing Mary Dalton.
Mrs. Dalton represents the uselessness of philanthropy to problems like Bigger's; it is condescension, it asserts who is the giver and who is the taker. Furthermore, Mr. Dalton is an emblem of white corruption: he rents to blacks at exorbitant rates, and only within the "Black Belt." Finally, Bigger's little brother Buddy has learned nothing; his anger at the whites will only continue the carnage.
The lawyers Max and Buckley represent two polarities; each show the insolubility of this social dilemma. After Max finishes his communist diatribe in the courtroom, Bigger feels as if he wasn't even worth the trouble. For one thing, Bigger couldn't understand the words. Moreover, he cannot imagine how he could be connected to anything, much less be the symbol for imminent social change Max pretended him to be. Max's speech shows that the ideology of communism is estranged from the very people from whom it would draw its support, the culturally disenfranchised.
Buckley is also fiercely moral in his indictment of Bigger's savagery, but he falls squarely on the side of the white status quo. Buckley denounces Max's "dangerous communism" that would topple "our sacred institutions" -- in other words, the continuation of racism and segregation. Buckley's language definitely is racist; he urges that we not resort to "jungle law," that we remember how "civilization rose from darkness" (to paraphrase), phrases which invoke images of both the jungles and the people of Africa.
Both Max and Buckley speak voices the readers may share: outrage at social oppression and indignation over a savage murder. Alas, their social solutions both are limited. Native Son remains a searing indictment of a modern socio-political dilemma: oppression exists, producing violent reaction, which in turn produces more oppression. Wright works in the naturalistic tradition to pinpoint the sociological causes of this situation, but he brings his message home with a relentless psychological verisimilitude gained from literary modernism.
· Points to Ponder:
Determine why the student writer's professor gave this essay test an "A+," and wrote that it is a "wonderfully detailed, impassioned, tough minded distinction." Note how the author "spills all the beans" in the first paragraph, then spends the rest of his time defending and elaborating upon this sharply focused thesis. The author states a major premise, argues and illustrates with examples from the text, utilizes the powers of persuasion, and defines his terms with precision.

Model Poems:
Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'stNor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
· Points to Ponder:
Does Shakespeare employ hyperbole in this paean to his lover? Or do you believe the Bard's audacious claim that art, love, and the imagination have primacy over the forces of nature? What claims do you want your poems to have against this eternal and indomitable realm? How does the message of this poem relate to novelist Jack Kerouac's vision of "the common dark of all our deaths" (Visions of Cody, composed 1952, published 1972), or to the statement of filmmaker Orson Welles that all human art must eventually vanish into "the universal ash" (F For Fake, 1973)? What forces drive you as a writer to continue writing, in the face of such ultimate futility?
Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snows be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I knowThat music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rareAs any she belied with false compare.
· Points to Ponder:
Realize how in this sonnet Shakespeare spoofs both the mere mortality of his mistress and the hyperbolic flights of fancy of his fellow poets. Shakespeare wrote these poems in the sonnet form, which Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines as "a fixed verse form of Italian origin consisting of fourteen lines that are typically five foot iambs rhyming according to a prescribed scheme." Webster's goes on to define iambs as "a metrical foot consisting of one short syllable followed by one long syllable or of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable." And what, you may ask, is a foot? In poetry, it is "the basic unit of verse meter consisting of any of various fixed combinations or groups of stressed and unstressed long or short syllables."
According to The Yale Shakespeare, edited by Wilbur L. Cross and Tucker Brooke (1993), Italian poet Petrarch (1304-1374) popularized the sonnet form. Petrarch's themes were "love and beauty, a hopeless love thwarted by destiny and death" (pp. 1490). His structure of the octave and the sestet was too difficult for most English poets to emulate, so Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1518-1547) developed a sonnet consisting of three quatrains with a concluding couplet. Cross and Brooke define a quatrain as "a unit or group of four lines of verse," and a couplet as "two successive lines of verse" which rhyme.
Surrey's sonnet format was borrowed by the Bard from Stratford-upon-Avon, so it has become popularly known as "the Shakespearean sonnet." Shakespearean wrote his sonnets in the meter known as iambic pentameter. Webster defines pentameter as "a line of verse consisting of five metrical feet." Armed with this knowledge, and with these great examples, I invite you to sit down and create your own sonnets.
Who was William Shakespeare anyway, "shaking his spear at ignorance"? Why is the relation of Sir Francis Bacon's The Promus of Formularies and Elegancies to the works of Shakespeare a subject that's either forbidden or scoffed at in the halls of academe? Settle the centuries old controversy for yourself...if you dare.
"Song" by John Donne (1633) Go and catch a falling star Get with child a mandrake root 1Tell me where all past years are, Or who cleft the Devil's foot,Teach me to hear mermaids singing, Or to keep off envy's stinging, And find What wind Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou beest born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Til age snow white hairs on thee.
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
1 According to The Norton Anthology of Poetry, edited by Alexander W. Allison (1983) "The large, forked root of the mandrake, roughly resembling a human body, was often credited with human attributes. As a medicine, it was supposed to produce contraception."
Points to Ponder
· Compare and contrast Donne's perception of Woman with the image emerging from Shakespeare's sonnets. Which seems to you the more favorable portrayal of womankind, and which is truer to your life's experience?
· Analyze the structure of "Song" in terms of its rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b-c-c-d-d-a (i.e. a="star", "are"; b="root", "foot"; c="singing", "stinging" etc.), and its syllable pattern: lines of 7-7-7-7-8-8-2-2-8 syllables.
· Christopher Ricks, literary critic and erudite professor of English at Boston University (and formerly Cambridge University) wrote in a letter to this author that "many poets...are underrating the price paid for their abandonment of pattern, prediction, regularity, decorum - all those good old things which I was brought up on. C. S. Lewis, writing about rhythm and metre, compared it to waves breaking differently upon the shore or strand, with the conviction that it was the unchangingness of the shore which allowed us to register the variety and uniqueness of the waves." Apply the insights of Professor Ricks and C.S. Lewis to your analysis of Donne's metrical format.
· Try writing poems with the strict metrical control of Donne or Shakespeare, and also become aware of the "free verse" experimentalism of poets like Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass), Allen Ginsberg and his "harmonic breath units" ("Howl" and "Wichita Vortex Sutra"), and Jack Kerouac's "spontaneous bop prosody" (Mexico City Blues). Explore these different approaches, and decide which one works best for your goals as a writer.

The River-Merchant's Wife: a Letter by Ezra Pound (translated from Li Po, great Chinese poet of the T'ang Dynasty circa 700-762) While my hair was still cut straight across my foreheadI played about the front gate, pulling flowers.You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.And we went on living in the village of Chokan:Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the lookout?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fo-Sa.

(C) 1926 New Directions Publishing Corp.
Points to Ponder:
· As a poet you would do well to emulate Pound's ability to tell a great story. The poet encapsulates the longings and conflicts of a woman's life in only 29 lines. The narrator goes from childlike innocence ("Two small people, without dislike or suspicion") to painful experience ("The paired butterflies are already yellow with August.../They hurt me. I grow older.") We are left with a sense of desolate uncertainty: has her lover been swallowed "by the river of swirling eddies", or will he some day meet her "As far as Cho-fu-Sa"? What can you do as a poet to convey a similarly keen sense of narrative and character in your poems?
· Starting in 1912, Pound became fascinated by the Japanese poetic form called haiku, which Jack Kerouac has defined as having been "invented and developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a complete poem in seventeen syllables and to pack a whole vision of life in three short lines." (Quoted from The Portable Kerouac, edited by Ann Charters, 1995, pp. 469). Kerouac cites this example from Japanese poet Basho (1644-1694): A day of quiet gladness, Mount Fuji is veiled In misty rain.
(pp. 470, Charters)
· The haiku deeply influenced Pound's literary movement called Imagism, in which the poet considers images solely in their pictorial or visual sense, and precludes the impressions of any other senses or any "merely metaphorical figure." Another influence of haiku integral to Pound's aesthetic was the superimposition of one idea atop another, as in his little poem "In a Station of the Metro":
The apparition of these faces in a crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.
· Now explore "The River Merchant's Wife" again, noticing how the haiku and the principles of Imagism influenced Pound's translation of Li Po. Become a literary detective, and compare and contrast Pound's Imagism to French poet Arthur Rimbaud "alchemy of language", which aimed at a "systematic derangement of all the senses." Rimbaud writes that "I invented the color of vowels! - A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. - I regulated the form and movement of every consonant, and with instinctive rhythms I prided myself on inventing a poetic language accessible some day to all the senses."
· Study Pound's poem for its persuasive use of narrative voice, and for the incredible economy of language of Pound's translation. Try adapting Pound's letter format for use in your own poems.
· Analyze the line "The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead" as an example of anthropomorphism. Pound conveys how human perception creates an image of reality by projecting its biases onto the phenomena of nature. Is the sound of the monkeys in the trees inherently sorrowful about, or does she hear it that way due of her sense of grief and loss?
· "I desired my dust to be mingled with yours/ Forever and forever and forever. " Is this line an allusion to Genesis 3: 19 of the Bible ("For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."), and therefore a masterful blending of the literatures of east and west?

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This section contains two pages of content:
Law School Essay One
Law School Essay Two
Law School Essay
Write about uniqueness of character, abilities, experiences (background), and diversity and how potential student would contribute to the diversity of the entering class.
As the bus entered the heavily guarded military instillation, I gazed upon the sign that read "All the Way." When the bus stopped, several angry Drill Instructors boarded and began introducing us to a very colorful vocabulary, usually reserved for drunken Sailors. They instructed us to gather our belongings, get off the bus and assemble in a circular formation. As I searched for the strength to get up, I found myself moving, while several Drill Instructors yelled at us for our clumsy attempt to dismount the bus and fall into formation. I wondered if I had made the right choice. However, I have come to realize that my military experiences have tremendously enhanced my self-worth. From those first eight weeks of Basic Training to the day I walked out with an honorable discharge, I gained an enormous amount of skill and confidence. I grew as a person, and I learned life skills: discipline, tenacity, leadership, and problem solving abilities, all of which will enhance my potential as a law student.
In the military, training makes the difference between failure and success. So whether one's specialty is exiting aircraft at 1,300 feet, enforcing law and order around the fort, or taking medical X-rays, people need training in order to develop discipline and confidence. As the Army becomes more technologically advanced, so does the guidance individuals receive. In my case, the Army provided me with high-tech instruction in the field of electronics communication repair. At the tender age of 18,I was responsible for operating and maintaining million-dollar telecommunications equipment. This often involved being located in remote areas away from other support units, while working under adverse conditions. However, electronic equipment or theories of electricity weren't the only things I learned about. The experience provided me with invaluable skills that will prove critical in the legal profession. For example, I was required to analyze intricate electronics circuitry, find problems and then fix them appropriately. I also had to interact with co-workers, supervisors, and engineers while I was trying to solve these difficult technical problems. As a result, I learned the importance of articulating my thoughts in a coherent and logical fashion while under duress. Being forced to independently solve complicated problems in a short period of time strengthened my discipline and tenacity, qualities that will be essential in Law School.
Moreover, the military also gave me the opportunity to travel abroad. Living in countries such as Korea, Spain, and Germany and immersing myself in their cultures has given me perspective on the differences between the United States and other countries. Each place I have lived has been unique in some way, from the different languages to the variations in cultural practices. Dealing with individuals with different backgrounds has helped me develop a good rapport with people.
From my travels, I also learned that there can be more than one solution to a problem. Indeed, having a variety of perspectives makes it easier to come up with approaches to different problems. My travel experience has strengthened my interpersonal skills, as well as my integrity and determination.
Perhaps most importantly, my military training provided me with the courage, strength and dedication to succeed even after I left military service. I believed that I could accomplish anything, as long as I put my mind to it. This belief led me to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry, where I worked for several manufacturing companies, and eventually convinced me I could succeed in an academic environment. In each of my jobs, I benefited from my hard work ethic by advancing to senior technician levels and eventually securing leadership positions within my department. For six years I enjoyed a variety of challenges and opportunities, whether it was troubleshooting computer equipment, collaborating with electronics engineers, or operating industrial machinery.
However, I longed to be in a more intellectual environment, where I might be allowed to see things from a different perspective. I had always been more interested in mathematics and science than liberal arts subjects. So when I decided to go back to school, I eventually ended up taken courses in philosophy, and the social sciences. Understanding philosophical and political rhetoric proved to be quite difficult because I had to analyze abstract theories and assumptions about retribution, and nature of politics. Nevertheless, I managed to persevere and even make the Dean's honor roll on a few occasions. My work and academic experiences have undoubtedly built upon the skills I developed in the Army.
Through my experiences in the military, I did find some satisfaction. However, I found greater happiness in helping others, whether it was using military resources to aid a community during times of crisis, or participating in local food or blood drives. For me, there is nothing more gratifying than helping people in times of need. I always have been a firm believer that people have a responsibility to give something back to their community. While military has provided me with invaluable skills, the desire to help others stems from my traditional Hispanic upbringing. My parents always stressed the importance of maintaining and supporting the family structure. Ever since I can remember, my mother and father always wanted their children to respect and help one another. However, these ideals did not stop with our own family. My Mother told me that everyone on this earth belongs to one big family, and that it is our duty to respect and help another. She stated that while our lives may be going well, there is always somebody who needs our help. This is why, for the past year and half, I have become involved in a local mentor program that provides guidance and support for children with disadvantaged backgrounds. As a mentor, my responsibilities include working with the local youth to improve decision making capabilities, build conflict resolution abilities, improve school performance, and build the desire to continue their education. Hopefully, as a lawyer I will be able to help some individuals through legal crises while still being able to pay the rent.
The sign at the military installation that reads "All The Way" has had a tremendous impact on me. What began as a simple twist of fate has inspired me to face new challenges and given me the determination to succeed in all my endeavors. Law School will be a welcome challenge, one which I plan to face with my arsenal of experience, passion, dedication, leadership and discipline. I believe that these characteristics make me a confident, accomplished and promising candidate who would be an asset to the incoming class, and ultimately to the legal profession. I am convinced that I have the necessary skills to go "All the Way" at your institution.
Law School Essay
Many college students know exactly what field to enter after graduation and have been preparing for that field over the course of their entire college career. However, I had difficulty discovering a career field rewarding enough to devote my entire life to, a career field worthy of education. While I had always considered pursuing the law and majored in public policy as an undergraduate, I was never passionate about it. I didn't have clear goals, and it seemed to me as if my degree and my circumstances were pushing me into studying the law; I needed to rediscover why I fell in love with the law in the first place.
As a college senior, I took the LSAT because all of my classmates were taking it. I did not prepare, and I really did not want to attend law school after college; thankfully, my low LSAT score guaranteed this. I needed to understand more about life before I could give myself to a career. After being in school for about two decades, I felt completely out of touch with reality and did not think I would ever find career direction by attending more schooling. With these thoughts in mind, I determined I needed real-world experience to help me find the direction I so desperately sought.
I accepted an investor relations position in New York that tested both my intelligence and my work ethic. The first few months moved at a hectic pace as I attempted to acquire knowledge of my new pursuit and to control the responsibilities assigned to me. However, I quickly adjusted and maintained a schedule of seventy-hour workweeks. Because of my hard work and growing expertise, my colleagues began to acknowledge me as an important member of the organization and my opinion became respected and sought out. This respect provided me with a great deal of confidence, and I began to realize that I had unlimited potential. I had finally regained the attitude necessary for success, and my recent LSAT score is a testament of this self-awakening.
While I may not have taken the direct route to law school, I took the course that suited me well. I needed to find goals that would drive me through all-nighters and exam periods. Over the course of the past few years, I have transformed from an inexperienced college graduate to a respected professional. My departure from classroom study has helped me grow into a more confident, independent individual who has developed the ability to set goals and focus on the path to achieving them. I believe I am now prepared to make the most of my future educational experiences, and I hope for the opportunity to do this at ______.
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