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College Discussion / SAT and ACT Tests & Test Preparation / SAT Preparation
Grade my SAT Essay please!
Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
in SAT Preparation
The idea that libraries should be closed down is supported by economic reasons and the increasing availability of books online; however, strong opposing arguments are often overlooked. In "The North West London Blues," author Zadie Smith puts forth a detailed argument for library preservation. In doing so, she employs a variety of rhetorical elements, including powerful word choice, appeals to the human identity, and hard facts and statistics.
Smith’s deft use of word choice begins with her discussion of what makes a library invaluable. Opposing the notion that a library is merely a "function" (1), she asserts that each library has a unique "character" (2). By using a word usually reserved for people—their "character"—she personifies libraries, thus making it seem cruel to demolish them. This personification is maintained and strengthened throughout the passage; for instance, she calls the libraries’ supporters "friends" (1) of the libraries. Smith also uses warm language, saying that people "love the library" (4), to rouse the reader’s empathy for the library preservationists. Although the author’s use of such diction may seem overly dramatic, it effectively garners the reader’s emotional support.
Just as persuasive as Smith’s diction are her appeals to the human identity. She concedes that much of her argument is based on emotion, then proceeds to emphasize that "We’re humans, not robots" (4)—namely, that emotional support for libraries is part of what it means to be human. By appealing to the human identity, Smith paints her argument as a very inclusive one, which everybody can and should get behind as a human. She reiterates the inclusivity of her argument soon after: "A library is one of those social goods that matter to people of many different political attitudes" (4). Simultaneously, Smith portrays a sharp contrast between the humanity of library preservationists versus the coldness and selfishness of opponents, calling them "technocrats" (1) or "Mr. Notmytaxes" (5). Through this comparison, she presents her argument as the obvious choice.
Lastly, Smith bolsters her argumnet using data and specific examples. In proving the popularity of libraries, she notes that British libraries received greater than 300 million visits in 2011 (5). The use of statistics grounds the author’s argument in reality, and makes it more difficult to oppose. The data is buttressed by several specific examples of popular support for libraries, such as the "human chains" North West London people made to prevent the destruction of libraries (5). The specific examples, by giving concrete evidence for the author’s argument, prove that the passage is well-researched and lends it credibility. Without these hard facts, the passage would lose the element of logos, depending only on emotional appeals to make its points.
In conclusion, Zadie Smith—using word choice, appeals to identity, and hard facts—effectively makes the case for library preservation. It is her use of persuasive elements that not only informs the reader of the issue but also spurs the reader to action.
Replies to: Grade my SAT Essay please!
Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
I’m noting these as I go, so:
i. ‘Deft use of word choice’ seems redundant and not entirely grammatically correct. It’s either ‘deft use of words’, or ‘strategic word choice’.
ii. Also, as far as I’m aware, don’t number the points you’re making. I don’t know if you’d lose out on points for that, but it’s certainly unnecessary.
This was certainly a well written essay, and I feel I should commend you for it. You seem to have a splendid vocabulary and fairly good grasp of what the essay is looking for. The only other suggestion I would make is to go even deeper into analysing the author’s essay than you have here. Explain WHY she chose that device and HOW it affects the reader’s perceptions instead of merely stating them.0 · Reply · Share on Facebook