Model Essay 2:
Essay Topic: Basically, you have to suppress your own ambitions in order to be who you need to be.
          - Bob Dylan

Model Essay 2:

I do not know much about Bob Dylan, apart from the fact that he's a musician who recently won the Nobel prize for Literature. I don't quite see the connection, but if the given quote is a sample of his lyrics, I suppose he got the prize for singing about the practicalities in life. I am inclined to agree with the sentiment he has expressed.

Ambitions are the dreams that we have of our eventual future. People tell us to 'dream big' and to follow our dreams. When we do have these dreams as children and teenagers, adults find that 'so cute'. When we come to college-leaving age, however, most of us come to learn that we need to bring ourselves down to earth, that we should abandon 'fancy' ideas and notions about our future, and that we should give ourselves practical and achievable objectives – since very few among us are lucky enough to encounter, or be granted, the circumstances that support dreams.

The rest of us, the vast majority, do need to suppress our dreams or ambitions, and be the people we need to be. This is how it is for everyone. We need to recognize the conditions around us and the circumstances that we operate in. We need to build our objectives within these boundaries. If we do not, we run the risk of over-reaching, and this can only lead to failure and the consequent feelings of disappointment and inadequacy.

This may sound negative, but it is not really so. What it means is that we cannot be the wide-eyed dreamers associated with the word 'ambition'. We need to temper our ambitions with practicality and pragmatism, and it is in this sense that the word 'suppress' is used.

An example would help demonstrate this idea: A little girl, fired by the story of Kalpana Chawla, wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. Once in college she realizes that her family cannot send her overseas to pursue her dream. She realizes that pursuing a programme in aeronautical engineering will enable her to remain connected, at least, to the field of flight. She goes on to become a successful aircraft maintenance engineer. She has 'suppressed' her 'ambition' to be the person she needs to be.

Feedback and Comments:

(I) Overall impression:

Very good

(II) Detailed feedback:

i) The essay is well-written and it concisely explains a few important ideas with an example.

ii) The introductory para refers to Bob Dylan first and then puts the focus on his quote.

iii) The second para talks about the difference between true ambitions and fancy ideas. The fourth para speaks about the need for tempering one’s ambition with practicality.

iv) There are no grammatical mistakes.

v) However, some repetition could have been avoided. Example: “This is how it is for everyone.” in the third para.

vi) It would have been great if the essayist had pointed out the difference between “suppressing one’s needs” and “suppressing one’s wants”and then referred to the appropriate concept in reference to Bob Dylan’s quote.

(III) Evaluation parameters and score:

Content Adequacy of information 9 x 2 18
Ideas and their development Elaboration through reasoning, explanation, examples 7 x 3 21
Perspective Pros and cons, different aspects, parallel reasoning, suggestions 7 x 1 7
Structure Logical idea-flow in Intro-Body-Conclusion form 8 x 2 16
Control over language Grammar and spellings, sentence construction and punctuation 9 x 2 18
OVERALL       80