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SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 1

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Updated on Apr 4, 2011

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Prompt:

When we witness an injustice or the violation of a principle, anger can give us the courage to act, not react. Productive anger can be a guide to appropriate, powerful, and healing action. All the political and social movements of our time are rooted in anger, including the struggle against apartheid, the fight for civil rights, and many environmental and animal protection initiatives. The founders of these movements experienced healthy anger against conditions they considered to be unjust and unacceptable.

—Adapted from The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger,

by JANE MIDDELTON-MOZ, LISA TENER, AND PEACO TODD

(Health Communications, 2004)

Assignment:

Can anger be used for positive results? Organize and compose an essay that establishes your viewpoint on this issue. Substantiate it with examples and evidence derived from what you have read, studied, experienced, or observed.

Essay:

Can anger ever produce positive results? The lives of some very famous people indicate that it can. Anger can promote creativity. In the case of Mrs. Nancy Edison, Thomas Edison's mother, it caused her to find a better solution to her son's inadequate schooling. In other cases, like that of Picasso, anger was the spark behind one of his greatest works of art, a mural whose meaning still resonates strongly today.

American inventor Thomas Edison (1847–1931) has been described as more responsible than anyone else for creating the modern world. In his research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, he invented the phonograph, made the electric lightbulb, and started the motion picture industry. However, his success had nothing to do with his schooling. In fact, the young Edison attended school for just three months—when his inattention and constant questioning caused his teacher to say he was slow, his mother removed him from the school. Nancy Edison taught her son at home, encouraging him to read and experiment. Edison later noted, "My mother was the making of me." Her anger at his treatment in school caused her to take charge of his education and as a result helped to foster one of the great geniuses in our country's history.

Just a few years after Edison's death on another continent, anger created another positive result. In 1937, Pablo Picasso agreed to paint a mural for the World's Fair in Paris. But he had a difficult time choosing a subject. Then, German bombers attacked the city of Guernica in his native Spain. Although he once said art should not be political, Picasso was so angry that he chose the violent attack as the subject of his mural. Guernica shows the brutality of war in stark black and white, depicting innocent victims that include children and animals. The painting, created out of anger, still serves today as a visual reminder of the devastation and violence of war. The painter noted famously that "Art enables us to see the truth."

By allowing anger to motivate us—as opposed to silencing or just frustrating us—we can achieve positive results. Just as a great leader, when he or she sees injustice, is inspired to seek change for the betterment of people, so too can all people use their anger to give them energy to make things better.

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