SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 5 (page 3)
For more sample essays, review:
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 1
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 2
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 3
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 4
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 5 You are here
- SAT Essay Help: Sample Essay 6
The worship of artists as heroes is both commonplace and misguided. Why does the creation of a work of art impose on the artist the obligation to lead an exemplary life? The artists have fulfilled their contracts with us by producing work that gives us pleasure or insight or both. Why hold them to an unwritten morals clause?
—Adapted from "Loves of a Poet," by RHONDA KOENIG
Is it valuable to view artists and other public figures as heroes? 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.
There is a serious downside to valuing an individual as a hero. Because they're human they can't be perfect, so they can never live up to the image. Heroes either have to pretend to be better than they are, or be honest or get caught and disappoint everyone.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), has the perfect setting to explore the downside of hero worship. The Puritan society of seventeenth century Boston has a strict moral code and intolerance for dissent—everyone sees everything as black or white. You're either pure or a sinner. The minister Arthur Dimmesdale is believed to be pure and saintly but he is really a sinner. Dimmesdale leads a double life, wearing "one face to himself, and another to the multitude," which eventually kills him. But his worshippers never understand that they were wrong to see someone as only good. There are many times in the book where they could see the truth about Dimmesdale but they never do. They always prefer to see everything as black and white.
Tiger Woods recent problems are another example of why it is not valuable to see someone as a hero. He was worshipped by many not just as a great golfer, but as a great man with a beautiful family who had everything going for him. But then the truth came out that he was a person who makes mistakes. This has cost him his family, millions of dollars, and maybe even his career—all because he could not live up to the perfect image everyone had of him.
Hawthorne wrote in The Scarlet Letter, "No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true." This is why it is not valuable to hold up people as heroes.
Your Notes and Reactions
Score and Analysis
This essay received an 8. It demonstrates adequate mastery, with some strengths and a few weaknesses.
- Developed a point of view supported by appropriate examples and evidence? Both examples provide strong support for the thesis that there is a serious downside to valuing an individual as a hero. The academic example uses some background information and a quote from the novel, but it lacks detail. The second paragraph is filled with unsupported statements such as there are many times in the novel when they could see the truth. Evidence is needed to develop these points fully. The third paragraph uses an appropriate example, but it also lacks detail. The fact that the truth came out (which is the point on which the paragraph rests) is not explained. The writer may have assumed that everyone knows this information, but on the SAT Essay, readers are looking for details and evidence—not unsupported statements.
- Wrote with a clear focus, transitioned smoothly from one point to the next? While the essay isn't well developed, it does repeat the heartbeat words often enough to demonstrate focus. Every paragraph is clearly linked, and the use of the transition word another lets the reader know that the writer is moving from the first to the second example.
- Avoided errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage? The essay shows an inconsistent use of language. It has some grammar, mechanics, and usage errors.
- Varied sentence structure? There is some variation in sentence structure.
- Showed evidence of a varied and intelligent vocabulary? The essay exhibits a generally appropriate vocabulary.
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