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To Understand The Most Important Characteristics Of A Society, One Must Study Its Major Cities - With A Free Essay Review



Instructions: Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The statement claims that the way of understanding the most important characteristics of a society is to study its major cities. But for different people, the answers to what the most important characteristics of a society are might be diverse. For example, historians who may regard history as one of the most significant characteristics are likely to study mega cities full of relics. In sharp contrast, travelers wanting to enjoy traditional art are expected to study rural areas where the traditions have not disappeared so far. Therefore, the statement is not absolutely right.

When it comes to history as the most important characteristic, people, especially historians, can get rich knowledge of history by visiting major cities. Beijing, a mega city of China, is an excellent example of this point. In Beijing, there are a large number of notable historical sites, such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace as well as the Yuan Ming Yuan. With investigation of these relics, historians are able to have a broad and profound view of Chinese history. For instance, historians can know not only how sons of emperor competed for power and wealth but also how emperors made decisions to administer the country or defend territory. In addition, without study of Yuan Ming Yuan, historians can hardly know what British and French expeditionary forces did during the Second Opium War. Thus, historians will learn that China, a time-honored country, has reached a high level of civilization in the early Qing Dynasty and gone through several devastating wars during the late nineteenth century after studying Beijing.

On the contrary, due to the rapid changes of science and development coupled with foreign influences in large cities, the traditions of society have already disappeared. Therefore, people who consider tradition as a most vital characteristic must stroll in the rustic areas lack of foreign and scientific impacts. In China, for example, when people travel to mountain villages, they can hear melodious folksongs and compelling folktales. Sometimes, travelers can hear one peasant asking questions in the form of music from one mountain, and another one replying to his/her question by singing from another mountain. This is an extraordinary tradition only in China. Moreover, people can also enjoy palatable local food and appreciate traditional art, such as paper-cut in small towns. Hence, to understand traditions of one society, people must study its countryside.

In addition, in some cases, we must study both major cities as well as rural areas for the purpose of understanding some societal characteristics, especially economy. While by merely studying Chinese metropolitans, people are likely to conclude that China has already been prosperous and thriving, people who only study its countryside may lead to the conclusion that Chinese people are still poor and having harsh lives. Accordingly, if people want to understand this most significant characteristic concerning economy, they must study both major cities and rustic areas so as to get a correct view.

All the evidence put forward supports an unshakable conclusion that whether one must study major cities or not must depend on what characteristics they think are the most important ones. When it comes to history, people must study relics in big cities; when it comes to traditions, people must study countryside; and when it comes to economy, they must study both major cities and countryside.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Your first sentence is not quite an accurate representation of the claim, and that kind of inaccuracy is usually a significant problem for essays like this. The statement claims only that studying major cities is a necessary part of coming to an understanding of the most important characteristics of a society; your essay suggests that the statement claims that such study would be not only necessary but also sufficient. Of course it is possible that the person who wrote the prompt made a mistake and meant to imply that studying major cities would be sufficient, but that seems unlikely to me.

I don’t know how much your reader will care about a misinterpretation of the prompt, but since that kind of thing can seriously impact the relevance of the essay as a whole, it’s a good idea to devote time to carefully reading and assessing the prompt. In this particular case, however, your basic argument is fortunately not much impacted by this problem.

You argue that whether one must study cities depends on what we consider the most important characteristics, which of course is a reasonable argument. The examples used to support this argument, however, are a little reductive: studying history isn't just a matter of studying relics, which of course are not always confined to major cities; and while cultural traditions may have disappeared from some cities, this is hardly true of all cities. Your argument about the economic conditions of a society being different in the cities of some countries from the countryside is obviously true, but that might be considered a problem with that example. For instance, I can understand the point that Chinese cities are prosperous while the rural Chinese are poor without studying either the cities or the country. I could learn this fact about China just from reading your essay.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: hahaxiao66
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