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The Fear Of The Unknown - With A Free Essay Review



L. Khella; English 101; 7/2/2012

Throughout my life I have faced multiple obstacles placed in front of me, with each success and failure shaping the person I am today. Out of all these extraordinary “feats” my intermediate all school chess tournament has always had the greatest impact on my life giving me both confidence in myself and a greater love for the game of chess. Entering into the tournament I wasn’t sure what to except from my competitors but more of all from myself. Fear up until that tournament ruled my life and impacted my decisions but the moment after gathering all my strength and the little amount of confidence in my body to play and beat my first competitor fear never ruled me again and lead me to the semi final championship round.

It was April 10th 2007 2:59pm on the day of the tournament. One minute of history class remained and eleven more minutes remained till the start of the tournament. I remember praying for time to slow down. I kept glancing up at the clock in the middle of the classroom as if it was a timer and my heart was the bomb. Sweat kept dripping down the spine of my back and my mind was racing with different thoughts of regret for ever sighing up for this tournament all thoughts which were controlled by fear. Little did I realize while I was going though this panic attack I was rolling on the floor of the classroom screaming bloody marry disrupting the whole classroom as well not to mention getting myself a one way ticket to the principal’s office immediately after class causing more havoc to my day.

As I was sitting in Mrs. Anderson’s office my principle getting lectured on how my behavior in the classroom is one of a mentally unstable and attention obsessed child the tournament remained as the sole heart wrenching thought in my head until she finally uttered the words detention. At first I was frozen. A sudden rush of cold air filled the silent room. I was dying just thinking of what my parents would say. As I was shaking on the floor crawled up in= the fetus position I realized I wouldn’t have to go to the tournament, I was free. Just as I was about to hug Mrs. Anderson I was stopped when she repeated herself, “ You understand Lewie, if you do this one more time I am going to have to give you detention. Now hurry along now you’re going to miss you tournament”. I was forced back into the bitter taste of reality only to be hurt more when I glanced back up to the clock to see that it was 3:10. My ticking time bomb is about to explode and I have no where left to hide.

After taking one last deep breath I opened the doors sat down and began to play. The first moves were e4 e5, qh5 Nc6, Bc4. I was in perfect position to do the four move checkmate. My whole body was pounding to the point where I could feel my pulse through my hand. He moved to g6 and I finished off the game with my queen to f6. I sense of relief rushed over me. For the first time in my life I faced my greatest fear and came out a winner. I felt a sense of accomplishment and invincibility I was prepared to face all the rest of the competitors and sweep the floor with them as I did to this one.

As the other matches progressed my success grew till I found myself in the semi final round with a senior. As only a mere fifth grader at the time I was scared but I didn’t let my fear show and played with the same mindset as I did with the other players, “I was the best”. The match began just as any other a few exchanges of pieces here and there but nothing significant until he brought his queen down penetrating my defense. I began to panic trying to recover but losing pieces left and right I thought it was the end and was about to give up when I saw and opening and fought right back. The match continued and I recovered like a pro eventually the elapsed time of sixty minutes expired and the game was called in his favor but I still felt like a winner. I fought my biggest competitor of all time Fear and survived.

From the time I was born till the day of the tournament I allowed myself to be controlled by fear. But after playing in the tournament even though I didn’t win the fact the I conquered my fear of the unknown I was rewarded with the greatest trophy of all, the gift of confidence. I continued on and won and placed in many chess tournaments afterwards but if it wasn’t for that one tournament I would still be the scared little boy screaming on the floor of his fifth grade history class.

________________________

ESSAY REVIEW

I'm afraid I have nothing much to say about your essay, as is usually the case when I encounter personal narratives. I really don't know why students are forced so frequently to write these kinds of essay. They are a massive temptation to indulge in the worst vices of writers: love of self and hatred of truth. And they encourage a grotesquely reductive view of personal development. I will largely leave it up to you to decide the extent to which your essay betrays signs of being so tempted or encouraged, and instead just say a word about commas and a word about cliches.

Learning how to use a comma is not much more difficult than learning how to move a chess piece. Doing so won't make one a good writer, just as knowing how the chess pieces move doesn't make one a good player, but it will make writing more legible and so increase the chances that a reader can make it to end of an essay without losing his entire store of patience, which is the first goal of a writer. Have a look at the slide presentation on the following page, from Purdue University, if you want to tackle this problem:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/692/01/

The presentation is called Conquering the Comma. Conquering the comma is like conquering Everest, except it only takes a few minutes and you can do it without an oxygen mask. Try it. Your GPA will thank you.

The other aspect of your writing that is liable to challenge your reader's patience is the number of hackneyed phrases. You are writing a story that is intended to reveal something about you, but you really need to find your own voice to do that. If you are unsure whether a cliche is a cliche, there is a simple criterion that will allow you do decide, the application of which can be illustrated with an example: "shaping the person I am today." That's a cliche. You can tell it is a cliche because when you google it, it produces 18,900 results in 0.28 seconds. "Shaped the person I am today" produces 177,000 results in 0.32 seconds. "Shaped who I am today" produces 111,000 results in 0.22 seconds. Now if you go read every occurrence of such phrases on the internet (this will take a little bit longer than learning how to use commas) you will learn that they have one thing in common. They are all lies, more or less; or they are all empty truths, which amounts in effect, if not in moral import, to the same thing. The person you are today, who is different from the person you were yesterday and will be tomorrow, is massively overdetermined, having been shaped by every event in which you have had a hand, and perhaps every event in which you have not had a hand.

Cliches are useful, of course, if one really has nothing to say, but if your story is about a fear so debilitating that it actually causes you to lie on the floor and howl in the middle of a classroom, and then has you back on the floor "shaking" and "[curled] up in the fetus position" in the office of the principal [note spelling], then your story is of a unique experience and will be more compelling and credible if told with honesty and without the borrowed words and images of bad, dishonest prose. A sudden rush of cold air (62,000 results in 0.35 seconds) did not fill the silent room and there was no time bomb about to explode (110,00 results; 0.23 seconds), so why not just say what really happened and what it was actually like for you?

Best, EJ
Submitted by: thechessmas3r 101
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