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GRE Argument Essay: When Stanley Park First Opened - With A Free Essay Review
"When Stanley Park first opened, it was the largest, most heavily used public park in town. It is still the largest park, but it is no longer heavily used. Video cameras mounted in the park's parking lots last month revealed the park's drop in popularity: the recordings showed an average of only 50 cars per day. In contrast, tiny Carlton Park in the heart of the business district is visited by more than 150 people on a typical weekday. An obvious difference is that Carlton Park, unlike Stanley Park, provides ample seating. Thus, if Stanley Park is ever to be as popular with our citizens as Carlton Park, the town will obviously need to provide more benches, thereby converting some of the unused open areas into spaces suitable for socializing.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.Ē
First of all, the author suggests that the popularity of Stanley park dropped, since the video camera reveals that an average of 50 cars parked in the parking lot per day. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that all visitors drive to the park. If the authorís assumption is proved unwarranted, and many visitors walk or bike to the park instead of driving, then, using the parking data recorded by video camera to estimate the number of visitors would not be accurate, and there might be more visitors than the data suggested, the popularity of Stanley park might not dropped significantly, and the authorís argument would be weakened.
Further, the author mentions that Carlton Park is more popular than Stanley Park, since there are more cars in Carltonís parking lot. This only make sense based on the assumption that more cars reflects more visitors. Even if it is granted that the majority of visitors drive, there being more cars in Carlton Parking lot does not necessarily mean that there are more visitors to Carlton Park, since it is located in the business district and, thus, it is possible that people just park there instead of visiting the park. If the authorís assumption is proved unwarranted, and many people park at Carlton Park because they cannot find a parking lot nearby, then, there might not be more visitors going to Carlton Park, and the authorís argument would be undermined.
In addition, the author also claims that the reason why Stanley has fewer visitors is that it does not have enough seats compared to Carlton Park. Thus, the author necessarily assumes not enough seats is the only factor that results in the drop in the number of visitors if it drops at all. If the assumption is unwarranted, it is shown that visitors think it is too far to drive to Stanley park, or there are fewer people who want to go to parks now, then, providing more seats would not help Stanley park attract more visitors, and the authorís argument would be weakened.
To sum up, in order to evaluate the argument, we need to ensure the following assumptions: the majority of visitors drive to the park, more cars indeed reflects more visitors, and not enough seats is the only reason the results in the drop of visitors.
Your first argument is not entirely correct. (Generally, it is better to be entirely correct.) The author does not necessarily assume that all visitors drive to the park. Note also that the instructions require you to explain how the argument depends on the assumption, which of course you have not done here. (Including the word "necessarily" doesn't mean that you've explained anything, even if I myself have sometimes used it in my responses to your essays in a manner that indicated I believed otherwise!). Anyway, the argument merely assumes that the number of cars in the parking lot is a good measure of the popularity of the park. The rest of your paragraph really questions that assumption, so my quibble is not that important. Note, however, that the argument does imply that the number of cars visiting has decreased (I think that is an implication rather than an assumption of the argument, even though there's no mention of any previous car-counting exercise). So you could also say that the argument necessarily(!) assumes that there has been no increase in the number of non-driving persons who visit the park (either as passengers in cars, or as cyclists or pedestrians or skateboarders or parachutists), for (here's the explanation) if there were an increase in the number of such persons, then conceivably a decrease in the number of cars would not necessarily imply a reduction in the parkís popularity.
The important error in the second paragraph is the suggestion that the original argument makes a claim about cars parked at Carlton. Instead it makes a claim about the number of weekday visitors (it makes no mention of weekend usage of Carlton Park). This is the kind of error that can be taken, since it ruins the point of the entire paragraph, to demonstrate the importance of reading the prompt carefully.
In the next paragraph, another error occurs. The author does not "necessarily assume [that] not enough seats is the only factor that results in the drop in the number of visitors." The author does not speculate about the cause of the problem, but rather about the solution to the problem. Some solutions are based on addressing the cause of a problem, but some are not. Even if you were right that the speculation was based on an assumption about the lack of seats being a cause of the declining popularity of the park, it would presumably not be entirely accurate to say it was based on an assumption that the number of seats was the "only factor" in that decline. It would be fairer, I think, to say that the argument assumes that the popularity of Carson has largely to do with the number of seats and not with the fact that it is in the business sector of town (it is popular on weekdays, after all).