"What Freedom Means to Me" Essay Selected in Local Contest
The Goodland Elks Lodge sponsored a local essay contest for junior high students. Students were asked to write on the topic "What Freedom Means to Me" as an assignment in Mrs. Gibson's English class. Clarice Neitzel, St. Francis 8th grade student, wrote an essay that was selected as one of the top three essays in the local contest. The top three essays will be sent on for district judging. The district contest winners will receive U.S. savings bonds. Congratulations, Clarice!
Clarice's essay can be found below:
“What Does Freedom Mean to Me?”
Have you ever thought about the meaning of freedom? To me, freedom means to be able to learn from my mistakes. If I didn’t have freedom, I would have to do what the top authorities always tell me to do. I don’t have any room for mistakes so it would be harder to learn about life.
Freedom also means having the time to do things right. No freedom, in this case, would mean that I wouldn’t have any time for fantastic, clever thoughts. I would have to do things extremely precise and quick. When I don’t have freedom, I am under pressure constantly. While I am under so much pressure, it makes it a more stressful world to live in.
One last example of what freedom means to me is being able to do many things without being forced into doing anything. No freedom means that I might have to enlist in the army reluctantly. I might even be forced to quarter troops and watch them take over my home! If I didn’t have freedom, I might have to get married at a young age and start a family which I have no intention of doing at my age. My life minus freedom would equal being controlled with everything. When I don’t have freedom I can’t do anything except for what the strict laws tell me to do.
In summary, we are lucky to be in a society of freedom. Just remember, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave!
St. Francis Junior High
The most successful essays are well planned. Essays that go off the point with lots of extra detail will get poor marks.
Stick to the question
Underline key words in the essay title so you really understand the question being asked. It’s not about writing all you know about a topic.
Words like ‘discuss’, ‘compare and contrast’, ‘evaluate’, ‘account for’ are used as ways to direct your answer; make sure you know what they mean.
Other questions may start with ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘when’.
Write a plan
Brainstorm your ideas on the essay topic to get started. Spider diagrams are good for this.
Plan the structure of the essay by numbering each of your ideas in order of importance. At this stage you may wish to leave some of them out or develop others by breaking them into sub points. Redo your original spider diagram as necessary.
You may have to present your argument for the essay under broad themes like ‘economic’, ‘social’, ‘political’ or ‘religious’ reasons. Make sure you understand which theme suits each of your points, then group your all points on the same theme in order of importance into a separate paragraph.
Writing the essay
Your essay must have an introduction. State the main points you will discuss in order to support your answer to the question set in the title of the essay.
2. Development of your argument
After the introduction add further paragraphs to build your argument, make the most important points first. Remember the way these points are ordered makes your argument clearer to the reader.
Start a new paragraph for each new important point and any linked points that relate to the question. You may include quotations from other historians and refer to primary sources (such as you can find on this website) to support a particular point.
Make sure your essay makes chronological sense. Try to present any factual points in date order.
Avoid telling the story of what happened. If you refer to an important historical event, you must make a point or comment about it. This will stop your essay from becoming a simple narrative and it shows you are trying to analyse events rather than just describe them.
Aim for five to seven paragraphs, depending on the essay and level of course you are following.
Sum up the main points and briefly restate your argument.
Re-read your work, check for spelling errors, and redraft if necessary.