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Seeking feedback on GRE-issue essay.


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To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.

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.


While it apparently makes sense to want to focus on major cities to understand the most important characteristics of a society, it may not help you to fully comprehend its workings, which are based on deeply held beliefs and ideas. It is true that bigger cities are melting pots of various cultures, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds, but, you will never understand the soul of the society, unless you understand its history and its roots.

Culture in bigger cities or metropolitans become homogonised, if only superficially; people, especially those who moved to the bigger cities from small towns or villages, tend to change and evolve in order to fit in, but they never truly transform. Their beliefs and ideas of the world have already crystallized largely before they move to bigger cities, which become apparent once you probe a little deeper. On the surface, a large city will always appear to be more progressive and liberal.

To really investigate and understand the spirit of a society, one needs to delve deeper into its soul: the vast expanse of rural hinterland and the small towns. Though you will witness some dying rituals and beliefs, on the whole, you will begin to understand the society more deeply through its history, its culture, its ideas of a nation, its founding fathers – needless to say, they didn’t just connect with the peoples of the bigger cities, but the whole of the country or society to bring about a revolution.

It is vital to understand how a society eats, what it grows, what it wears, how it treats its women, what political ideology it espouses and so on and so forth. If and only if you witness and understand the problems the common man across a country from every part of the society faces and how he or she deals with it, will you appreciate it.

The problems and lifestyle of the people in major cities will generally be starkly different from that of villages, which is why, I believe, one needs to observe the country or society as a whole to truly understand it.

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