Jump to content

GRE Argumentative Essay


Recommended Posts

Hello all :)

I would appreciate it if I could get some feedback on this AG essay I wrote :)
Thanks in advance.


Woven baskets characterized by a particular distinctive pattern have previously been found only in the immediate vicinity of the prehistoric village of Palea and therefore were believed to have been made only by the Palean people. Recently, however, archaeologists discovered such a "Palean" basket in Lithos, an ancient village across the Brim River from Palea. The Brim River is very deep and broad, and so the ancient Paleans could have crossed it only by boat, and no Palean boats have been found. Thus it follows that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean.

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument:

The argument claims that woven baskets found within the vicinity of a prehistoric village, Palea, belong to that particular village. It goes on to counteract the statement through a form of reasoning to support that baskets were in fact not uniquely Palean, however this conclusion is doubtful due to some major flaws in the logic and coherence of the evidence provided.
The baskets were initially claimed to be solely Palean, by the author, as they were found within the Palean village radius. This evidence is based on thin ice as it is not clear the scope of this proximity to the actual village. The sample obtained may not have been representative of the village, but may have been from an external source. Amongst the many possibilities, travellers may have been crossing the terrain and left behind the basket. Furthermore, a river source/stream may have deposited the sample from it's origin. Without further evidence, it is impossible to determine the origin of the basket. If research were conducted in the Palean village itself to determine any similar remnants of baskets, we would be one step closer to finding out if the basket belonged there. 

Additionally, the author implies that no boats were found till date and so the Paleans could not have crossed the river and deposited the basket in Lithos. If this were based on solid evidence, then this would be true. However, lack of presence does not mean non existence. Paleans could or could not have had boats in the past, but there is no such way to determine this unless vessels were found within the village. To support this claim better, specific work needs to be done in search of water vessels of any kind. This would give an idea of the capability of the Palean people to cross the river. It might have been possible that the people of Lithos may have crossed the river and thus the basket's location in Lithos is explained. Thus, additional research should be done in Lithos of the same kind as in Palea to determine any water vessel remains.

It is important to note that is set in prehistoric times and therefore it is likely that the topography of the land was different. The river source might have been narrow and shallow and it could have been possible to cross by foot. Further evidence can be collected by studying prehistoric maps and judging from them whether the river was ever a barrier for the Palea/Lithos people. Connections between the two villages should be studied i.e. trade, route for travellers etc. which might explain the reason of the same form of baskets in two different locations.

To conclude that the baskets were not Palean seems premature and misplaced. Most likely, other courses of action outlined above will need to be taken to verify the origins of the woven basket. This can be primarily done through extensive research in the Palean and Lithos villages and once more evidence is presented, the conclusion can be clear, coherent and rigid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that you brought up some excellent discussion items and presented them thoroughly and with evidence that was sensible and more valid than the prompt's 'evidence'. Everything is concise and your vocabulary/ phrasing illustrates you have control of what you write. 


On a related note, I read somewhere that they prefer quality and length over grammar, so for the essay portion of the GRE try to write a good amount with valuable support and don't worry so much about the nitty gritty grammar. They mostly want to see that you can write well. (Although I'd still try to go back and check for major errors. I'd still take this advice with a grain of salt, though, as I'm not a GRE grader and neither was that person who said the comment about length over grammar.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use