The power of words

November 4, 2009
By Joseph Leogrande BRONZE, Auburn, New York
Joseph Leogrande BRONZE, Auburn, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In reflecting on the events of my life that have impacted me, I returned to the night of August 1, 2006. I found myself in Row G of Radio City Music Hall in New York City sitting by my mother, not at all tired, although we had flown from Las Vegas to Syracuse the day before, and my family had driven five hours to the city for “An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp,” a charity event with readings by three authors. The excitement rushing through me kept me awake and alert; I was standing and applauding a tiny blonde woman with amazing silver snake shoes as she prepared to read.

The Harry Potter series was my gateway drug into my intellectual puberty. I was so fascinated by the Harry Potter world that my mother began taking me to academic conferences focused on the books. Beginning with The Witching Hour in 2005, through Lumos, Prophecy, Portus, and Azkatrz in 2009, I have attended presentations about the Latin etymology of terms and spells, the mythical tales of the artifacts, and the idea of literary alchemy. These books opened my eyes to the whole world, and to knowledge itself. They were the stimulus that kept my brain working over the summers. More importantly, they helped me adopt the philosophy useful in school and beyond, that there is always another way to do something, or to perceive an issue. With uncertainty and doubt, comes innovation and new ways to look at problems that may result in new, different, faster and easier solutions. And all this came from a little “magic,” from a book that many people see as a series for children.

Along with fans and students from many countries, I attended lectures about Ms. Rowling’s ability to beautifully craft the saga, with every painstakingly small detail connected to something else. For example, Dr. John Granger, a “Potter Pundit” who has written several critical and religious-based analyses of the books, reminded the audience that Harry’s (and his mother Lily’s) green eyes owe a literary debt to Dante’s Beatrice. From Jonathan Swift to Chaucer to Dickens and Austin, I learned that like all great books, Rowling’s stories fostered a connection across mind, body, and soul. Although the series has been criticized by those who believe it corrupts children and teaches witchcraft, I was able to hear discussions by those who purported that, like the Bible, these books teach wonderful messages if one goes beyond the literal level to the allegorical. It is my generation’s shared text; all college freshmen are familiar with the stories, and that gives us a set of common beliefs and ideas that can serve as a springboard to new learning.

As I sat surrounded by avid fans and scholars of John Irving, Steven King, and J.K. Rowling, it gave me hope that this country will not be consumed by the mundane. With so much emphasis on physical aspects of life, and the material and sexual focus of the messages thrown at us by the media, it would be easy to become jaded or depressed. But I am not worried. I have been surrounded by 6000 people, all of whom paid good money, not for a sporting event or a concert, but to hear authors read their work. I have evidence that words on a page can change not only my life, but the world.


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This article has 157 comments.


on Jul. 12 2011 at 9:27 pm
ItsAshMal SILVER, Guilford, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 44 comments
having a larger vocabulary will only make a college essay more attractive, as far as I've read.

on Jun. 21 2011 at 11:54 am
EnochDreams GOLD, Simi Valley, California
12 articles 8 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver importance than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars. - Aristotle

‎"I think the biggest thing that my failures have taught me is that you can't succeed without failing"

-Rick Riordan

Very good. I love Harry potter and actually own a book called "Harry Potter for God". Its some BS. Harry Potter is a story much the same as any other. Religious people just like to gain control over anything they can. Keep up the good writing!

on Jun. 21 2011 at 11:52 am
EnochDreams GOLD, Simi Valley, California
12 articles 8 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver importance than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars. - Aristotle

‎"I think the biggest thing that my failures have taught me is that you can't succeed without failing"

-Rick Riordan

If he is a feshman in college, those are the kind of things he will need right?

kjohn102 said...
on Jun. 13 2011 at 3:41 am
Lady red, from the state of your spelling abilities, I'd say it's pretty obvious that you dont like to read. I mean, "boaring".. honestly?? I suggest you re-read the books, you might learn something from them.

on Jun. 7 2011 at 11:23 pm
cdmswimmer9 GOLD, Costa Mesa, California
17 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Faith is taking the first step when you can't see the whole staircase." -MLK Jr.

I agree, the essay is good. But you need to take what you wrote and apply to you. And maybe tone down the higher level words, it doesn't sound like a teen wrote it. You might have an extensive vocab but I kind of got muddled in the big words towards the middle. You want to make it easy to read. 

on Jun. 7 2011 at 11:30 am
i agree with you..harry potter is a very boring subject to write about or even read as a matter of fact

lady red said...
on May. 13 2011 at 12:01 pm

welll i think that harry potter books are sooooooooooooooooooo lame and that are full of lies and crapy fanazy and i hate them they are boaring and preaty fat.... dont get but hurt i just dont like reading... dont take it personalll... j.k laters

 


Michellex3 said...
on Apr. 26 2011 at 5:34 pm

OOPS! SORRY! I had just been on a college essay when I was linked over to this, so I thought that this was one too. My bad. Disregard my earlier comment.

 

ANYWAY, as an article, this was really well done! (:


Michellex3 said...
on Apr. 26 2011 at 5:31 pm

"These books opened my eyes to the whole world, and to knowledge itself. They were the stimulus that kept my brain working over the summers. More importantly, they helped me adopt the philosophy useful in school and beyond, that there is always another way to do something, or to perceive an issue. With uncertainty and doubt, comes innovation and new ways to look at problems that may result in new, different, faster and easier solutions. And all this came from a little “magic,” from a book that many people see as a series for children."

If this was a writing class, I'd say good job. But because this is supposed to be an essay about who YOU are, I don't think it was successful.

SHOW, *don't* tell.

Scrap the entire essay but the part I quoted above. Take those few sentences, and turn them into the entire essay. But don't SAY those words. Instead, give examples/prrof of these, enough so that by NOT SAYING those words straight out, you are SHOWING exactly how they are true.


on Apr. 20 2011 at 4:10 pm
sincerely_anna BRONZE, Lakeville, Minnesota
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off." -Sir Thomas Aquinas

If words change the world, then soon we're going to have a very different world than the one we live in now. With public education in the U.S. failing a plethora of children, future generations will not have the skills to harness the power of words. In my college essay, which has been posted on this site, I discuss how a single school can be a microcosm of the entired failing system. Check it out, if you'd like.

on Apr. 17 2011 at 3:59 am
Vikramkej BRONZE, Kolkata, Other
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
decent essay, lacked a bit of personal touch

ascend said...
on Apr. 15 2011 at 9:02 am
Well written, however, I personally don't see much substance or message in the Harry Potter books and think they can be a waste of time. Unless someone can enlighten me.

on Mar. 21 2011 at 6:56 am
devinnmariee SILVER, New City, New York
8 articles 0 photos 7 comments

ME TOOOOOOOOO! :D

HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! :D


xobumblebeex said...
on Mar. 16 2011 at 10:44 am
Your essay was outstanding! it really makes me want to read the harry potter series. This was amazing! you gave me inspiration.

on Mar. 10 2011 at 8:45 am
BitterSweet1993 SILVER, Bronx, New York
5 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species. ~W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook, 1949

I have never picked up a Harry Potter book and completed it. I have of course watched all the movies. But you make me want ot read them. This was fantastic.

on Feb. 23 2011 at 12:11 pm
BigJoe92 BRONZE, Bartlett, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 7 comments

ENCORE

ENCORE

ENCORE


on Dec. 20 2010 at 1:16 pm
vestling92 SILVER, Brownsburg, Indiana
5 articles 0 photos 4 comments
i would take out the very first sentence -- seems a little superfluous. i'd rather see you leap right into the narration.

on Nov. 23 2010 at 7:41 am
hey i like your essay,its pretty cool.good job buddy.

crash said...
on Nov. 15 2010 at 2:59 pm
wow what a wonderfull eassy

kyle628 said...
on Nov. 7 2010 at 10:55 pm
"The Harry Potter series was my gateway drug into my intellectual puberty." I found this hysterical. Awesome essay.




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