Explanatory Essay: Responding to A Quote

Explanatory Essay:
Responding to A Quote
Let’s try to analyze a popular
quote together…
“Be the change you
wish to see in the
(Mahatma Ghandi)
Part One:
Define and Explain the Quote in
Your OWN Words
Quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
(Mahatma Ghandi)
First think?:
Use the 5Ws & 1H Method to Ponder that question:
What is this quote trying to say or teach
me about life?
Should be the change?
Should we make these changes?
Can we be “the change”?
Can we see these changes?
Types of changes should we exhibit?
Should we accomplish this?
Example Introduction:
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Do you see a person willing to help make a change, or
do you see someone who may be a hindrance to the
resolution of a problem? What I have found from
previous experiences is that you have to step up to
the plate and make the first move. We can not wait
for others to lead the way; we need to be the change
that we see as Mahatma Ghandi so wisely states in
this quote. Whether it be as small as helping someone
when they drop their books in the hallway or as
wide-reaching as spreading messages of peace across
the world, these changes are things that we can do to
improve our society.
Part Two:
Connect to the Quote
Quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Next you need to Connect the Quote to:
Yourself (Personal Experience)
Literature/Media (Books or Film)
And/or The World (Historical or Current Event / Famous Biography)
Use at least TWO IN-DEPTH examples that explain situations in
which your quote has been applied. Think about personal
experiences, current events, historical events, books or movies you
have seen, events you have observed others going through, etc.
Each example will become a body paragraph.
Example 1:
Personal Experience
I used to think that I was powerless and could have no impact on
society. Of course, that was before I joined my youth group. The
youth group that I joined was a very charitable group that really
focuses on caring for the needy. One week into the commitment, I
found myself on a community service trip, which—I admit—I was not
too thrilled about. We were going to clean out a huge garage filled
with clothing donations. After loading everything into several trucks,
we drove to an old, run down building far out of town which I did not
As we entered, I found myself awestruck to see nearly a hundred
people crammed into a tiny room filled with clothing. Their ages
ranged from infants to elders, most in clothes that had become ragged
or had grown too small for them long ago. As they noticed our boxfilled arms, they began running up to us shouting out, “thanks” and
shaking our hands. I could not believe the enthusiasm of the people
just at the sight of the clothing, something we take for granted every
single day. That experience really changed my perspective on how one
person can easily make a significant difference in someone else’s life.
That day I truly was “being the change” in someone else’s life.
Example 2:
Connection to a Book
This quote also reminds me of when my Language Arts class
read a book called Freak the Mighty. The book had a very unlikely
hero, a crippled boy named Kevin. Though Kevin was terminally ill,
he affected many changes during the course of the story. He sets out
on quests, like the brave Medieval knights that he admires, to help
others—especially his new best friend, Max. Kevin’s “can do” attitude
is contagious. In the beginning of the story, Max refers to himself as a
“butthead” because he has a learning disability. Max feels that the he
does not have a brain until Freak (Kevin) comes along. Kevin opens
new doors for Max, showing him that words are like voices on paper
and that life is an adventure. With Kevin in his life, Max begins to
venture out of the basement he lives in and see the possibilities that a
full life offers. As this story demonstrates, a deed as simple as being a
good friend to someone in need can change a life forever. Kevin instills
confidence in Max that lasts even after Kevin’s death (sorry for the
spoiler!). Afterward, Max goes on to write an inspiring book which in
turn inspires other people. All in all, Kevin’s kindness truly created a
positive ripple effect.
Example 3:
Famous Biography Connection
Lastly, although many people may know the actress Natalie Portman from
her role as Queen Amidala in the Star Wars movies or from her photos in magazines,
many do not know the type of person that she really is. Over the years, I have
grown to admire Natalie Portman for being the type of person who inspires change
simply because she conducts herself as a role model should. Shortly after Natalie’s
parents immigrated to the United States from Israel, she was discovered in a pizza
place, where someone approached her parents about having her model. Being a
very smart and bright young girl, she quickly grew bored with modeling. She got
her start in acting when she was offered the role of Anne Frank on Broadway. From
this point, she made a commitment to choose roles that portray a positive image for
young girls. In spite of her fame and success, Natalie also graduated from Harvard
with honors. She is a self-proclaimed “nerd” and has never been afraid that this
stereotype would affect her popularity or how people perceive her. Her dedication
to education was evident in the sacrifices she made, such as missing the premier for
the Phantom Menace in order to study for her high school final exams. How many
of us have such a strong sense of priorities? Natalie Portman wants young girls to
grow up to be educated and strong. She has taken the first step toward making
these changes simply by “walking the walk.” In an environment of fame and
fortune, she has continually made positive and grounded choices. She places
intelligence above materials—a very admirable quality.
Part Three:
Quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Lastly think:
What if we ignore the quote? &
What if we choose to live by it?
Example Conclusion:
In life, we have many choices to make. We can
either choose to stand by and wait for others to
determine the course that our lives will take—or we
can choose to make our own choices, determine our
own futures, and change the world to be the place
we want it to be. We can get involved in
community service and spread messages of hope or
we can be a friend to others and show them all that
they can accomplish. We can even set an example
by living our lives in a way that others admire. So
the choice is yours, make it a noble one!

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