Law School Sample Essay
New York University: Denied
Never before have I been so confused by a literary message. The struggle between good and evil; right and wrong; heroic and ordinary: I am referring to my recent encounter with the novels of Ayn Rand and her accompanying philosophy of Objectivism. I decided to read the first of two Rand novels at the beginning of last semester, a time when my future remained undecided as I watched my fellow seniors corralled into the various positions reserved for the Duke graduate. In a sense, both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged served to further obfuscate my search for a logical path. What did I want to do, where did I want to be, and who was I doing this all for?
Rand describes Objectivism as "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievements as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." Both Howard Roarke in The Fountainhead and Henry Rearden in Atlas Shrugged possess the uncanny ability to flaunt the conventions of contemporary society in order to continue the fulfillment of their own visions of personal expression. However, as I read these captivating stories I cannot help but wonder if such heroism could feasibly exist in our world. I, too, want to emulate Roarke and Rearden, and I guarantee that every other reader whose eyes grace Rand's pages feels the same way. But society is too constraining, and such individualistic behavior, in reality, only leads to isolation. I do not mean to paint a cynical world of pessimism, for there are those out there who deserve a heroic label. However, no one can possibly approach the moral level with which Rand imbues her characters.
I have decided that my future will involve the study and practice of law, a path that has and will always be traveled. I plan to work hard and enjoy my chosen profession, but I cannot honestly say that society's hand did not guide this choice. I am not a Randian hero; but, then again, who is?
This essay suffers from a lack of clear focus. The confusion to which the writer alludes, in fact, in the first paragraph, seems to set the tone for a series of vaguely related observations. While some of the ideas invoked — including the parallel implicitly drawn between reading a novel by Ayn Rand and negotiating one's way through the path of life — are compelling, they become lost. And the rather flippant concluding sentence fails to provide any closure.
This essay also needs to be more succinct and direct. The writer uses unnecessary words such as "accompanying" in "Ayn Rand and her accompanying philosophy...," and "served" in "She served to further obfuscate...." The space you are allotted for your essay is valuable; use it wisely and efficiently!