New SAT Essay Topic 3
The essay gives you an opportunity to show how effectively you can read and comprehend a passage and write an essay analyzing the passage. In your essay you should demonstrate that you have read the passage carefully, present a clear and logical analysis, and use language precisely.
Your essay must be written on the lines provided in your answer sheet booklet; except for the planning page of the answer booklet, you will receive no other paper on which to write. You will have enough space if you write on every line, avoid wide margins, and keep your handwriting to a reasonable size. Remember that people who are not familiar with your handwriting will read what you write. Try to write in print so that what you are writing is legible to those readers.
You have 50 minutes to read the passage and write an essay in response to the prompt provided inside this booklet.
- Do not write your essay in this booklet. Only what you write on the lined pages of your answer booklet will be evaluated.
- An off-topic essay will not be evaluated.
As you read the passage below, consider how the author uses
- evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
- reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
- stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
Helen Keller's Address before the New York Association for the Blind, January 15, 1907
1. It is a great pleasure to me to speak in New York about the blind. For New York is great because of the open hand with which it responds to the needs of the weak and the poor. The men and women for whom I speak are poor and weak in that they lack one of the chief weapons with which the human being fights his battle. But they must not on that account be sent to the rear. Much less must they be pensioned like disabled soldiers. They must be kept in the fight for their own sake, and for the sake of the strong. It is a blessing to the strong to give help to the weak. Otherwise there would be no excuse for having the poor always with us…
2. For it is the community where the blind man lives that ultimately determines his success or his failure. The State can teach him to work, supply him with raw materials and capital to start his business. But his fellow-citizens must furnish the market for his products and give him the encouragement without which no blind man can make headway…
3. It is not helpful, in the long run it is harmful, to buy worthless articles of the blind. For many years kind-hearted people have bought futile and childish things because the blind made them. Quantities of beadwork that can appeal to no eye, save the eye of pity, have passed as specimens of the work of the blind. If beadwork had been studied in the schools for the blind and supervised by competent seeing persons, it could have been made a profitable industry for the sightless. I have examined beautiful beadwork in the shops, purses, bags, belts, lamp-shades and dress-trimmings, some of it very expensive, imported from France and Germany. Under proper supervision this beadwork could be made by the blind…
4. In Boston, in a fashionable shopping district, the Massachusetts commission has opened a salesroom where the best handicraft of all the sightless in the State may be exhibited and sold. There are hand-woven curtains, table-covers, bed-spreads, sofa-pillows, linen suits, rugs; and the articles are of good design and workmanship. People buy them not out of pity for the maker, but out of admiration for the thing. Orders have already come from Minnesota, from England, from Egypt. So the blind of the New World have sent light into Egyptian darkness!
5. …Nay, I can tell you of blind men who of their own accord enter the sharp competition of business and put their hands zealously to the tools of trade. It is our part to train them in business, to teach them to use their tools skillfully. Before this association was thought of, blind men had given examples of energy and industry, and with such examples shining in the dark other blind men will not be content to be numbered among those who will not, or cannot, carry burden on shoulder or tool in hand—those who know not the honour of hard-won independence.
6. The new movement for the blind rests on a foundation of common sense. It is not the baseless fabric of a sentimentalist's dream. We do not believe that the blind should be segregated from the seeing, gathered together in a sort of Zion City, as has been done in Roumania and attempted in Iowa. We have no queen to preside over such a city. America is a democracy, a multi-monarchy, and the city of the blind is everywhere. Each community should take care of its own blind, provide employment for them, and enable them to work side by side with the seeing. We do not expect to find among the blind a disproportionate number of geniuses. Education does not develop in them remarkable talent. Like the seeing man, the blind man may be a philosopher, a mathematician, a linguist, a seer, a poet, a prophet.
7. But believe me, if the light of genius burns within him, it will burn despite his infirmity, and not because of it…
8. I appeal to you, give the blind man the assistance that shall secure for him complete or partial independence. He is blind and falters. Therefore go a little more than halfway to meet him. Remember, however brave and self-reliant he is, he will always need a guiding hand in his.
Write an essay in which you explain how Helen Keller develops her argument about the necessity of industries for the blind. In your essay, analyze how Keller uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of her argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant aspects of the passage.
Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Keller's claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade her audience.