SAT Essay Sample 11 from Barron

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SAT Essay Sample 11 from Barron's Writing Workbook for the New SAT

Think carefully about the following passage and the assignment below.

Essay Prompt

Mohandas Gandhi labeled close friendships as dangerous because “friends react on one another and sometimes loyalty to a friend will lead us into wrongdoing.”

George Orwell stated that “sometimes one is willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty to others.”

What do you think—are close friendships dangerous because they may lead us to wrongdoing, or is it okay that we sometimes commit “sins” for the sake of loyalty to others?

Shannon's Essay

Whichever way you decide to think about closeness and giving another being all your trust is a big part of your personality. Whether you decide to give someone all your trust and hope they don’t turn their back on you and betray you. Or maybe you feel that if they know nothing, they say nothing.

As Mohandas Gandhi says, maybe giving loyalty to a friend will lead us to bad things. The more a person knows you, the easier it is to deceive you. First of all, you already trust them and your heart will think of any excuse to prove to yourself your friend is not an enemy.

Your friend may have an alternative side that you have no idea about. He/she could be feeding your secrets to the “enemy.” Anybody can become your friend, but maybe they became your friend to tell someone else what happened to you to your “old” best friend—all those things you never wanted that person to know. Be careful of handing out your trust as if it were mere rocks; make the recipient earn it as if it were gold.

As for George Orwell’s opinion that it is good to have loyalty, maybe this person will help you when you are having a hard time. Everyone loves to have a good friend—someone you can count on to laugh with, tell stories to, crack some jokes with. Not only is it nice to have such a person, but it is healthy. When you have a bad day and need to let off a little steam, it is great to do that with this person. If you allow too many things to build up inside and you are dying to tell someone it is not at all healthy. Maybe that includes being a bit of a “sin committer” as Orwell mentions, but these are friends that are invaluable. They can listen to you and give support when you need it. Through their help, you can decide just how you will face the world. You just have to be smart enough to know not to be pressured into doing things you should not do. 


Shannon seems to have fallen into the trap that many writers do who respond to such prompts. She seems to be seeing this through very narrow eyes. She has personalized the quotations and her response. Although she attempts to separate the two quotations, her response is actually rather generalized. For her, friends are one’s lifeblood. Without them, one has no emotional outlet. That is not really what the quotations are talking about.

However, she does attempt to separate the two points of view. Gandhi she interprets more as friends ending up not trust worthy, so perhaps you should not have them in the first place. Orwell, she agrees with more, since she feels that havin reliable friends are worth maybe sinning a bit.

Looking at the scoring guide, this is a three response. It demonstrates inadequate mastery, but developing skills. With some more time and work, Shannon probably could turn this paper around. In the time she had, however, she kept her viewpoint narrow. She took the concept of friends and friendship very literally and personally. Although Marco’s response is not exactly global, it is more hypothetical. It does not sound as much like a personal response to the importance of friends and friendship in one’s life. It is important for you to try to think outside the box, as they say. Try not to respond entirely from the gut; attempt to respond from your mind.

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