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Practice Essay

fontainedfontained Joined: 07/22/2017Posts: 24
In the online GRE class, you mentioned that we could post practice essays and that you would grade them? Could you have a look at this one please?

 In the passage, the author claims that the baskets found in Lithos are not uniquely Palean as previously thought. The argument provides several facts that offer support for the claim. However, the argument as written lacks sufficient evidence to establish the validity of the claim. There are several salient issues that the author needs to address in order to know if the baskets found in Lithos are truly not Palean in origin. In the following discussion, this essay will evaluate several of these issues including the river depth, the boat origin and the geography of the area.

           Consider one of the key points of the author's claim, the depth and broadness of the river. Since the argument is talking about Palean baskets that were found thousands of years ago, the author needs to take into account that the Brim river that separates Lithos and Palea may not have always been so deep and wide. There are many different factors that can change a river's geography over thousands of years such as increased snowmelt and excess rain. The fact that the author bases his or her conclusion on the depth and broadness of the river makes the argument entirely invalid. The author does not know the state of the river thousands of years ago and therefore does not know if it were impossible for the Palean people to cross without a boat. The river could have been equivalent to a stream and if this was the case, Paleans could have crossed over into Lithos easily and it would make sense that there were Palean baskets found in this area. If the author were to provide evidence that the river was in fact as deep and as broad as described in the argument during the time that the Palean people lived, this argument would be strong. However, as written, it is severely flawed.

            In addition to the state of the river, the author's claim about not finding any Palean boats does not necessarily imply that no one crossed the river. In fact, the people of Lithos could have used their boats to cross the river and trade some of their products for Palean baskets to bring back to Lithos with them. Simply because the Paleans did not cross the river does not mean that their baskets had no way of getting over to Lithos. Since the argument is based upon the claim that no Palean boats were found, the argument is flawed because other prehistoric groups could have used their boats to get to Palea and acquire some baskets. If the author were to provide evidence that no boats of any prehistoric groups were found, then the argument would be valid.

            Lastly, the author's claim about Lithos being across the river from Palea does not necessarily mean that the only way to get from one village to the other was to cross the river. There could have been an area either downstream or upstream that was not completely submerged by the river. In this way, the Palean people could have transported their baskets to Lithos. The author's claim about finding Palean baskets in Lithos does not imply that the Palean basket are not uniquely Palean because of the chance that there were other ways to cross into Lithos without having to cross the river, such as a strip of sand or rocks in the river bed. It is impossible to know for certain what the geography of the area was during the prehistoric time so the argument is flawed. If the author had the ability to go back in time to observe what the layout of the land was during the prehistoric time, he or she could provide the reader with evidence that the only way to cross the into LIthos form Palea was in fact by the river and the argument would be strong. As written, the author fails to do this because it is impossible to predict what the geography of the land was back then and thus the argument is flawed.

            The author's argument that the Palean baskets are not uniquely Palean does benefit from some encouraging evidence. However as discussed, there are numerous problems with the author's analysis that need further study. If the author were to provide evidence that addressed these problems, his or her argument would be far stronger but as written, it is far from convincing. 

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  • Jonathan EvansJonathan Evans PowerScore Staff Joined: 10/31/2016Posts: 110
    Diane, this is a stellar essay. It is a solid 5. Your structure is solid. Your command of language is excellent. The length is good. Your analysis is compelling. For improvement, I would suggest revisions primarily to your suggestions for improvement. For instance, in your third paragraph you write: 

    If the author had the ability to go back in time to observe what the layout of the land was during the prehistoric time, he or she could provide the reader with evidence that the only way to cross the into LIthos form Palea was in fact by the river and the argument would be strong. As written, the author fails to do this because it is impossible to predict what the geography of the land was back then and thus the argument is flawed.

    You'll find no argument here re the substance of what you write; however, as you know this is indeed impossible! If possible, consider an alternative, such as:


    If the author were to obtain adequate geological or archaeological evidence to ascertain what the lay of the land was during the prehistoric time, he or she could provide the reader with evidence that the only way to cross the into LIthos form Palea was in fact by the river and the argument would be strong. As written, the author fails to do this because it absent this crucial evidence.

    Otherwise, this is a very strong effort! Keep up the good work!

  • fontainedfontained Joined: 07/22/2017Posts: 24
    Okay, great, thank you so much for the feedback!
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