Posted: November 19th, 2022
Topic: The following passage comes from “The Common Life,” a 19994 essay by the American writer Scott Russell Sanders. Read the passage carefully and then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies Sanders’ ideas about the relationship between the individual and society in the United States. Use specific evidence to support your position.
“A woman who recently moved from Los Angeles to Bloomington [Indiana] told me that she would not be able to stay here long, because she was already beginning to recognize people in the grocery stores, on the sidewalks, in the library. Being surrounded by familiar faces made her nervous, after years in a city where she could range about anonymously. Every traveler knows the sense of liberation that comes from journeying to a place where nobody expects anything of you. Everyone who has gone to college knows the exhilaration of slipping away from the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad. We all need seasons of withdrawal from responsibility. But if we make a career of being unaccountable, we have lost something essential to our humanity, and we may well become a burden or a threat to those around us. A community can support a number of people who are just passing through, or who care about no one’s needs but their own; the greater the proportion of such people, however, the more vulnerable the community, until eventually it breaks down….Taking part in the common life means dwelling in a web of relationships, the many threads tugging at you while also holding you upright.”
Word Count: 300-400 words
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