Misc. Topics Sample 14

Essay Prompt

What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way? (250-300 words)

Sample Essay

Walking into the art gallery on the first day of my summer internship, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the thing hanging in front of me: a sculpture of a naked, zombie- like ballerina recognizable by her bun and pointe shoes. Her body was contorted into a wretched form and she appeared to be throwing up a mass of wires and metal. If that won't scare a girl into reconsidering whether a career in the art business is such a good idea, I don't know what will. But before I could flee, I was greeted by some other staff and the day was underway. So I stayed and kept my questions about the nightmarishly ugly sculpture to myself.

During that first week, I learned how to sell a piece of art to a client. I was told to let the client view the art for a few minutes and then to ask, "How does this resonate with you?" Of course, I feared the day I would have to ask this question about the sculpture because all I could imagine someone saying was, "Horribly. It's hideous." That's because that is what I would say. I prefer art that is beautiful and captivating, art that begs me to take a closer look.

Yet as the days of my internship ticked by, I realized that the resonance question inspired me to take another look at the sculpture. It did, after all, exemplify the raw carnal side of humanity in a novel way. Maybe that is all that art is required to do. I'm still not sure, but I could now imagine a different answer to the resonance question. How did it resonate with me? Positively provocative.

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