It's really long, I'm looking for any kind of feedback especially constructive criticism, I'm a sophomore in the US btw.
If I were to say that I had no role model, I would be speaking a lie. I remember being a bewildered little girl, utterly confused and overwhelmed by a writing prompt given to me by my bespectacled, sweater wearing, fourth grade teacher. I knew her name once, but time has a way of gently eroding things from your memory, and now Mrs. Something is nothing but a faint recollection. Write a one page paper about your role model. My role model? I didn’t have role models, and I realized that I never really was in awe of any one person. Great people have done great things, I contemplated, but I couldn’t single out one person to write about.
Years passed, and I still remained unsure and unconvinced. Not everyone had a role model, there was nothing particularly wrong about that. It’s only after all this time that I finally realized who my role model is, someone who’s been a prominent figure throughout my life, a source of unbelievable comfort and strength. My role model is none other than my own grandmother, and maybe I’ve realized it a little too late to truly appreciate it.
My grandmother was born in a time of turmoil, into an environment that proved to be a never ending supply of disadvantages and pain. She was born in Bangladesh, sometime in the 1940’s, into an impoverished and overpopulated country, then only a poor state under the control of the powerful land of Pakistan. Her father was a little known lawyer, and though he earned a substantial salary, he struggled to make ends meet. 13 children they had together, 13 mouths to feed, as my great grandmother shrieked and pushed out a new baby with alarming frequency.
There were no means of contraception back then, and women absolutely had no say, so each year, for several years, my great grandparents added new additions to their family. A boy, a son, that was what great grandfather, or boro nana, really wanted. He desperately sought an heir to manage the family property, a valiant son to carry on his name. But it wasn’t what he got, instead, girl after useless girl were born to him, and with each one boro nana grew more and more bitter.
“What will I do with all these girls? That fruitless woman! Infertile and worthless, she gave me nothing but daughters that will grow up to be as stupid as she. Those girls can do nothing but sit here and drain my money. Ah yes, my girls will watch in glee as their poor father transforms into a beggar man.” he would rant.
In the largely patriarchal society of Bangladesh, not every child was a boon or blessing, but rather, girls were burdens, and when in vast quantities, they were failures and represented a man’s impotency. In the midst of all this chaos, my grandmother was born, the middle child, overlooked and underappreciated, always ready to sacrifice. After a couple years time, a son was finally born, followed by another, and lastly one more. Three sons to carry on boro nana’s legacy, and he overflowed with happiness, beaming at his sons, but then he would remember the 10 other children that he had sired. The expendable daughters he would have the responsibility to marry off, one by one.
The eldest daughters were married off in a timely manner, initially to suitable men who were able to provide for their wives. But as boro nana went further down the list, he grew impatient and began marrying his daughters off left and right to whatever suitor would dare ask. Most were 16, one was only at the tender age of 10 before being married off, and my grandma, well, my grandma was a mere girl of 14 before she had to leave behind the few comforts of her own home.
He was 20, my grandfather, dashingly handsome, the eldest son born to a small, wealthy family of four. Rich and spoiled throughout his upbringing, he was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Upon seeing my grandmother for the first time in a chance encounter, he was struck by her immense youthful beauty, and brashly asked for her hand in marriage, without the consent of his parents. Boro nana readily agreed, and my grandmother, who was not allowed any input, meekly accepted her fate. But a wife is not like an object you can buy and return when the novelty wore off, it is a commitment for life, something that you cannot easily abandon. When grandfather brought his young bride home for the first time, his parents shook their heads gravely at the sight. Their eldest son, with such intelligence, and such prestige, how could he ever marry the daughter of a poor nameless lawyer? Despite his son’s vehement protests, and the young girl’s silent tears, grandfather’s parents gritted their teeth and coldly disowned their own son.
“You are no longer kin to us. Go elsewhere and make your fortune with this girl, but don’t show up here with her in tow. Get out!” they yelled, and threw the young couple out of their home.
And thus began the married life of my grandmother. Grandfather was intelligent, and charismatic, he quickly secured a job and place to live. But with each passing day he would look on at his young wife with increasing distaste. ‘What happened to her full lips, they are now thin and dry. Her teeth, slowly yellowing away, and her hair, my goodness, its falling out in handfuls. Is this what I sacrificed my life of luxury for? This woman who is rapidly turning into a hag? This mute woman who doesn’t even reciprocate my love?’ he no doubt would’ve thought to himself.
Their relationship grew hostile, yet by the age of 21 grandmother had already given birth to five children. An unfortunate accident would render her infertile, and grandfather who had lost the last lingering traces of love for her would admit that at least grandmother provided him with two capable sons, and went about her domestic duties like an obedient wife. Unlike boro nana though, grandfather adored his girls as well, and especially loved his curly haired little girl who had a bright wit and fiery temper to match his own.
Little did he know though that it was really grandmother who secretly sat down everyday with the children to teach them little lessons and help them with their homework. Underneath her meek, and mild demeanor, lay a strong, inquisitive woman. As a girl grandmother had excelled in her studies, and unlike her sisters, she would actually want to go to school to learn. She was naturally adept at math, and though her early marriage put an abrupt end to her formal education, she actively sought out new information to teach herself throughout her life. As her children grew older, she even looked at their textbooks and tried learning the new material, always wanting to help and support them. To her daughters, especially, she emphasized the importance of an education.
“Times are changing, and women can do things that people never dreamed they could. It’s all up to you now, how you want to make things be.” she would tell her three daughters in hushed tones.
Grandfather was pleased with the children, believing that his own genes were the primary reason to be held accountable for the intelligence of the children. But behind the scenes, grandmother would hurry the children to tutors on weekends whom she would pay with her own pocket money, and test them on their schoolwork at home. Grandmother would jump on any opportunity that she believed could help her children succeed, always determined to make sure her children would have better prospects in the world.
Though not an ideal life, grandmother was much more at ease living with her husband and adored children than she was back at her childhood home. Things went along in a humdrum pace when a sudden heart attack became the root of all their problems. A single, unforeseen attack swiftly came and left, but not before becoming the cause of grandfather’s inopportune death. Though a heavy smoker, the links between smoking and illnesses were yet to be discovered, and grandfather’s death, extremely premature at the age of 48, was a huge shock and traumatic incident that left the entire family in shambles.
A young widow, at only 42 years old, grandmother had managed to secure marriages for her eldest two daughters. As the new head of the family, grandmother had to fend for herself in a male dominated world to make sure that her remaining three children would be as well cared for as they always had been. Through lots of tedious work, grandmother single-handedly brought up the younger three children, and bade them farwell as they each grew up and left home. Today two of her children are housewives in happy marriages, one daughter is a practicing medical doctor in the US, one son the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company, the other a accountant in Canada, all of them united under the careful guidance of their mother.
But what ever happened to my grandmother? The woman who went through it all without a helping hand to aid her? She still lives in Bangladesh, refusing to leave her country, never wishing to disrespect her homrland. Somewhere in a decrepit NGO office you may be able to find her, a small, bent woman peering over piles of paperwork. Other times you may see her out and about, visiting rural villages to educate illiterate women about their rights, offering contraception, and providing opportunities to escape domestic violence.
Though now she is a frail, old woman, I doubt my grandmother will ever stop working. There are many people out there who have done things to significantly help mankind, but I still hold my grandmother in higher esteem. What I admire most about her is not that she has been an advocate for women’s equality, nor that she made sure her children were properly educated, but her optimistic attitude in the face of brutal adversity. Throughout her life she has gone through many hardships, but never once has she given up. For that I admire her, and can only give her innumerable thanks, because without her hard work, I’d never be who I am today.
It is a great essay (it has a couple of typos, so use a spell checker).
If I have any suggestion, it would be to tell the reader how, as a role model, your grandmother has influenced how you act and think. A role model is different from someone we admire - we try to emulate a role model, but not necessarily someone who we admire.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
okay! i rewrote the conclusion:
Though now she is a frail, old woman, I doubt my grandmother will ever stop working. There are many people out there who have done things to significantly help mankind, but I still hold my grandmother in higher esteem. I can only imagine how she felt, being thrown into the grueling adult world at the age of 14, forced to make decisions that teenagers today would shudder at. What I admire most about her is not that she has been an advocate for women’s equality, nor that she made sure her children were properly educated, but her positive attitude in the face of brutal adversity. Though I doubt I will ever face problems like my grandmother has, I want to be able to deal with all of my obstacles just like her, optimistically and thoughtfully.
^is that better? do you have any more input, the more the merrier Emotion: smile
I love getting feedback, but I wish there were more responses Emotion: sad I really want to have a shot at this contest so please anyone come comment, any kind of criticism is awesome