It might be best to look at a few examples of folks who know how to work a quote into an essay–you might try reading some Montaigne, or for a modern idiom, you could try this link, to Paul Theroux’s the Old Patagonian Express, and read pages 3-6, which don’t begin with a quote, but he soon uses multiple quotes and you can see a good example of quote and content being integrated there..
This three-page section of the book has been excerpted as an essay and gives a good example of thought and action as Theroux looks at himself in relation to others engaged in the same activity.
On the other hand, as our current president argued in a speech in Poland, there are a set of ideas that may loosely be described as Western–but I don’t think that the president’s speech actually reflected ideas like empiricism, openness to new ideas . For you, it might be a turntable and the history of hiphop tied to that. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.
If you searched “Essays that start with a quote,” in addition to finding a number of college application essay books, you’ll also find web pages explaining how clichéd and terrible these essays are.
Princeton Prompt Option 3–“Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. Let’s start with culture itself– Culture gives everything from a world view to food to ideas about who should wear what on their head and when; it is a kind of agreement about what is real and how to act. Not that our civilization lived up to those ideals, but still. ” Notice how that piece of paper in which the colonists declared independence is basically just a set of ideas. But back to the president’s speech: you don’t have to argue for a war of cultures to describe the influence and nature of your culture.
And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” –Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and chair, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University. And like fish in water, we do not really understand our own culture until we live in another. Certainly the Western or European culture that arose in Rome and led to the Enlightenment created a set of important ideas, one of them being expressed in the clause, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . But there is also the culture of your personal background and family, which include food, values, religion, et al.For example, you can find interesting commentaries on many aspects of inequality in the U. of A, in Vance’s look at white, rural poverty in Hillbilly Elegy or in Coates’ take on the effects of racism in Between the World and Me.Keep in mind that writing effectively about topics like poverty and race pretty much demands a preexisting interest in things like politics and race, as well as sociology and economics, and that you should have done some reading outside of class–you know, current events, topical books like those I linked above, online discussions, TED talks, etc. The best personal statements have a personal connection, to your experience, interests, and moral sense–as well as to your past involvement.And while reading books like those I link can be useful, you are writing an essay about a concern here that happens to be social as well’ you are not writing a a book report or an essay for class. So don’t suddenly become a civil rights advocate or advocate for the poor just in time to write this essay.For some more guidance on how to write about a topic like this, my old post on the service essay for Princeton actually (and perhaps ironically) works well– click to the right and scroll down to find the quote about not being a hand wringer, and read from there. Breaking it down, the important things are “things’ from “culture” that will make life meaningful. which I consider hallmarks of Western Civ, at least as ideals for the last four hundred years.Of course, you should also be able to show yourself doing something beyond simply observing.It would help, of course, if you were a participant in some sort of action, though the author shows his own ability to think and does act on his principles by reporting on the book and the world around us.In that sense, the spirit of service in the old Woodrow Wilson prompt lives on, here defined by a concern with inequality and racism–and presumably a desire to change things for the better, i.e. This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.Does this mean you need to write an essay on race or race relations?If you go with this topic, keep in mind the potential pitfalls of writing about disparities and problems of race and money– looking arrogant or paternalistic or simplistic or self righteous as you insert yourself into the problems of others.So if you choose to write about culture or disparities, try to do so without looking like some kind of imperialist in a pith helmet.