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Sample Essay

I believe that it is human nature when confronted with something new to automatically consider how different it is from what we are accustomed to. Reading The book River Town: Two years on the Yangtze I found myself intrigue by not how different Chinese culture is to western society. I did not find myself appalled by how the party treated foreigners making them feel unwanted in their land. I did not find it at all surprising that the students in Hessler’s class expressed the opinions they did. Nor did I find surprising that despite the training the author went through to become acclimated to the Chinese language, he still found himself barely able to function when he got there.

Rather I found myself genuinely surprised at how at the core of the experience that has been detailed in this book. Human beings are generally the same. At the surface the difference between American and Chinese culture hold the difference between night and day. The Chinese mindset is heavily steeped in their culture and history. They have not been taught to see anything else except what is before them and to question it the author finds is a huge taboo within the country.

Other differences include how outspoken the students are regarding the fact that they cannot identify with Hamlet. How different their writings are, in that their creativity seems to have its origins within the fields. Despite all of these differences the one thing that seems to tie it all together within the book are the people who the author describes. There are so many examples of how the outsider’s perspective provided in the book is a reflection of the same experiences which may found in our own society.

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