Issue Task: The most important characteristics of a society

Hi there,

I am preparing for Analytical Writing. Could you please provide me with feedback. I have little time to prepare, and I need to work on my flaws asap. Thank you for your understanding.

To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

While major cities of any given country can demonstrate main aspects of its degree of development, its remote regions can reveal tendencies that are not apparent at first sight, while looking at country’s major cities. Yet even though the state of development of country’s small towns and rural areas can speak for itself, the basic tendencies and inclinations of a given society can be studied through examining their major cities.

First of all, largest cities are bright examples of economic development as well as political activity of a country. It is through observing how people make their living in big cities one can understand how well the national economy operates. Besides, major cities house the government institutions that can be active at different degrees. The intensity of economic and political activities in a country can offer insights on how a society functions. For instance, when I moved to Moscow, the capital of Russia, I noticed quite fast that my daily interactions with colleagues and people around me were more politically charged in comparison to my experience of living in my home town. At the same time, we must acknowledge that it is in the rural and remote areas of a country one can see how the national industries operate, or how well agriculture and farming, the core foundation of nation’s prosperity, are developed.

Second, it is in major cities where the most of national museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions are present. Through attending different cultural events that mostly take place in major cities a person can familiarize herself with contemporary and traditional cultures of a society. For instance, while living in Saint Petersburg, I used to visit Hermitage and the Russian Museum, where I learned a lot about the Russian cultural heritage. By visiting exhibitions organized by contemporary artists, I learned how the young generation perceives and understands the current state of affairs. In contrast to major cities, towns and small cities cannot suggest such a vast and rich material for studying a society from historical perspective.

Nonetheless, culture is a living entity, it evolves over time and present until a society, the bearer and creator of its culture, exists. By examining only major cities, one cannot possibly understand the country’s traditional culture as it is up to date. Mundane materialistic values and goals of major cities’ dwellers could be representations of their artificial interest in High culture, whereas, to understand the cultural legacy of a society in its lively forms, one must find examples of folk art, broadly speaking, folklore, which are widespread in remote areas. As a volunteer for an ethnographic project that is focused around collecting folklore of the Northern Caucasus, I must say that only through my regular involvement in the project did I realize how Russia is diverse and rich with ethnic minorities and their cultural traditions.

Indeed, rural areas with their small cities, towns, villages can offer a unique and important body of knowledge about a society, yet the fundamental characteristics of a society, such as its economic development, civil movements, and cultural inheritance can be found in most of the cases only in major cities.

Hi, your vocabulary and grammar are good in this essay, but overall, it just seemed a little off. Maybe because your thesis statement seemed a little vague. It might have been nicer to state more clearly exactly what we can learn from cities and what we can learn from rural areas, and then conclude that to have a well-rounded understanding of a society, both types of regions are required. I guess you are saying that cities can tell us the political and economic characteristics of a country, while the small towns show the heritage, folklore, and specific customs? If so, it would be good to guide the reader a little more closely in that direction.

Hi Thomas,

I have a question to you. What is the difference between:

  • cities are examples of the economic development and political activity
  • cities are examples of economic development and are political activity



Well, the second one is not really correct - cities are not political activity. And the first one really isn’t the best either - political activity takes places in cities, but saying they are examples of political activity seems a bit off. To me it would be better to say something like “cities are examples of economic development and centers/focal points/hubs of political activity”

Indeed, it sounds better. I’ll remember the phrase. Thanks!