Please rate my essay/Need help with ANA

Hi. I have serious problems with ANA. I took the old GRE in July and got only 3.5 as compared to a 700 in the verbal section… I just cannot write fast enough and always get stuck in the middle of a paragraph… Any suggestion? By the way, I am not a native speaker…

Here is a practice essay (but in 60 min instead of 30). Your critics are very much appreciated !!!

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.

When a foreign visitor wants to learn about U.S., Washington, New York and Los Angelus are not places to be missed; similarly, if he wants to know the Egyptian people, he is likely to go to Carol; and when he wants to know China, Beijing and Shanghai cannot escape his agenda. It just happens this way. There have to be a reason why many consider cities the best place to learn about the culture and the society.

No one would deny that major cities are major cultural centers of a society. Art and literature flourishes and artists and philosophers establish themselves in the cities. In the Renaissance era, prominent artists achieved their maturity in places like Rome, Florence, Paris, and Antwerp; Locke and Newton resided in London, the very city Shakespeare rose; and in the north of Manhattan sprang the Harlem culture. As arts are generally regarded as the best embodiment of the society’s mentality, it is easy to see how major city represents the society.

Similarly, major cities are the center of political movements since the time when the phrase “politics” was coined. Ancient Greeks stated their value for democracy in the city of Athens; the French started the new era of modern democracy in the city of Paris at the turn of the 19th century; Martin Luther King Jr. gave the heroic address in the square of Washington that marked the pick of the Civil Right Movement which reinvented the long underlying values of the American people, equality and freedom.
True, major cities, to a great extent, are capricious and prone to influences from other cultures, especially an international center like New York, London, and Beijing. They are hodgepodges of diverse characteristics. For example, Beijing, China’s capital that is growing in its power and influence, encompasses everything, but, one may argue, embodies nothing. At one time it may celebrate the rapid westernization and marketization, and at the next moment, be reminiscent of the Maoist unity and isolation. Not to mention that people from the rest of the country, from the farming villages on the Tibetan plateau to the prospering cities along the Yangzi river, and of the ethnicities Han and Uighur and Manchu, all brings to the city their own set of unique values. The complexity of the city’s mentality makes it unlikely for any observers to uncover a single major characteristic of the people at the first glance. However, a closer study would reveal everything, for they are just there for you to discover. Meanwhile, who would argue that the variability and the inclusiveness is not a characteristic of the society?

To sum up, cities holds the culmination of a society’s cultural and political achievements. Though complex and ever-changing, the cities so embody every characteristics of the society.