When someone achieves greatness in any field—such as the arts, science, politics, or business—that person’s achievements are more important than any of his or her personal faults.
In general, this argument is correct. Arts, sciences, politics, and business are very important to our culture and achievements made there are more important than personal faults. The positive will outweigh the negative, inevitably. Most people do not go down in textbooks, for example, for their personal mistakes. Instead for making discoveries, starting a company, or when people are elected to office. Yes, it is true that personal faults can have big effects. For example when Bill Clinton had an affair, his impeachment trial took up valuable time and he went against America’s trust. But normally this isn’t the case.
Their are many times when personal faults should be less important. For example, think of the people whose achievements are so crucial to the arts. These people aren’t perfect. To name one tragic example, Michael Jackson. There were many times when people wondered is this woman insane? For example: he hung his baby over a balcony and people called him a sexually offensive. Michael Jackson to many people was not the ideal model citizen. When he died some people talked only about his faults. But most people, for example at his funeral concert, were truly upset because of the great strides he made, especially for African-American musicians. He truly opened many doors.
Isn’t it often the case that people want to look at politician’s faults? For example, when the presidential candidate John Edwards had an affair and a baby with a woman, it was always in the tabloids. People weren’t thinking about politics, or the fact that he could have been president, only about his mistake. And yet more likely than not that affair won’t be in textbooks in years to come. Instead the fact that John Edwards lost in the presidential race will probably appear. However, in the end John Edwards probably isn’t the most important politician ever, so his personal faults and greatness in his field might be of equal importance. For someone like Bill Clinton who has achieved so much, though, even big personal faults are not as important as greatness.
Overall, I agree with this argument. Although there are cases that aren’t clear-cut, more often than not when someone achieves greatness in their field, that should be the most important factor. Personal faults are not important to future generations. Greatness is their legacy.
In order to score well on the GMAT essay, test-takers should take a strong stance on the issue in the prompt. Needless to say, this essay does not take a firm enough stance. The modifer “in general” in the first sentence weakens the author’s argument (by implying that there are times the argument is incorrect). In addition, the author never sets her thesis statement out explicitly; she says that “this argument is correct,” but never clarifies the argument to which she is referring. The author also overuses qualifying words like “probably,” and spends a disproportionate amount of time exploring the opposing side of the argument.
The structure of the essay is a bit messy. The author’s mention of Bill Clinton in the first paragraph feels out of place–the example is tangential to her argument (she says that his personal faults had “big effects,” but doesn’t specify until later whether these faults should be considered more or less important than his political achievements). In the third paragraph, too, the author goes off on an unnecessary tangent, bringing up the example of John Edwards, who she later admits doesn’t fit particularly well into the category of someone who has achieved greatness.
The example of Michael Jackson works, but could be made stronger by focusing more on the “great strides” he made for African-American musicians, rather than on details about his personal life and flaws. In general, this essay would benefit from another specific example that clearly supports the thesis.
The writing in the essay is about average. There are several sentence fragments; the author uses the first-person pronoun more than necessary; and he frequently repeats certain words and phrases (“for example,” “probably,” etc).
The conclusion of the essay is a bit short, but it more or less gets the point of the essay across. The idea that “personal faults are not important to future generations” is an interesting one; the essay might have been stronger had the author expanded on this point earlier (perhaps even as part of her thesis).
This essay presents an important lesson: Create an outline before writing your essays on the GMAT! This author seems to be formulating her opinion as she goes; as a result, the essay’s argument is confusing and unclear.