Thursday, June 24, 2010

TOEFL Essay - Tradition is a Road Trip

Q. Many families have important traditions that family members share. What is one of your family’s traditions? Use reasons and examples.

after Michael Stewart

Nothing would be the same in America and in my family without road trips. Each year my family picks a destination. This destination is plucked from the map: we sharpen the quills of our pens and throw them. The sharpest wins, sticking into the new location we will soon become acquainted with. It’s for this reason I cannot accurately imagine summer without a car taking me on a road trip. The beating sun; the lemonade; the long gas lines when we refuel, even when we don’t; and suntan lotion are all components of years past. One year, we ran out of suntan lotion. This was the year of our burnt skin. I remember this year specifically because of that fact. On another point, lemonade is refreshing, and that particular instance became known as the lemon. Now, whenever anyone in my family has a moment of intense craving during the summer, this is their “lemon memento.”

It is because these road trip components all eventually signify something greater and evolve into touchstones for familial behavior that I cite the road trip as my family’s tradition of excellence. A ritual or routine that takes on significance of its own, most traditions detach from whatever occurrence that inspires them. To this day, I don’t think any family member can supply a definitive answer to why we started these road trips. Nevertheless, they are part of our dynamic. My sense is that if we miss a road trip, we would suffer bad luck or a family loss. Our tradition is so deep that it induces superstitious behavior, which is honestly another argument indicative of most traditions: there must be serious consequences, either implied or real, for those who break with tradition. That is to say, to miss a road trip would be a form of sacrilege. Traditions need this idea: that breaking them makes you unwell with the gods. Without this, no new adherents would be on board.

No comments: