A Battle for Insight

Topic 5 from Common Application: Personal Topic Describe a character-defining instance of strength in the face of adversity. (Submitted as supplemental essay to some schools)


"Kai houtos manthano."* To most, they are meaningless words, incomprehensible and bizarre. But to me, their meaning is legion: secrecy, silence, concealment. They are Greek, and they mean subversive. I am a subversive, of the Greek persuasion, and, having become such, I shall never go back.

For three years, I have taken Greek with Mr. King. Our initial pace was astonishing, learning almost every element of Greek grammar in six months. However, this was only the means to an end. We have since translated several books of the Odyssey, and one of the Iliad. We have translated lyric poems by authors such as Sappho, Solon, Alcaeus, and high-minded Xenophanes. We recently finished Plato's Apology, and are now working through Herodotus; we will do Aristophanes next. All that I say is true, although there are no other Greek students to attest to this.

There were three others the first year: one graduated, the other two abandoned the endeavor. The reason was not that they lacked intelligence - they are dedicated in their own arenas. They simply could not conceive of devoting two hours a night for a class that promised no recognition; not even class credit.

Greek, taught by Mr. King, has been a tradition in my school for...

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