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Sample Definition Essay

TERM: Marriage (noun)

 

 

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The term “marriage” is understood by people all over the world to mean the social and spiritual union of only a man and a woman, that it’s an institution created to sustain the religious sanctity of marriage; however, this – unfortunately – excludes homosexuals. Even the first definition in most dictionaries for marriage is: “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.” But that definition is not an accurate illustration of the term in today’s world. Lower in the list of definitions for “marriage,” there is a more appropriate 21st-century definition of the word: “a similar union between partners of the same sex; gay marriage.” However, that definition does not do justice, either. Because gay marriage is now legally recognized in countries like America, as well as by plenty of others, because marriage is no longer seen only in the limiting context of religion, and because every person has the right to legally and socially marry whomever they wish regardless of their or their significant others’ gender, the standard definition for “marriage” should be: “the formal union between a man and a woman as well as between partners of the same sex.”

Traditionally, marriage was a religious sacrament, serving as an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritually divine grace. Most major world religions oppose the sacramental union of homosexual marriage, saying that only a man and a woman can and should marry each other. Those same religions, as a result, strongly oppose homosexuality in general and would never acknowledge and support gay marriage. However the world is changing – it already has changed. First of all, not everyone practices a religion, which means many people live their life according to their own set of standards, principles and guidelines – and not that of a dogmatic religion. Also, now that marriage has become more of a universal social construct (and not so much a religious act), more and more people of the same gender are marrying; homosexual marriage is being seen by many of the world population as an individual’s choice, a question of human rights and not religion. However, others still disagree. But since there is currently not a universally appropriate definition for “marriage” in the English dictionary, it would be better for humanity, for the pious and the non-pious, if the term’s standard definition included homosexual and heterosexual couples.

 


 

See also:

 

     Definition Essay

     Definition Essay Sample

     How to Write a Definition Essay

     Definition Essay Topics

 


 

Also, the term should include the union between homosexuals and heterosexuals because it has become legal, in quite a few countries, actually for any two people to marry each other. In the United States it is deemed unconstitutional to forbid gay marriage, meaning that many of the country’s states are now legally allowing (and some already have) people of the same gender to marry. If it has become legal for homosexuals to marry, then the definition of “marriage” should be changed to reflect the change in mentality, in culture and society, and include gay people who marry.

 

Lastly, since it is now socially and both legally and culturally acceptable for gays to marry – because it is becoming more and more understood by the world that whomever one chooses to spend their life with is their business – the meaning of “marriage” has changed forever. And since its meaning has changed, its main, standard definition should change as well to represent this evolution in thought, in action and in society and culture. People can and should marry whomever they want – and it shouldn’t be up to religious or social groups to determine this for another person.

 

To conclude, there are several reasons why the definition of “marriage” should be: “the formal union between a man and a woman as well as between partners of the same sex.” Not only is it legal for homosexual couples now to marry in countries like America and others, marriage is now understood beyond the scope of religion – the kind of religions that do not recognize gay marriage as an official union between two people. Also, this is true because it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to think that the every adult, gay or not, has the right to marry whomever they wish, regardless of their spiritual creed, religion or moral standards – and, most of all, regardless of their gender. 

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Success: The Myth

by Feross Aboukhadijeh, 11th grade

Do you know someone rich and famous? Is he confident, popular, and joyful all of the time—the epitome of mainstream success? Or, on the other hand, is he stressed, having second thoughts about his life choices, and unsure about the meaning of his life? I am willing to be that it is the second one. Mainstream marketing and media have effectively brainwashed our society into accepting a false, even potentially dangerous definition of success. Marketers want us to believe that having lots of money, living in a big house, and owning all of the latest cars, fashions, and technology is the key to happiness, and hence, success. This overstated, falsely advertised myth is hardly ever the case in real life. True success requires respect, appreciation, integrity, and patience—all of which are traits that by human nature are genuinely difficult to attain—especially in the face of modern marketers who relentlessly deceive us, control our thoughts, and usurp our independence in order to increase their bottom line.

Marketers want us to believe that living a selfish life, involving nothing but the pursuit of money and fame will bring success and happiness. Sadly, this is not true. Money is comparable to the often-mentioned new toy—fun while it is brand new and fresh, but terribly boring and unexciting after a few hours of play. Though money can buy conveniences and comforts, one needs much more than superficial luxuries to live a successful, well-balanced life. Money does make life easier—but it does not necessarily make it better. For example, money can not make one knowledgeable or wise – that only comes with hard work and committed study. And money can not help one forge a long-term relationship with husband or wife – that only comes through love, commitment, and sacrifice. All the money in the world cannot teach respect or courtesy – that only comes with a good up-bringing and a strong concern for the feelings of others. Can money give one the gift of patience or leadership or appreciation or courage or friendship or even generosity? I don’t think so. All of these traits—knowledge, wisdom, love, respect, patience—are essential aspects of a successful person’s life. Money can not assist in the attainment of any of these vital traits! Money merely detracts from the pursuit of success by providing distraction, temptation, and corruption. Therefore the marketer’s illegitimate claim that money is tantamount to success can be easily disproved. There is no elevator to success – you have to take the stairs.

Similarly, popularity and fame are hardly ever synonymous with success. Mind-numbing advertisements that are incessantly flaunted to Americans have become ingrained into memory and habit, altering the accepted definition of success into something shame-worthy. “Success” has been sadly commercialized to represent fame and popularity. Ironically, the most well-liked and popular people often have less confidence, talent, and freedom than those who choose to follow the compass of their hearts instead of the mainstream culture. In the words of Tony Long, a journalist for Wired News, “What is a hipster, after all, other than a successful slave to the dictates of the pop culture police?” A “hipster” is merely a mindless conformist locked in a hopeless struggle to keep up with the current fads. This commercialized vision of success has already extinguished the originality in most Americans and turned us into a nation of allegorical sheep. Contrary to the popular myth, money does not buy happiness or make a successful person.

When a person allows his mind to be restrained by mainstream television, magazines, and the internet, becoming successful is an impossible task. Fortunately, there is a way to stop this disgraceful masquerade before all Americans end up deprived of their wool—or worse—sent to the slaughterhouse. In order to return to the traditional definition of success, Americans must cast off the lifestyle that they have been force-fed and build a better one! Rather than using money and popularity as the method to achieve the ever-so elusive success, Americans should seek simpler, more effective solutions that might not be obvious at first glance. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave priceless insight when he wrote:

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Emerson’s quote provides a paradigm of success—a model to be admired and strived for. Emerson teaches that learning to appreciate the subtleties in life can make it that much more enjoyable and interesting. In addition, volunteering time and energy to good causes, like helping the community, not only benefits others, but brings happiness and satisfaction. Furthermore, learning how to act respectably and admirably in difficult situations can make life smoother by helping to avoid unnecessary conflicts and spark lifelong friendships. Moreover, learning patience and developing leadership skills can help one to gain a better understanding of life, make well-informed decisions, and form healthy opinions – all of which are essential to becoming a successful person. In the words of Bill FitzPatrick, founder of the American Success Institute, a successful person is “strong when toughness is required and, at the same time, patient when understanding is needed.”It is this kind of sound judgment and reasoning that sets the exceptionally successful people apart from the mediocre.

At this point, a reader may be thinking “Wow! It takes all that to be truly successful? Maybe I’m not meant to be successful.” or “This ‘success’ thing is just too much work. Is it worth it?” Well, to answer these questions in brief: yes. It is not easy to become successful and hardly anyone is truly successful – but it is a noble goal to strive for. Just like everything else in life, becoming successful takes practice; no one becomes a success overnight. With courage and hope our society can forget the marketer’s inadequate definition of success and work to attain true success by modeling respect, appreciation, integrity, and patience – the keys to happiness and success.

Works Cited

FitzPatrick, Bill. "Action Principles." Success.org. American Success Institute. 12 Dec 2006 <http://www.success.org/>.

Long, Tony. "You Say You Want a Revolution?" [Podcast entry] The Luddite. 06 July 2006. Wired.com. 12 Dec 2006 <http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,71096-0.html>.

Waldo, Ralph Waldo. "Philosophy of Teaching." UW. 12 Dec 2006 <http://depts.washington.edu/ctltstaf/example_portfolios/williams/pages/88252.html>.

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Sample Definition Essay - "Success"" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/english/sample-essays/definition-success/>.