Posted by: Staff | 02.29.2008

College Essay X: Jessica


Sitting in a brown, leather La-Z-Boy chair, feet aloft, back reclined, and cell phone in hand, I regularly engage in what has become for me a profound activity: Tetris. Tetris consists of a simple premise: one strategically pieces together differently shaped blocks to create a solid row. Once a line is completed, it vanishes with a flourish. Despite the simplicity of the game, I enjoy the thrill of fitting puzzle pieces together. The commonplace triumph that occurs when putting together virtual puzzle pieces gains importance when I apply the simple premise of Tetris to my intellectual pursuits. I constantly pull concepts and ideas from numerous sources, piece them together, and make a whole idea.

Sitting in a hard blue chair, feet firmly planted on the ground, posture upright, and book in hand in my English class, I explore F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of language. While my peers note Fitzgerald’s ability to create an insufferably hot atmosphere as Gatsby and Tom subtly contradict each other, I pause to contemplate a simple sentence that seems to contradict the torrid tone. “A silver curve of the moon hovered already in the western sky” (Fitzgerald, 120). While the characters drip sweat and marvel at the heat of the sun, Fitzgerald emphasizes the moon. This seemingly irrelevant observation in the midst of a tense and palpably hostile scene exudes a feeling of calm, serenity, and beauty—contradictory characteristics that remind me of lessons I’ve learned in my Drama class.

I then recall sitting on a worn brown couch, feet folded underneath me, shoulders relaxed, script in hand, while the voice of my Drama teacher casually explains the world of opposites. Opposites, a practice in which actors portray two contrasting emotions at once applies to real-life situations as well. My teacher quotes esteemed casting director Michael Shurtleff, telling us to “find the love” in scenes that are typically played with hostility. She cites examples in which lovers abandon each other despite their desire to be together and parents spew diatribes in order to shelter their children. In these moments, my teacher clarifies, an actor must search for the love that is driving outwardly hateful actions.

My thoughts return to my English classroom and my hand shoots up in the air. Fitzgerald’s language, his use of light is, in fact, his way of telling his reader to “find the love” in his writing. Tom and Gatsby’s feud is not motivated by hatred at all. It is, in fact, a battle for Daisy’s love. He intentionally adds beauty and nobility to the scene because the fight is induced by love. Through his writing, Fitzgerald juxtaposes heated arguments with an image of the moon, displaying Fitzgerald’s concern for love. A Tetris-like satisfaction engulfs me as I explain my observations to my peers. I have made a connection; I have taken a puzzle piece and filled it in. I have “found the love” in the scene.

When I play a game of Tetris, rows of strategically placed blocks disappear. However rewarding the satisfaction of making rows vanish may be, it is more rewarding when puzzle pieces fit together outside of a Tetris screen. After all, when an idea is comprehended in life, the concept does not merely disappear with a flourish. Instead, it reshapes and becomes a puzzle piece that will fit somewhere else. I feel inclined to continue this never-ending game that can be played outside of a recliner, with any object, in any posture, in boundless locations.

Jessica will be attending the University of Pennsylvania



  1. I am simply stunned…amazing

  2. Tetris and Fitzgerald are a couple of life’s greatest pleasures. Good work Jess!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: