English Literature Personal Statement
Submitted by Amanda
To me, English Literature has a way of uniting us. The subject plays a vital role in understanding each other in today's world because of all the lessons taught between its lines. My motivation to further my knowledge in the subject is in the power literature gives the world. I'm excited to learn more about its origins and how it has evolved into works we know and love.
I've always been encouraged to read and remember a time when I would sit with The Chronicles of Narnia, which was my first taste of the other world literature could bring. The use of creative imagery to describe Lucy's wonder at finding Narnia has stuck with me to this day. At college, this enthusiasm was encouraged by my A-level choice of English Literature. I really enjoyed studying the humorous work of Chaucer's "The Merchant's Tale". Although hard to decipher, I relished the challenge of decoding Middle English. As well as this, Jez Butterworth's ironic play Jerusalem was also really interesting because of the themes it explored.
It's cynicism shedding light on issues today such as nationalism and patriotism is significant especially in the light of Brexit. Through Sociology, the study of society and its norms, I was helped in understanding Angela Carter's "Bloody Chamber" as she challenged social boundaries and tackled taboos. Her approach to relevant topics such as gender roles and feminism reflects how they are still major contemporary concerns. My choice of History assisted in improving my technique of forming and executing arguments efficiently, as well as the importance of the influence the past has on today. Reading around the subject in "Revolutionary Russia" by Orlando Figes led me to the work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his prose "A Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich", a story of a young man sent to the gulags, which was truly touching.
Outside education, one accomplishment I am proud of is having a national newspaper, The Guardian, publish my work and allow me to complete work experience. It was a great opportunity to display a sense of maturity valued in the world of work. During school, I joined a club that partnered up with publishing firm 'Sage' to create a newsletter. Once it was published, I felt an overwhelming sense of achievement, which now acts a driving force to push myself to do bigger things. As well as this, I made myself an active part in my local borough's library. Joining their reading club encouraged me to read literary classics such as "Lord of the Flies" and the very controversial "Lolita", which although explored provocative themes that could be frowned upon, presented complex characters I found myself lost in. In addition, helping with the summer reading challenge for the younger children helped enhance their love of literature and enabled me to display my leadership qualities.
In my spare time, I like to listen to music. For me, a key artist is Tupac Shakur who many don't know also dabbled in poetry. My favourite poem by him is "The Rose That Grew From Concrete" because of its sweet simplicity and its message that even though we may not be surrounded by the best situations, something beautiful can still bloom. I also really enjoyed the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, especially the piece "Before You Were Mine" where a young girl wonders about her mother's life before her birth, because of its romantic, gentle language.
Reading articles from E-magazine also helped widen my knowledge around the subject. One of my favourites is "Shakespeare's New Words" where I learnt of "Willianism's" as David Crystal refers to them as, which are words like "auspicious" which were given new fresh meanings by the iconic playwright.
To conclude, I believe it is amazing how people can get lost in the words of those before them, those writing in the same era as well as allowing their own innermost thoughts to be read and shared. English Literature encapsulates this for me, and because of this truly unites us.