English Literature Personal Statement
Submitted by Annie
The broad range of writers from varying eras, from Chaucer to Capote, that I have been introduced to, has given me a wider understanding of literature that has intrigued and fired my enthusiasm to take English further. I have particularly developed an interest in dystopian novels through studying The Handmaid’s Tale for my coursework, which I have read alongside The Kite Runner – comparing themes of friendship, family relationships and loss. The enjoyment that I have found studying this genre has lead me on to further reading of older dystopian texts like A Clockwork Orange and more recent ones such as Naomi Alderman’s The Power. I have also enjoyed reading A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams; I find the themes of insanity and power that he covers and the ways in which he portrays them interesting. This encouraged me to watch A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The Apollo theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. Theatre is a part of literature that I am particularly passionate about; I thoroughly enjoyed a very modern rendition of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott at the Almeida Theatre which opened my eyes to the possibilities of interpretation and the production was very successful in adapting Shakespeare for the 21st century.
My A level Art course has certainly informed my understanding of design in the theatre and the creative element of both subjects appeals to me. In a similar way to English, I have been interested to learn about the development of art movements over time, particularly the work of artists such as Gustav Klimt who looked into Art Nouveau.
My Sociology course has involved the study of different institutions in society and I have found this to have proven useful and interesting when studying Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision. It has taught me the skills of looking at different perspectives of a society, in turn giving me a greater understanding of the novels I read. This understanding was furthered by me attending a day’s workshop on A Handmaid’s Tale at The University of Hertfordshire. These activities shown me a glimpse of what to expect from University and have confirmed that my decision to study English at degree level is the right one.
I have always been an avid reader. As a child I began with the works of Jacqueline Wilson, before progressing to JK Rowling and Malorie Blackman. More recently, Crime and Horror novels have informed my reading of non-fiction fiction, in Cold Blood by Truman Capote being just one example of this.
Being a Sociology prefect, I feel that I have demonstrated a dedication and passion for the subject, shown through writing for the school newspaper about a sociological speaker who visited our class. I have also shown dedication within the English department, joining a paired reading scheme in which I mentor 11 to 12 year olds aiming to develop their reading skills and confidence. I have worked as a barista in a coffee chain for the last year which demonstrates my reliability and commitment. Furthermore, I feel that this has boosted my self-confidence and my ability to interact with members of the public. Other features of university appeal to me, such as the sports facilities as I regularly attend my local gym and would continue to do so.