University of Exeter, English Literature Personal Statement
Literature has a unique ability in gathering an array of emotions from its readers whilst revealing attitudes towards characters or time periods. A writer’s ingenuity has always engrossed me, which led me to believe that English is the ideal degree to read at university.
An insight into canonical literature truly developed a hunger for literature within me. I particularly found Austen’s focus on the women of Georgian society to be amusing, notably the way that marriage was such a significant aspect of their lives. Her books seemed to remove excessive vulnerability from her female characters; they were thoughtful like Anne Elliot, intelligent like Elizabeth Bennet and imaginative like Catherine Morland. Victorian literature was also engaging in my eyes with Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” offering me a satirical outlook on the social hierarchy of the nineteenth century. I was intrigued by how the members of the upper class, such as Lady Bracknell, persisted to maintain their status and strived to have no association with those that they believed were of a lower breed.
Recently, I have started to appreciate the finesse of close reading. I admired how the use of creative language in Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things”, such as the capitalisation of words, accentuated meaningful events through the twins’ eyes. The parallels were visible between their delight in the English language and my own when I had first began to learn English as a second language. Furthermore, close reading was vital in my comprehension of a governesses’ life in Victorian England and aided me to differentiate between the romantic view that “Jane Eyre” portrayed as opposed to the mundanity that Anne Bronte depicted in “Agnes Grey”.
My AS English Literature course was fundamental to me in developing my ability to critically analyse characters and ideas, especially in the novel “Frankenstein”. I found it fascinating that Frankenstein’s hubris leads to the creature’s destructive nature and that Shelley questions humanity’s desire to overstep the boundaries of science. Nevertheless, I found myself sympathising with Frankenstein due to his eagerness in pioneering a new path for mankind and found him comparable to scientists today. My own investigative approach was heightened by the study of Biology and Mathematics at AS. Similarly, Emily Dickinson’s poetry taught me to consider what she was implying behind her stanzas and to contemplate the presentation of her themes. Her poem “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” was poignant in the sense that it compared a mental illness to a death which I found harrowing.
What I found most gratifying outside of college was my development in communication skills, an aspect that is imperative for an English student. Participating in Model United Nations as a Syrian delegate was demanding during the peak of the crisis but it honed my capability to produce effectual responses. I volunteer at Marie Curie Cancer Care in order to give back to the community as well as it enabling me to work effectively in a team, which I find invaluable. I learnt to swim this year-a prospect that I had initially been fearful of. I also became a volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge through my local library. It was beneficial in the sense that I was able to create a curiosity for unfamiliar stories in younger children.
Over the years, my affection for English has only been elevated and my aptitude and diligence for learning will be of great service during my time at university. I view literature with unwavering zeal which will certainly permit me to relish the challenges ahead.
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