English & History Personal Statement (International Student)

——A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,The man who never reads lives only one.

These words by George Martin tells the initial motivation for my love of Literature. As a child, I followed Peter Pan to Neverland, Harry Potter to Hogwarts, and Fogg around the world. I was arrested by this boundless realm of imagination.

The beauty of languages is as important for me as the plots and settings. I was constantly astonished by Oscar Wilde’s tales—just a few words of his could take me to the Orient with the swallow, or the shabby lodges seen by the Happy Prince.

He eulogized love and innocence, yet made them ephemeral. Each story ends like the words of Mycroft Holmes—All lives end, all hearts are broken. But I could not help but linger, for the destruction itself is so beautiful.

However, as years pass, I found beauty alone was not enough to convince me to study the subject systematically. I am looking for something firm from within—a lost link to reality.

And that link turned out to be History. Aspiring to reflect the landscape of the era, novelists in 18th century like Victor Hugo retained much realistic touch in the cascading flow of romanticism. I was exhilarated by the unfolding of the Revolution with such scope and imposing momentum.

History, here I perceive, is a solid foundation under the floating plots and rhetoric techniques. Sometimes the author’s thoughts even transcend their times.

When reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, I was astonished that so many scenarios in this allegory had their accurate real-life counterparts in near-modern Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China. This prophetic element is also arousing my curiosity toward this subject.

To pursue my passion, I prepared myself for AP English Literature apart from taking literature classes at school. I utilized my textbooks fully and researched for reference books and public classes. I made a plan and pushed forward the reading for months along with practicing writing analytical essays.

The amount and scope of reading helped me to build my own knowledge system of literature. Pondering the effect of word choices, allusions with the different interpretations in the text had always been an enjoyment.

My interest in literature and history has also incorporated into my own writings. I have been keeping journals and proses though the years, and am currently working on a novel based on X-Men movie universe.

It aims to provide background for characters, analyze the psychology behind their actions, while exploring interracial relationship and classic moral dilemmas through the opposing views of two mutant leaders.

It is a fan-work, while I am taking it seriously in hope that it could illustrate the false dichotomy between good and evil(as many viewers do hold this opinion) apart from entertaining the readers. Since its timeline will sprawl from World War II to the 1980s, I have done a lot of research about the cultural and social aspects of different eras to form convincing settings.

History for me is more than a costar of literature, though. It is also an area that I am willing to focus on. I have always been a leading contributor in my AP History classes, where the reading and discussions continue to shed new lights on my understanding of history.

“A The strange Death of Silas Deane” challenged my stereotype of history as serious and unchanging—through the filtering of recorders, the history we see is actually very uncertain and flexible. Guns, Germs, and Steel provides a very macroscopic way of understanding the overall development of civilization. And in our textbook American Pageant, we examined historical events in detail across the timeline and their influence to present day.

For me History is a subject more about the mind, and Literature heart, the two complementary to each other,and the critical thinking, analytical skills along with a sensitive understanding of language I gain from both area will greatly benefit my further study.

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Author's Comments

Applied for :
Oxford-History and English-reject(didn't sent the required essays due to multiple circumstances:(
U of Edinburgh-English and History-Uncon offer
U of Manchester-English and History-Con(high school diploma)
UCL-History-Con(AP history 5)

This is the final draft I used on UCAS (I'm an international student from China, and English is not my first language.)
At the time when I submitted my application, I took 10 APs, 8 of which I got 5, including English Literature and US History, and 2 4s
Hope it can be helpful to you guys.


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