English Literature and History Personal Statement

English Literature has always been a strong interest of mine, from the ancient works of Homer to the contemporary writings of Steinbeck.

I have always found solace in exploring the imagination of writers from a variety of different genres, cultures and time-periods.

My passion for English became intertwined with History when in year 9 I first read Harper Lee's “To Kill A Mockingbird” and became fascinated with the social context of early 20th century black America within the novel.

Although reading has always been a strong passion of mine, studying English Literature has proved invaluable in developing my critical style and analytical approach to written work.

In my A levels I have studied the contemporary literature of Alice Walker and Tennessee Williams as well as the more traditional writings of William Shakespeare, William Blake and Emily Dickinson. As for my personal reading, the works of George Orwell, Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut have never failed to engage my imagination. I find George Orwell's literature particularly stimulating.

His essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, for example, manages to seamlessly blend quality literary techniques such as metaphors and symbolisms with the historical context of British Imperialism in Burma.

I feel that literature can offer a unique insight into the lives and times of other people and can thereby present an emotional connection to the facts and figures learnt in my History lessons.

In my A level studies in History I have learnt about post-war Britain and the development of the Welfare State by Clement Atlee's Labour government.

I am currently studying the history of the Middle East. This includes the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, the development of Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel as well as the geopolitical factors which led to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's.

I find this subject very engaging as I feel I have a strong inclination to be kept up to date with current affairs at both a national and international level. By studying American and British involvement in Middle-Eastern affairs I have come to develop the viewpoint that perhaps the West is not entirely blameless for the rise of religious fanaticism and the threat of global terrorism that we live with today.

My Media Production BTEC requires constant analysis and interpretations of different viewpoints represented in film. When directing short films for my course I have had to explore the script and project my individual impressions of the source material onto the screen. The course allows me to form a critical response to my own work by evaluating how well the piece works in relation to the theme and tone intended by the writer.

I have also recently become involved in a Government initiative known as “Debate Mate” which is the first national youth-orientated debate program in the UK.

Participation in this program has helped me to improve and develop several transferable skills that would be useful to me in an English and History degree. These include the ability to compare and contrast different viewpoints, evaluate the reliability of differing contentions and to also construct a coherent and objective argument.

I am a member of the student council and I was also chosen to be part of a school exchange for a program for Teachers TV where another student and I represented our college. I believe that this signifies my interest in the affairs of my college, an attitude that I am eager to bring with me when I enter the next stage of my formal education.

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This personal statement was written by Ethics for application in 2009.

Ethics's Comments

This was my 3rd or 4th draft I think. Other than minute grammar changes here and there it's essentially the version I sent off.

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