English Literature and Sociology Personal Statement
Since I have begun to study A Level English Literature, it is the way in which writers use expression within their writing to influence and manipulate the reader's emotions which has most intrigued me. Alain De Botton is an excellent example of a writer who uses his innovative literary skills to trigger the reader's attention, and to provoke thought and imagination.
I have seen how De Botton delves into the deepest meanings and explanations of relationships in his first book 'Essays In Love' by solving and explaining mathematical equations to his audience.
De Botton captured my interest with his eloquent simplicity and the accuracy with which he discusses and explains complex material through structuring his writing with a number sequence and detailed philosophical reasoning.
I have also greatly enjoyed studying war poetry, and in particular 'Channel Firing' by Thomas Hardy. Despite its dark comedic value, it makes serious points about the futility of war. Most striking for me was Hardy's suggestion that the power of religion has lost any effect on the dehumanised soldiers as the skeletal Parson regrets 'preaching forty year'.
Literature that challenges social expectations and ventures away from more predictable work most captures my attention. I
n particular, I have enjoyed reading Helen Dunmore's 'A Spell of Winter'. Indeed, it includes detailed and interesting descriptions typical of a romantic gothic novel. James Frey's memoire 'A Million Little Pieces' engages with its audience effectively, illustrating Frey's conflicting emotions and limited control over his drug-fuelled consciousness.
These texts, although entirely different in terms of genre and style, both demonstrate excellent attempts to engage on an emotional level with the reader. Within my all my A level classes, I contribute enthusiastically within discussions and enjoy communicating my thoughts and ideas in comparison with others.
In Sociology for instance, I find the analysis of social constructs particularly interesting, and the question of how we as individuals, are moulded to society. I have also enjoyed studying the role of mass media, thoroughly analysing the significant effects mass media has upon the way we perceive the world around us.
I have become increasingly engaged in working to promote the literacy levels of younger students. As our college's English department has connections with various primary schools in the surrounding area, I regularly take part in English workshops at lunchtimes and afternoons for year five and six pupils.
I have worked with children of a variety of different abilities, encouraging them to read more and to experiment with a broader use of English language in terms of creative writing which I personally enjoy. In my spare time I am an active photographer.
Passionate about art and fashion photography in particular, I have taken part in a photography workshop for younger students in my college, where I demonstrated basic photo editing skills and taught them how to take portrait photos.
I have attended boarding school for five years, and have been an active part of the college boarding committee for the majority of this time. I regularly spoke on behalf of many of my peers to successfully push forward necessary changes within our college life.
I have decided to embrace the opportunity of a gap year. I plan to use my time productively to travel, gaining new experiences of different cultures around the world.
In particular, I hope to take part in a community building project in northern India. I have been a keen sailor since I was young, achieving two RYA qualifications. I am taking part in a challenge of sailing unaccompanied, in a racing boat around the perimeter of the Isle of Wight during the summer of 2011. My target is to raise five hundred pounds for The Multiple Sclerosis Trust.