English Literature Personal Statement

I was once told by a writer at Bath "LitFest" that literature is "all about control". At a young age, his words seemed obscure, but years later, I am finally able to grasp his meaning. On one side of a barrier of ink and paper, a writer aims to understand and control their world, whilst a reader attempts to lose control in a boundless, imaginary world. Through my fascination with this process, my childhood enjoyment of literature has grown into a desire to learn more.

From the secrecy of late-night reading, to inventing bedtime stories for my young cousin, literature, and particularly creative writing fascinates me. Through this central focus, I have discovered the satisfaction of synthesising these two interests. My choices in reading and my abilities to write are symbiotic, one thriving from the other, leading me to study literature as the obvious next step.

Through writing, I have gained technical abilities; more importantly, I greatly respect the writing craft. I was encouraged to read Ted Hughes' Poetry in the Making, which strengthened my ambitions to become a writer. His comments on the relationship between experience and prose remind me that as much as I am inspired by experience, I am equally stimulated by my reading choices. I considered this in my coursework, comparing T.S Eliot's poetic narrators with Lawrence's Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers. Both created characters akin in alienation, fears of sexuality and lives of regret, a reflection of their own emotions and traumas. The reason, as stated by Gamini Salgado is "to be masters of them," a belief to which I can relate. I am looking forward to studying Chaucer's Wife of Bath, inspired by the Celtic myth of the 'loathly lady', where a knight must kiss or marry an ugly old woman, emphasising the importance of inner rather than outer beauty, a medieval story with a modern resonance.

My Classics studies helped me develop an interest in Greek culture and mythology, where I created a polytheistic religion and a wealth of mythological creatures in my stories. My study of Homer and Virgil encouraged me to read Simon Armitage's Death of King Arthur and Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain. With my study of The Tempest, I have become interested in the portrayal of heroic figures, in virtue and hamartia, a theme I would like to further explore. In Religious Studies I have better understood philosophies, now noticing how deeply an author's beliefs affect their work, such as Albert Camus' novel The Stranger, an absurdist commentary on the triviality of life and emotion through the comedic, indifferent Meursault.

My proudest activity out of school is a leading role in a creative writing club for younger students. I have had the privilege of seeing ideas evolve in aspiring writers through discussions and advice I have given, such as tasks on memory and experiences, the reading of which has given me better analysis and reviewing skills. In a volunteer scheme for children with additional needs, where I earned a V50 award, I read to a boy with cerebral palsy. In such a new environment, it was an emotional moment which served as a testament to the power of literature in how it affects us as readers, regardless of condition. In my EPQ, I produced a screenplay, exploring an unfamiliar, technical form whilst learning to translate ideas from storyline to script.

I am interested in a career in publishing after university. Whilst many turn towards "E-Books", I believe the turning of parchment under muted lamplight will always appeal to me more than the artificial glare of LEDs and calculative megabytes. I cherish the touch and even scent of new and old press, and strongly believe this should be upheld in the changing world. From the cotton-gloved exploration of archives to a new and stimulating environment, I am excited for higher education, where I desire nothing less than to improve myself and my writing.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by DMGLady25 for application in 2013.

DMGLady25's university choices
The University of Durham
The University of Reading
The University of Warwick
The University of York
Royal Holloway

Green: offer made
Red: no offer made

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Comments

I'm slightly confused by the

I'm slightly confused by the mix of colloquial/informal and formal language. It begins highly conversational, eventually becoming more elaborate. I think, while writing in the vernacular can often be poignant, for a personal statement, you should have maintained an academic tone as that is what's expected at university. Additionally, I think it should probably be slightly more structured (for example, you spend a long time discussing your other subjects, but, little emphasis is given upon your writing experience). Nevertheless, your adoration of literature/ creative writing is palpable and you evidently would make a worthy student! Despite the minor criticisms (no PS is perfect), I'd be surprised if you didn't get all your offers :-)

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