English Literature Personal Statement

The German endearment 'Leseratte' (i.e. bookworm) is a label I like to apply to myself, and this is neither merely because I enjoy the acts of reading and writing nor due to my childhood dream of becoming a writer. It is also because I believe that reading any kind of book trains the mind towards a more critical way of thinking and a deeper understanding of a language.

Without having read Gaiman's The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, I would not have grasped the power a so-called 'children's book' can have over an adult. Without having read Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, I would have never felt the intensity of reading a book with a seemingly detached yet incredibly involved narrator. Without my recent discovery of Sally Rooney's Normal People, it would have been difficult for me to grasp how much of a fascinating difference a few seemingly irrelevant changes to a well-known text structure can make to a simple plot. Without having read Atwood's Miss July Grows Older, I would not have known it was possible to broadcast that much anger through a poem.

All of these exemplary revelations have helped me with my own writing, especially my poetry. My poetry has in its turn helped me with my analysis skills and my fluency in the English language. What has furthermore increased my confidence that I will be able to keep up with the native English speaking students is the advanced English class I attended in school, in which we thoroughly dealt with dystopian literature and delved into Shakespeare, whom I learned more about through my English drama class in which I performed as Hamlet. My other advanced classes History, German and Art enhanced my logical thinking and furthered my interest in literature through text analysis, avid discussions in class and creative assignments.

One thing clear to me at the beginning of imagining my future after high school was that I did not want to stay in Germany. Not because I dislike my home country, on the contrary, I believe living in the metropole Hamburg for most of my life has helped me become an open-minded person.

The main reason I feel the need to leave is that I strive to experience as many different places I can, which is part of why I decided to take a gap year in Paris; the other reasons being my interest in learning French and wanting to lead an independent life before starting university. My time in Paris and the grades I have achieved in the French class I am taking at Sorbonne University have proven that I am capable of and enjoy autonomous studying. The reason for my desire to study in the UK is that I am passionate about studying literature in the birthplace of great works of writing. I also believe that British teaching and assessment methods in university are suited to my needs better than German ones.

I have a great interest in languages which I believe stems from growing up bilingual - my mother is Italian, my father German - and developed further when I met my best friend, who is half English, in eighth grade. After talking about the books we read in recess for a few months, he somehow coerced me into watching British shows we loved in English instead of German. After a while, our conversations were only held in English and I refused to consume any kind of media in something other than the original language. Even though I have now realised that I have been too harsh of a critic towards any kinds of changes made in an adaptation, the passion for the English language remained.

After having read as many books as I have, I am still nowhere close to discovering what makes a fictional text universally good or even publishable; although I am aware that works that reflect the current state of society tend to be amongst more popular works. I am interested in both the field of publishing as a later path for me and the psychology behind what compels people to read the books they read, so I'm excited to learn more about these subjects and many others as I continue my studies.

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