English Personal Statement
What I enjoy above all else in a piece of literature is the feeling that it has brought about change, either in me or in some wider context. Literature which offers the opportunity for an adapted way of living or thinking, however slight, is I think a thing to be kept and treasured in our intellects.
For example, when reading Anthony Burgess -A Clockwork Orange- my attitudes towards the nature of free will were altered and I was aware that this social prophecy had warned a generation.
Prose, poetry and drama help people grow, hence English Literature is the subject that I have always wanted to learn about in most detail. I want to learn about different approaches to literature, so that I can develop my own; to study how and why literature has evolved and to appreciate the diverse attitudes of writers from all periods.
Studying English Literature at college, including the AEA, helped me to open my mind about what literature is and what it can do.
The study of Blake and Auden for instance focused my attention on the issue of whether poetry can make anything happen. I am not entirely decided on the answer to this question, but my studies last year nevertheless encouraged me to look at literature from an holistic perspective, as well as a specific one.
The most rewarding part of my AS year was, for me, studying a range of American poets, because I consequently became interested in the work of Emily Dickinson. This poet-s strange condition is communicated so precisely that her work has a delicate and valuable quality which I admire.
My confidence in discussion and presentation has been strengthened by my work in Drama, Theatre Studies and Philosophy.
The latter subject required me to think logically, arguing cogently through writing and often vocally as part of a class debate. Theatre Studies widened my reading of drama and allowed me to experience real leadership and responsibility as I directed an examined interpretation of -Troilus and Cressida-.
The most enjoyable playwright to perform last year was Harold Pinter, whose compelling observations on the abuse of human rights in -Mountain Language- provided an enormous challenge to us as actors. Pinter's play also inspired me to join Amnesty International of which I have been an active member at college.
It was through a recent discussion at Amnesty about human rights abuse in Africa that I discovered Joseph Conrad-s affecting work -Heart of Darkness-.
The duality of theme in this book between colonialism and exploration of the self is a deeply rewarding combination, penetrating the most visceral aspects of the human psyche while shedding light on the disturbing truths of the African colonies. My other reading outside the curriculum currently includes short fiction and the poetry of John Clare.
I have now finished my A-Levels and I am taking a gap year in order to travel and work to save money for my time at university. In September I back-packed around Eastern Europe, having earned the money to do so by working in a garden centre.
I also intend to practise writing creatively; I attended the creative writing class for some time at college and succeeded in winning an in college poetry prize in my first year and first prize for a short story in the subsequent competition. Writing has helped me to recognise and analyse the detailed construction of poetry and prose.
I am interested in politics and the way it affects our every-day lives. I keep track of international and national news by reading a broadsheet newspaper as often as I can whilst also being a keen reader of several political blogs on the internet.
Literature-s ability to capture political times and herald the need for change makes the relationship between the literary and political spheres very significant. I am also completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award and enjoy film, tennis and planning forthcoming travels in my spare time.
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