English Personal Statement

My interest in English stems from an early nostalgia, upon reading works by Roald Dahl. I was astonished to learn that a paperback could harness the imagination and as a child, I felt empowered at the prospect of children triumphing over adults. English involves unscrambling and scrutinising each word, each syllable, each sentence, which all conform to shaping the meaning of a text. Doing so may not offer a definitive answer, but enables one to contemplate so that we may collaborate further with the text.

Source analysis in History prompted me to look closely at the words, their use and how they could be interpreted. In AS level Religious Studies, I found that art is a powerful medium and uses devices similar to that of Literature, allowing intangible and complex ideas such as The Trinity to be made tangible. I was interested in how symbolism can be used in other modes besides literature and found that Holman Hunt uses them starkly in his artwork. For example, in The Light of the World painting, the absence of a door handle gives the impression that Jesus knocks, but he must be let in, for he cannot force his way in. Other mediums besides literature can communicate powerful and poignant messages. However, paintings and historical sources can easily be altered and modified, but the sanctity of literature remains. The Old and New Law painting offers insight into the state of England and the Catholic-Protestant conflict and propaganda being used for religious conversion, but sheds little light on the beliefs of Hans Holbein.

Numerous writers defied the norms of society to comment on its vices. Notably, Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. Hardy is critical of social boundaries; a notion which is embodied through Jude. Jude’s determination to achieve in the face of a society, who worship what they see as morality and values, can be seen as both naive and admirable. Hardy’s life in comparison to Jude’s was fairly neutral, yet he writes in such a morbid manner that one feels he must have lived it.

In Yates’s Revolutionary Road, Frank and April Wheeler have an intense desire to fulfil their dreams. It raised the question of how far humans, as opposed to fate dictates the outcome. Frank himself converts from a charismatic man to one who is limp in character – ironically the one thing that he did not want to be. Another irony is their surname. Wheels keep a vehicle in control, but in their case their lives are so utterly out of control. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby also harnesses the notion of The American Dream and the inability of man to recreate what has been lost. Fitzgerald understands love and its complexities, yet detangles this emotion in a way that leaves one spellbound, whilst nurturing the most beautiful descriptions that are so intricately constructed.

I took part in a Reading Further Programme, which involved collaborating with unfamiliar, challenging and unseen texts.

In one session, we examined how the Rwandan Genocide has been presented in Literature. The accounts were harrowing, and I learnt how Literature is a coping mechanism for survivors. Also, I helped in the process of recruiting new English teachers for my sixth form. This taught me what effective teaching is, it was particularly relevant for me since I intend to go into education as a career.

A literature course has the ability to allow me to delve deeper, both emotionally and intellectually. I am intrigued at how meaning occurs in a text, and whether the writer creates it or the reader does. How and why does the writer affect and dictate our emotions, and leave us with deep rooted metaphorical scars? These are the questions that I find myself asking, but never quite decipher. There will always be a limit to our understanding. There will always be ambiguities and puzzles. We may never be able to grasp the full essence of a text, simply because it is someone else who poured their emotion into creating it. However, it is precisely the limitations that make us strive to know.

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My interest in English stems from an early nostalgia, upon reading works by Roald Dahl. I was astonished to learn that a paperback could harness the imagination and as a child, I felt empowered at the prospect of children triumphing over adults. English involves unscrambling and scrutinising each word, each syllable, each sentence, which all conform to shaping the meaning of a text. Doing so may not offer a definitive answer, but enables one to contemplate so that we may collaborate further with the text....

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