English Personal Statement
English is not simply the study of humanity, or society, or history or the written word; it is all of those together and it is this versatility that makes it so appealing to me. The link between literary criticism and psychoanalysis is a great interest of mine.
In particular, J G Ballard’s presentation of polymorphous sex, violence and exploitation in High Rise has led me to question the human condition and has enabled me to explore similar ideas in the play Our Country’s Good, which highlights the human tendency to regress. A clear link can be made between regression and the id, the ego and the super ego as those regressing become driven by the pleasure principle.
I believe Freudian theories will greatly enhance my literary analysis at a higher level and as somebody who is fascinated by the presentation of character behaviour in literature, I feel my psychoanalytic skills will enhance my empathy in close textual reading.
Such theories can even be applied to pre-Freud texts; Shakespeare’s Iago, for instance, is seen to displace his self-doubt onto Othello, whilst Brobantio displaces his unhappiness onto Desdemona.
I feel there is a strong connection between the Freudian presentation of regression and the capitalist society of today, because in essence, both barbarism and capitalism are a process of people exploiting others for self interest.
The political debate over the existence of human nature has enhanced my textual analysis and made me keen to apply my interdisciplinary knowledge to a variety of texts at university. Classical realists would argue that the capitalist society presented in Heart of Darkness is a result of the selfishness of human nature, which makes hostility and war inevitable.
I, however, agree with the neo-realists who would question the existence of human nature, and certainly the extent of its influence, because just like literature, the complexity of the mind means single conclusions can rarely be drawn.
My multidimensional understanding of society and the way the mind works will help me to contextualise novels at university. I am currently working on an extended project on terrorism in literature, because it is a controversial subject that will link my studies in Politics and English.
The Romantic Era is a favourite of mine, in particular William Blake’s criticism of religious institutions. I also enjoyed Shelley’s presentation of Frankenstein as the social underclass and saw similar themes in a one man adaptation of The Hunchback of Notredame, at my third consecutive year as a spectator at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The juxtaposition of Quasimodo’s grotesque appearance and faltering voice with the delicate, thoughtful script was highly emotive and proved the effectiveness of techniques used by playwrights and the importance of theatre as a literary form. Similarly the animation and emotional truth I witnessed in a performance of Othello emphasised the importance of experiencing Shakespeare’s dramatic texts, live, as they were intended to be seen.
Having enjoyed major roles in college productions, I intend to audition for the college’s 2012 Edinburgh performance and am keen to continue my theatrical participation at university. Aside from this, for many years I have been responsible for the care of my horse, who I ride competitively, requiring commitment, patience and discipline.
The time management I have learnt from this enables me to find time to enjoy the precision and power required from partaking in boxing and the interpersonal skills I have developed have been enriched by volunteer work with fostered children. I have enjoyed further responsibility, working as part of a team at John Lewis and Waitrose.
My great desire now is to go to University to continue the study of English which it feels I have just begun. I want to develop my learning through exposure to critical theory in a creative atmosphere, to have my ideas challenged, and to be exposed to the great works of literature.
Just thought I'd add (as you're unable to on the uni choices section) that this got me an interview at Warwick, but I was declined after interview.