English Personal Statement
My 'A' Level English studies have introduced me to a more academic teaching style with an emphasis on the need for independent work, in order to gain the very best grades. I enjoy seeking more depth and insight, whether for school texts of private reading and study. I have often made use of Leach Scragg's “Discovering Shakespeare's Meaning” when studying “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “Twelfth Night” and “The Merchant of Venice” to help me to read and understand the plays more thoroughly. Anthony Holden's biography has given me a basic understanding of Shakespeare and his world. I have recently purchased “Literary Theory: An Anthology”, edited by Rivkin and Ryan to support my developing interest in critical theory.
In my studies to date I have looked at the modern novel but have recently become interested in learning more about the Victorian novel as the precursor to modernism. I am exploring the concept of the didactic, omniscient narrator and how Victorian authors dealt with issues of contemporary social change. I have read Dickens's “Great Expectations” and am currently reading Eliot's “Middlemarch”. A theme that interests me is that of religious faith and doubt also expressed at the time through Victorian post-romantic poetry, such as Arnold's “Dover Beach” and Clough's “The Latest Decalogue”.
My reading of modern literature, exploring the theme of “teenage angst” has included works by J.D.Salinger, Nicky Hornby and Sue Townsend. I have also enjoyed the monologue art form of Alan Bennett's “Talking Heads”. Through his artless narrators I feel that Bennett successfully reveals the comic aspect of the too often tragic human condition. (This tragedy is explored further in the darker, “Talking Heads Two”).
My other studies have broadened my knowledge but I have been keen to incorporate literary aspects. In art, I am currently writing a critical and analytical study on “Stuckism” and last year I completed a piece of work based on the Canterbury Tales. French, apart from providing me with a second modern language, has given me the opportunity to sample foreign literature i.e. Pagnol's “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des Sources”. I have also found that having to communicate in a foreign language has given me the skill of revising my thinking before I speak or write. Next summer I am going to stay with French friends in the South of France and am then hoping to considerably improve my fluency.
My vocational 'A' Level in “Media: Production and Communication” has fuelled an interest in linguistics that I have furthered by reading “The State of the Language” by Phillip Howard. This 'A'Level has helped me to appreciate the richness of the English Language with its jargon, slang, dialects, argot, clichés, and foreign influences. It has given me the opportunity to edit and write for “The ********” and the ambition to be involved in campus publications in the future.
I enjoy going to the theatre and have seen productions by the RSC, our local TOADs theatre company as well as televised productions such as “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg”. I have also had a role in a university student play and had the opportunity to watch other degree level drama.
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Universities applied to: Cambridge (Offer) - I'm now a graduate! Exeter (Offer) Sussex (Offer) Southampton (Offer) Portsmouth (Offer) Bristol (No Offer)
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