English Personal Statement

The compelling nature of literature has formed a proclivity and brought forward to me the crimson soaked horrors of the Gothic, Shakespeare's witty political commentary and the melancholy musings of tortured poets.

Through the manipulation of words, one is bestowed with the mightiest of abilities: the ability to ignite pathos. The poetic works of Dickinson are a prime example of the ability to evoke pathos. With an unorthodox approach, Dickinson uses synaesthesia, repetition and unusual metaphors to capture the complexity of human nature.

In "I felt a funeral in my brain" the repetition of verbs such as "treading" portrays society as a perpetual oppressive force and this is further emphasised by the velar nasal consonants ("-ng") which figuratively push Dickinson down into the pits of passivity.

Dickinson uses the personification of nature to demonstrate the frustration that comes with the socially imposed isolation and loneliness. In "A Bird came down the walk" society's apprehension to acknowledge Dickinson's presence manifests in the form of a bird that rejects Dickinson's attempts to interact with it by flying away into the ocean.

Utilising the natural imagery of an ocean, Dickinson creates a sense of an isolating vastness that prevents one from making any contact with the bird.

The ocean acts as a barrier between Dickinson and society and suggests that any attempts to follow the bird (society) will result in Dickinson's submersion in the "ocean" of societal pressures.

What I find compelling about literature is that it enables writers to challenge society's attitudes and it allows the voices of the silenced and the marginalised to speak and echo through the ages.

Rising from the ruins of the disintegrating British Empire Woolf denounced social hierarchy and restrictive gender roles in her post-modernist classic Mrs Dalloway, using the imagery of "decapitated" flowers Woolf rids herself of the constraints of feminine subordination and thus challenges the role of women in society.

I am fascinated by the feminist elements expressed throughout the spectrum of literature and have taken interest in the characterisation of female characters.

I was very interested in Shakespeare's attribution of symbolism to the imagery of blood to characterise the malignant inner workings of Lady Macbeth, with the evocation of the disturbing imagery of "smash'd" infant brains, Lady Macbeth is arguably the proto-Gothic female predator who is completely devoid of femininity.

And because she deviates from her feminine role she becomes an over saturation of negative attributes, this is similar to the use crude deformity in Gothic literature that places emphasis on the otherness of the pariah.

Ultimately, society dictates what is perceived as monstrosity, and within the context in which Macbeth was written, Lady Macbeth is cast as an allegorical Queen Elizabeth I, her portrayal as a ruthless monster reflects the negative attitudes towards women in power in the 18th century.

Studying English literature at A-level has encouraged me to explore the different aspects of the English language which assemble foreign worlds for me to immerse myself in and deconstruct piece by piece. The study of literature has enabled me to improve my written communication skills and has allowed me to achieve full marks in my literature coursework.

The skills I have attained through the study of English literature have enabled me to excel in other subjects such as applied law and applied science which both require me to evaluate and discuss various topics in great detail.

Applying for an English course at your university will facilitate me in achieving my goals as I aspire to pursue a career in media and journalism.

I am excited by the prospect of further exploring literary texts in greater detail and developing an understanding of the social and political climates that influenced the creation of these literary texts.

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Author's Comments

This was my personal statement for the English (Q300) course - I was accepted by the three universities that I had applied for.


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