English Literature Personal Statement Studential Bio
I believe Literature educates on a personal level, humanising historical, political and psychological issues. I read constantly and widely, I enjoy experimenting with language and I believe I have an aptitude for the subject which drives me to achieve. Therefore, I am completely dedicated to furthering my abilities in thinking critically and deconstructing texts through independent research.
To complement English Literature, I chose to study Philosophy and Ethics and I feel this decision has given me strong skills in delivering a structured, coherent argument using reasoning and abstract thought. Teachers have historically said that I needed to contribute more in class and the A level course has given me the confidence to do this.
Literature brings historical facts to life: Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment' painted a grim picture of 19th Century Russian society and the effect of desperation on the human condition. During my Psychology course, we studied Freud which planted an avid enthusiasm for the Psychoanalytical approach to Literature. I explored this further through reading 'Hamlet' and Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber' which sparked my interest in symbolic coming of age tales that relate to Freud's theories of unconscious motives.
Recently, I have become particularly drawn to unconventional narrative styles such as stream of consciousness through reading Woolf's 'Mrs Dalloway.' Encouraged by this excitement for experimental prose, I began to read 'Ulysses' which, whilst being a challenge, was also incredibly rewarding. I found Joyce's depiction of thought patterns hypnotic and the mergence of the formal epic with earthy realism an exciting layering of classical and modern literature. Around this time I read Hermione Lee's biography of 'Virginia Woolf', finding her research so captivating that it confirmed my ambition of one day carrying out my own research.
I am passionate about the writings of Sylvia Plath. 'The Bell Jar' forced me to readdress my preconceived opinions of what mental illness is through its subtle unfurling of Esther's descent. After learning that it was essentially autobiographical I read her unabridged journals which I found to be the most achingly astute observations on life- so ambitiously driven that it is difficult to imagine that she was a young woman maturing in the repressive 1950's. This interest in feminism was increased through studying 'Washington Square' where we focussed on the treatment of women. An inspiring teacher recommended Naomi Wolf's feminist text 'The Beauty Myth' which shocked me into viewing the media in a new light. I was amazed at how differently cosmetic adverts and women's magazines could be understood.
However, my favourite novel is 'Jane Eyre' which I have continuously gone back to after my first reading at aged twelve. To me, Jane is one of the most inspiringly strong heroines in Literature and Charlotte Bronte one of the most forward thinking women of her time. In addition, I was entranced by Christina Rossetti's forceful 'Goblin Market' describing the conflict between her religious fervour and sexuality through sensual descriptions of forbidden goblin fruit.
I try to take advantage of the opportunities available to me as a student. For instance, I recently attended a performance of Frantic Assembly's 'Othello' and I look forward to taking part in a Philosophy trip to Rome.
Throughout my English course I have been able to draw on ideas from my wider reading, enabling me to compare different texts, incorporate philosophical theories, confidently comment on contextual influences and develop specific areas of interest. In the future I would like to teach English Literature at University level as it would allow me to pursue my own research and instil a sense of passion for the subject in others. I am excited at the prospect of University life and studying in depth a subject which I truly love.
Since a very young age I have been fascinated by books. In Year Nine I realised my passion for English when an inspiring teacher encouraged me to look at literature from a broader viewpoint. We studied 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee and I was really drawn into the social context and the theme of racism. Through the study of Literature, one is delivered into the complex web of themes, contexts and characterisation. Literature provides an important insight into human nature which is fascinating to study in the contexts of past eras, immortalised in such detail in prose and poetry.
From the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, 'The limits of my language mean the limits of my world,' I have gained great inspiration. The limits of my language undeniably limit my world, because producing my own works of literature means a great deal to me. I read many of the works of literature that our language has to offer and I would truly love to emulate their success. For several years I have desired to be a novelist and I am working on my first novel. Studying Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and William Blake's poetry, I have become fascinated by the Romantics and this has led me to study many more authors of this period such as Keats and Wordsworth. The ideals and style greatly appeal to me and have been influential in my own poetry. I would like to take my enthusiasm for Literature to the next level to build on my existing skills and improve my writing by increasing my vocabulary and developing my critical style.
My A Levels consist of arts, humanities and science subjects which I chose as a reflection of my academic capabilities and interests. English Language is invaluable because it furthers my understanding of the language and conventions that our native literature is based upon. It allows me to explore social issues in society and apply them to the texts I study and also provides me with a valuable creative outlet. At school I help run the drama club for KS3 and I have contributed to assemblies and masses either by singing or reading. For six years I have performed in the school 'Cabaret' and I sing in both school choirs. A real highlight was when I sang as a soloist in York Minster in front of over 1,000 people.
During the summer in 2007 I volunteered to work with the Creative Writing workshop with YAGTSS. Doing this was a valuable opportunity to pass on my enjoyment for creative writing and poetry to talented young people.
I am a keen dancer and I am working towards Grade 8 Ballet with the RAD. I dance for six hours per week, which includes tap and modern. Ballet is mentally and physically hard work and demands a great deal of discipline and focus to succeed, which is reflected in my work at school. I am determined to work to the best of my abilities in even the smallest of tasks. I have been riding horses since I was seven and have competed with my own horses since I was ten. I am close to my Grade 4 piano exam and an extra GCSE in Italian three hours per week last year has meant that I have had to manage my time carefully. I feel I balance my time between work and leisure well, and my enthusiasm and drive to succeed with English has resulted in rewarding results at AS.
I hope that by expanding the limitations of my own work by studying the theories of English and gaining experience of the many works of literature available to me, I can achieve my ambition of becoming a successful novelist and share my passion for literature with the world.