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The Reasons I Wish To Study English Literature At Degree Level

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My first glimpse of literature was at age ten when my primary school class briefly studied extracts from Jane Eyre. Whilst they were undoubtably simplified, it unlocked a path for me. I had always strived for greatness where English was concerned but after picking apart the novel of Jane Eyre and watching it come to life in film, I realised that my love for the ‘Big Write’, which most people detested, could actually lead to something more.

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Throughout high school, my mind was set on a career path that did not involve English, despite it being the only subject I thoroughly enjoyed. In Year 12, I began working towards what I thought would be my career until I realised that something vital was missing from my life: English. I missed English lessons more than I enjoyed my current career path and so in what would have been my Year 13, I began my A-Levels for English Literature and English Language – this time I had not made the wrong choice, especially where Literature is concerned. Something I find intriguing about literature is that, when analysed, there are various interpretations and meanings to be found. I often like re-reading novels so that I can view them in a different perspective. I also like that literature can bring an easy enjoyment, I had never been an avid reader until taking A-Level Literature and now I am exposed to many brilliant writers in both prose and poetry. When I am not revising, I spend a lot of my free-time reading some of the fantastic novels, novellas, plays and poems I had been missing out on, such as Oscar Wilde’s Great Expectations, and Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar named Desire. I feel that studying English, along with investing my time into reading literature has given me qualities that are invaluable, such as insightfulness and the ability to look deeper into texts so that I can develop new and complex understandings.

I have since revisited Jane Eyre and really appreciated the feminist issues expressed within the patriarchal society of Victorian England that I had not previously noticed as a child. I find the character of Jane admirable, whilst she understands that she is not greatly liked, she is acutely aware that being respected is something she deserves and something that she can give herself if no one else can. Jane’s role in society is not to be beautiful as expected, instead she has strong principles and a strong sense of morality. One of my most treasured books is that of Oscar Wilde’s Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast. I find the simplicity of it to be comforting, it is a pleasant blend of arrogance and wit – along with segments that give an insight into Wilde’s personality. Whilst the book is a mixture of quotes, it is clear to see that they have been carefully selected and placed so that they seem to weave into one another beautifully. When I am not reading, I am writing my own novels. This is my favourite pass time and has been since I was a child. I enjoy the creativity and freedom to decide the fate of my characters along with developing them and strengthening the plot. In my early teenage years, I would emulate the style of my favourite books which at the time were Young Adult novels. However, I now feel comfortable writing in my own style and I am confident in my work – from the pacing, to the overall tone that ties the whole thing together.

With an English degree, specifically Literature, I aim to gain inspiration and learn new ways of thinking. I want to strengthen my literary potential, along with broaden my ideas by learning things I have never been knowledgeably exposed to before such as critical theory which will explore a range of concepts that will provide me insight into historical periods, social values and factors that influence writing in ways I had never considered.

Despite greatly enjoying my A-Level Literature course, I am eager to begin looking at a wider range of texts as well as being able to select modules that pique my interest such as the Romantic period, the Victorian period that initially sparked my enjoyment of literature, and the Ancient Greek Theatre where I am interested in learning the historical context behind the dramatic texts. I wish to study English Literature at degree level as I want to pursue a career in teaching it in either a high school or A-Level setting.

18 March 2020

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