English literature has always been a subject of interest to me due to its ability to influence and manipulate its readers whilst expanding our knowledge of a particular subject. The immediate attraction of an English degree was the range of study material on offer, the flexibility and independence given to develop your own interests, as well as the opportunity to learn from active researchers at the forefront of their respective fields. My study of English Literature has furthered my knowledge of the stylistic devices employed by a variety of writers and also how the social and historical contexts affect the way in which the text is written.
Khaled Hosseini’s novels; which intricately juxtaposes deeply moving accounts of human drama against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s recent tumultuous history; led me on to read other texts firmly focused on both personal and national dramas. Sarah Maguire’s latest anthology, was particularly intriguing due to the vast number of countries and cultures she drew upon in her poems. The title poem’s extraordinary precision and sensuality whilst dealing with the wider context of the poem is hard-hitting without becoming polemical or political.
Currently, my favourite authors include Margaret Atwood, Sue Monk Kidd and Sebastian Faulks whose novels are captivating because of their strong narrative techniques and stimulating reflection on the human spirit. My favourite poets include William Blake, Phillip Larkin, but foremost Robert Browning for his mastery of the dramatic monologue. From reading literature so heavily influenced by the culture in which it is written I have developed a passion for both foreign literature and travel. Hence, I am very interested in both the international exchange and ERASMUS programmes offered.
My knowledge of the language and culture’s of France, Germany and Spain will certainly assist me in this matter. My chosen A levels have offered me the opportunity to acquire skills that are highly valuable and will inevitably aid me in my chosen degree. My study in Biology has enabled me to develop independent research skills and present my findings in a coherent and logical manner, both on paper and in discussion. Studying French Literature has broadened my outlook and given me access to a wide range of target language texts.
I found myself moved by the noble message, portrayed with such sensibility and charisma, in Vercors’ clandestine resistance novel ‘Le Silence de la Mer’. The visual experience of ‘Indigenes’, an angry exposi?? of discrimination in the French military, vividly introduced by Dr Isabelle McNeill, inspired me to delve deeper into French cinema. The New Wave classics of ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ and ‘A Bout de Souffle’ are of particular interest to me due to the revolutionary and often subversive techniques applied in terms of plot structure, content and camera work.
The knowledge and skills attained in the study of a second language will inform my study of the first! In addition to my A Levels I play an active role at my school in the extra-curricular activities on offer. For many years, I have written articles for the school magazine and last year had the responsibility of being co-editor of the magazine, an opportunity I relished as a chance to improve my literary techniques and creativity. This task also enhanced my organisational skills in co-ordinating a project from start to finish. I have also contributed to the various drama performances, in performing as well directing and scriptwriting.
This experience has allowed me to enhance my oral skills and ability to meet a deadline, whilst increasing my confidence as an active member of a team. My part time job has also improved my communication skills and enabled me to be decisive and independent. My positions as Deputy Head Girl, Head of School Council, Head of House and keen sports player have helped me to develop my leadership and inter-personal skills. The academic success and enjoyment I have had in studying English has given me the confidence to approach it at degree level with readiness and determination.