Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Picking a 'theme' or genre to focus on in the personal statement. Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Deleted.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Well, I'm haven't had experience of the application process as of yet as, like you, I am applying this year, but I'd like to add my opinion

    On a minor note, Beowulf isn't a novel, it's an epic poem, and "The Turn of the Screw is a short story or novella. And Lyrical Ballads was written by Wordsworth AND Coleridge .

    More specifically, I don't think you mention too many texts. However, as you say yourself, all texts reflect upon humanity to a greater or lesser extent. Even the act of writing a literary text is itself a human reflection. I don't think you need to theme the whole statement, maybe choose two or three texts per paragraph and link them under themes, if not styles, movements, periods etc. For example, in one of my paragraphs I have mentioned three novels and linked them under the theme of the conflict between passion and duty, or there abouts.
    Maybe try to find thematic or stylistic links between a few texts in each paragraph. You could even link some under attitudes towards politics, then some under reflection on the human psyche, etc, as you mentioned before.

    Hope this helps!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Epic27)
    Well, I'm haven't had experience of the application process as of yet as, like you, I am applying this year, but I'd like to add my opinion

    On a minor note, Beowulf isn't a novel, it's an epic poem, and "The Turn of the Screw is a short story or novella. And Lyrical Ballads was written by Wordsworth AND Coleridge .

    More specifically, I don't think you mention too many texts. However, as you say yourself, all texts reflect upon humanity to a greater or lesser extent. Even the act of writing a literary text is itself a human reflection. I don't think you need to theme the whole statement, maybe choose two or three texts per paragraph and link them under themes, if not styles, movements, periods etc. For example, in one of my paragraphs I have mentioned three novels and linked them under the theme of the conflict between passion and duty, or there abouts.
    Maybe try to find thematic or stylistic links between a few texts in each paragraph. You could even link some under attitudes towards politics, then some under reflection on the human psyche, etc, as you mentioned before.

    Hope this helps!

    Thanks a great deal for this response, and apologies for the minor errors!

    I like the sound of your ideas, the 'reflection on the human psyche' would render 'The Turn of the Screw,' 'Waiting for Godot' and 'Equus' as ripe for comparison. I'm already starting to form a link between 'Beowulf' and 'Les Mis' in terms of their themes on identity and the definition of a hero. 'Les Mis' and the 'Go-Between' as well as the lyrical ballads share a strong-sense of socio-historical context that I could further compare. So thats at least two paragraphs dealing with seperate topics! I might need to touch on style and structure, though... in addittion, I'm a little worried about missing the 'big' 19th century feminist and gothic eras.... This is why I try and do things early!

    Thanks

    Tom
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tsxmitw)
    Thanks a great deal for this response, and apologies for the minor errors!

    I like the sound of your ideas, the 'reflection on the human psyche' would render 'The Turn of the Screw,' 'Waiting for Godot' and 'Equus' as ripe for comparison. I'm already starting to form a link between 'Beowulf' and 'Les Mis' in terms of their themes on identity and the definition of a hero. 'Les Mis' and the 'Go-Between' as well as the lyrical ballads share a strong-sense of socio-historical context that I could further compare. So thats at least two paragraphs dealing with seperate topics! I might need to touch on style and structure, though... in addittion, I'm a little worried about missing the 'big' 19th century feminist and gothic eras.... This is why I try and do things early!

    Thanks

    Tom
    No problem. Where are you applying, out of interest? It sounds as if your ideas are coming together nicely . I wouldn't worry about missing out an era; they don't have a checklist which they have to tick off! Everyone has different interests. You can't mention everything in 4000 characters; as you said before, you could only do this by touching on everything in an extremely superficial manner.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Epic27)
    No problem. Where are you applying, out of interest? It sounds as if your ideas are coming together nicely . I wouldn't worry about missing out an era; they don't have a checklist which they have to tick off! Everyone has different interests. You can't mention everything in 4000 characters; as you said before, you could only do this by touching on everything in an extremely superficial manner.
    I'm not entirely sure of my top 5, but these are the places I'm interested in:

    Kings College
    Queen Mary
    Warwick
    York
    Exeter
    Leeds
    Royal Holloway

    How about you?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tsxmitw)
    I'm not entirely sure of my top 5, but these are the places I'm interested in:

    Kings College
    Queen Mary
    Warwick
    York
    Exeter
    Leeds
    Royal Holloway

    How about you?
    Definitely Cambridge, though I doubt I'll get in. Others will probably be York, Durham, Warwick and maybe St. Andrews. I love the look of the York course!
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    I suggest writing a personalised statement towards your firm and insurance choices, taking into account their syllabus and teaching specialisms. I would love to write my extended essay on eroticism but there are no qualified supervisors, which means I have to adhere to my departments specialisms. You face the same scenario but it somewhat easier since most undergraduate courses have very similar programme structures (Cambridge, Durham and Oxford are a little different since they place an emphasis Old English), which means you do not have to inadvertently admit that a particular university is only your second or third choice through your personal statement.

    I would disagree with Epic27's suggestion that you find “thematic or stylistic links between a few texts in each paragraph” because it ultimately becomes self-serving and irrelevant. Unless your comparison is absolutely superb, which is unlikely given your choice of texts (not a bad thing trust me), then you are merely highlighting areas of knowledge you are unaware of; most undergraduates tend to construct arguments to hide what they do not know so I would not worry too much about too vague.

    Tell me your firm and insurance choices, and which books you actually enjoy reading.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Definitely Cambridge, though I doubt I'll get in. Others will probably be York, Durham, Warwick and maybe St. Andrews. I love the look of the York course!
    Best of luck!
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Your personal statement has a number of problems; redundancy is the worst.

    Your suggestion that literature has the ability to “evoke great sentimental value” it interesting. If you define what you mean by that in the right way then you can tie in particular bodies of literary theory, and books you have read seamlessly. It does not matter if the reader does not agree with the definition as it is the strength of argument which qualifies the premise.

    A rewrite:

    “I believe that literatures' greatest quality is to evoke great sentimental value; posing deep philosophical questions which challenge the boundaries of humanity. Aristotle believed “that the function of the poet is not to say what has happened, but to say the kind of thing that would happen.” Poetry is “more philosophical and more serious than history. Poetry tends to express universals, and history particulars” [1]. The universality of literature means it is inherently didactic . It reflects life but is fundamentally better than life at the same time because... [2]

    Victor Hugo's portrayal of love as the ultimate goal in life in Les Miserables strikes a sentimental chord at odds with the unjust class-based society of nineteenth-century France. Characterisation is developed to semantically analogise [3] the political turmoil of revolutionary France itself. A good woman, Fatine, is impoverished and driven to prostitution and later death; symbolising the hypocrisy of a society, which ostracises uneducated women, yet supports the men who victimise them.”

    [1] - Sir Philip Sidney (Middle English) and Percy Shelly (Romantic) wrote similar works (suggesting that literature was better than either history and philosophy for teaching people morals), and you will almost certainly study the latter on your degree; I checked the reading list for Royal Holloway, and you do indeed study Ode to the West Wind – a perfect example of literature challenging the social boundaries of its respective period.

    [2] – Technical term which means teaching a lesson. You can branch this argument off however you want now to justify your original assertion, and further prove you a solid theoretical understanding.

    [3] – Technical term which represents an analogy on a semantic [meaning] level. I believe Fatine means child, which probably symbolises innocence. You could suggest that her narrative fate is representative of how society treats the less fortunate. Remember that the writer is always giving clues to the reader. In Of Mice and Men it is no coincidence that George's surname is Milton. It is an allusion (intertextual reference) to the stories origin – Paradise Lost – and its author John Milton.

    The irony is that potential undergraduates try too hard to prove they are widely read and knowledgeable. They are neither. Even if you were comparatively well read it is no indicter that you are a good literature student as most do not know how to read properly.

    What I suggest you do to get yourself in the habit of writing in a way which proves you have the skills that interest an admissions officer is to sit down and describe as technically as you can why you like a particular piece, or why you think it is effective. If you like Les Miserables then tell me why. Tell me how and why Victor Hugo uses the language he does, and what the effect is. Read how he describes the characters - what word classes do he tend to use, and what do the words actually mean.

    Ultimately, you are very unlikely to actually impress someone with what you have actually read so there is little use in spreading yourself too thinly, or actually saying you have "focused on some feminist reading, using the critical theory book 'The Madwoman in the Attic,' as a foundation for this reading". So what? That is one particular branch of literary theory, and you have not told me anything other than you have read it. What you should have done was superimpose their assertions regarding patriarchy, and make connections to how Fatine is treated.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brexit voters: Do you stand by your vote?
    Useful resources

    Make your revision easier

    OMAM

    Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

    Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.

    Notes

    Revision Hub

    All our revision materials in one place

    Love books

    Common grammar and vocabulary problems

    Get your questions asked and answered

    Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.