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Literature unites everything that I find exhilarating about life, and most of my spare time is taken up with reading. To me, literature and the written word is mankind's greatest achievement, which is why I am determined to dedicate my life to its study. I am not content with simply reading a text, as I have a hunger to learn everything I can about what I read - how it was written; why it was written; what it means; its place in literature as a whole.
I read a catholic range of literature. I particularly enjoy Romantic poetry, as I find it to be an intriguing example of how literature can be used to make a stand against society's established codes, as poets rebelled against previous literary traditions and, contrary to the doctrines of neo-classical literature, focused on emotions and on the individual. Another example of such a rebellion, and another area of fascination to me, is the dystopian novel of the twentieth century. My favourite examples include Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm', Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' , Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' and Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Many of these great works were inspired by, and reacted against, the rise of political extremists during the first half of the century. These works are also often highly satirical, a style which I admire and which has lead me to read works such as Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock', Heller's 'Catch-22' and Ben Elton's cynically satirical plays. I also appreciate the novels of Jane Austen, especially the witty Gothic satire 'Northanger Abbey'.
I see literature as both a cause and an effect of history, and so I study history in order to fully appreciate the context of a piece of writing. I find it fascinating how one's knowledge of a historical period can alter one's interpretation of a text. Also, I believe that the study of art can contribute to one's understanding of literary background, for example in the way that Blake's paintings can give an insight into his mind, and thus his poetry. I find that my study of maths is useful as it contributes to my logical and analytical skills, which are vital for the critical appraisal of literature.
At the end of year 12 I attended a ten-day residential course at Eton College to study English literature. The course was designed to be of the same intensity, and of a similar level, to university studies. These were ten of the best days of my life, and made me realise that an English course at university would be perfect for me, and that I would be perfect for it. This course also allowed me to refine my interests in the subject, and to look in detail at areas hitherto untouched-upon in my state school education.
I have completed a work experience placement at a local architects' office, which I feel taught me many life-skills. Seeing the enthusiasm of the people I worked with showed me that it is important to pursue a career in a subject you love. Therefore, although I do not have a definite idea of where I wish to work in the future, I would like to find employment in an area directly related to English, such as in publishing or journalism.
I take part in extra-curricular activities that I feel aid me in my English studies. Being a member of a debating society has increased my discussion abilities, and has taught me how to argue my point while retaining an open mind and being aware of the opinions and interpretations of others. I am a volunteer for a group that helps less-able children to read, as I feel that the ability to appreciate the written word is the most fundamental life-skill that a child can have. I love making music on the guitar and the piano, and I am an avid art-fan. I am part of NAGTY, Young Enterprise and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.