Friday, May 7, 2010

My Motivational Essay

Finished the second draft of my motivational essay, I would love some suggestions if you have any. Thanks a bundle!

Motivational Essay for Freiburg University

My interest in literature comes from my love of writing, art, and the history of ideas. Since college, I have been fascinated with how the thoughts from one historical moment have led up to my own and I found in literature a link to those great minds of the past, whose shoulders we stand on. For me, as a writer and philosophy buff, I couldn’t think of a better field of study.

I received my degree in history from Washington State University, focusing primarily on the Western tradition. I spent my last semester abroad in Florence, Italy at Leonardo di Medici, where I remained for an additional year teaching English and writing about my experiences. The social and political events, Italy’s world cup victory and the election of a centre-left coalition, I encountered during my time in Italy compelled me to re-evaluate how I thought of the interaction between outside cultural forces and local heritage in diverse contexts. Increasingly, I wanted to explore these complex issues from within; as a result, I applied for and received a post in the US Peace Corps in Romania. The following two years, spent in Romania working as an active member of my community in a high school, allowed me to observe the locals’ ancient traditions as well as their struggle to locate their identity in a post-communist consumer society. It was in trying to understand these competing ideologies as well as those of my own generation in a global context that led me to the study of intellectual history.

The idea of undertaking an MA in literature and theory began two years ago while teaching English in Romania. I taught a class on English literature and had such a fun time analyzing my favorite authors and poets with my students that I soon found myself rushing home to prepare for the next lesson, oftentimes reading theorists like Lyotard and Foucault long into the night. I began to recognize a deeper relationship between literature and the fields of history and philosophy, with theorists from the worlds of post-modernism, new-historicism, and Western Marxism as part of my independent study regimen. In the search for the forces and power-relations that have shaped my generation, I found literature to be an invigorating reserve of intellectual narratives that I had been neglecting.

I began to pay more attention to narrative structures and literary devices in narrative theory and its appraisal of what authors ‘do’ in their texts, but I knew I needed a professor to help me develop a more sophisticated critical approach to literary works, and to focus my efforts on a single project. Furthermore, I knew I wanted an interdisciplinary approach to the field where I could incorporate my interests in philosophy and history, as well as continue my international experience. The discovery of the MA in English Literature and Literary theory offered at Freiburg University fit perfectly with my personal and academic goals.
In the long-term, my goal is to use the knowledge garnered in this program to help me become a more critical reader. I want to investigate how effective writers house their ideas in narrative structures in order to enhance my own creative expressions. I wish to understand my own historical moment within the lives and times of those who have come before me, and with the reinterpretations provided by different theories I can multiply the lenses that I use to perceive their world and the lessons that are hidden from within. I also want to improve my critical reading, writing and research skills to an academic journal level, which I expect to gain from graduate study in this program. I am excited to have the chance to study under Professor Fludernik as she is a recognized leading narrative scholar and I am fascinated by ways that narratology interprets the distinctions between story and discourse. I am also thrilled that special emphases is given to the 18th and 19th century novel and to modernist and postmodernist writers since I specifically want to analyze the transforming acts of communication between the two paradigms. The range of different modules that are offered, especially the Foundations of Literary Criticism and Theories as well as Research Techniques, with the experience of the professors and the location of the university makes this program a perfect fit with my own professional aspirations.

My continual evolution in thought after college has given me more reason to return to study in order to develop a higher command of the critical skills needed to tackle the challenges of my generation. I hope that I will be given the opportunity to reach these personal goals as a graduate student and I thank you for your consideration of my admission to the program.