Introduction

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Literature is more important than people believe.  When I tell people that I am an English major, they always ask why and what jobs are available for me.  Many family members try to persuade me to change to something they see as more valuable, like a science or business major, claiming I’m wasting my time and intelligence in a field that won’t support me.  My first reply is I love English.  Sure, I am fascinated by science theories and the autonomy of people, but nothing is superior to my attention than a fantastically written book.  Books have been my friends long before people ever were.  I have stepped into more worlds and learned how people feel more than any class has ever taught me.  I have always been in love with words and the stories formed using them.  It’s fascinating how language in itself works.  With the right words, I can convey more to a person than they realize.  Without language, the world would have a harder time communicating with one another, left with silence and confusion.

Language is another form of a culture.  Whatever the language is that people grow up with shapes them.  It has been proven that people who speak bilingually think differently in each specific language they grew up with or learned.  How can people not be fascinated by this?  Communication is fundamental to a human’s health.  Without language, the world would be full of complicated and confusing charades.  People need to feel connected to something for fulfillment and social necessity.  Babies cry to bring their parents to them, double checking the bond between baby and parent.  Homesick kids call their parents to check on them and feel close again to their parents.  Without communication, people are cut off from one another and left to lonely drift in the world.  Considering how naturally social humans are, this would be detrimental to anyone.

Literature also bridges people together.  The writing of different eras and cultures reflects what is occurring in that time.  Anthropologists and students gain knowledge of that time or people through the sort of works written by the population.  Whether intentionally or not, what authors write demonstrates their thinking, their emotions, their personality, and their life in general.  The way people learn to think is built through how they are raised and the area they are surrounded in throughout their childhood.  Experiences from these surroundings influence what the writer pens and says in his or her work.  To this day, we still read works from the earlier eras to learn about that culture and better understand what happened.  To further understand what they are reading, students typically are assigned to read the author’s biography, further insisting the necessity of the author’s life to the work.

Yet, people still question how literature is relevant.  Well, if they would only look at the Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones, or even The Hunger Games or Divergent series, they would stop and realize why it is.  Children are raised among the wonder of Harry Potter and brought up to see both the magic and struggle of the world.  Many obsess over the spectacular elements of Hogwarts, enjoying the ability to escape their own life for a little while.  Other kids are able to empathize with people in the stories and feel a bond with the characters, creating a support for them in their lives.  Other novels show the worry of government overstepping their bonds or the worries of a nearing post-apocalyptic world.  Fantasy, horror, realistic fiction, or comedies are all affected by the worries of people from the troubles of the day.  Some can escape into the realities spun in the fantasy or sci-fi genre, but even these have elements of the world’s struggle.

People keep reading and gaining information from the novels and stories they read and hear.  If there was no need for books, they would have long since gone extinct.  But stories will never stop being necessary or relevant to people.  They are a form of escape and reflection of the world in a safe space that forces people to think about the issues brought up.  As a professor has wisely pointed out to me, an author’s writing momentarily possesses people.  In the time it takes for a reader to read the first page to last, they are at the mercy of the author’s mind and pen.

When I entered English 305, I was not sure what to expect.  Other students warned me I was in for a world of late night essays and intense writing requirements and expectations.  Though this was mostly true, English 305 was not as awful as my peers claimed it would be.  Yes, it was a lot of work, but I am proud of what came from it.  I always like a challenge and do not tend to shy away from one.  Besides, I definitely believe that my writing vastly improved from my experience in English 305.  I am confident in how to write an essay and how to pace myself in writing.  Initially, I struggled with returning to an essay and revising it.  After having to do so many times, it does not feel as arduous as it once did.  I better understand how to ease into my introduction with quotes, breaking high school rules that were once beat into me.  In high school, I could not use first person, introduce my essays with a quote, or use more than five paragraphs in an essay.  Now that is all up in the air.  Even my transitions have improved.  What I have most improved on is to focus my essay in one direction.  In the past, I would become overly excited in my essays and tried to hash out all of my ideas into the small frame of an essay.  Now I am better at forcing myself to look through and delete what is not necessary to my argument.

When I write, I start by looking for inspiration.  For English 305, I first read the recommended books or short stories before plotting out an essay.  Once I absorb the variety of works, I reflect on which one draws my attention more.  After I figure that out, I grab my notebook and scrawl down what I know or remember about the story.  Then I return back to the work and reread with my post it notes on hand and caffeine.  As soon as the story is marked up and my first cup of coffee is consumed, I open my laptop and start hashing out what my working ideas are.  From there, I rip apart my essay and rebuild it again until I am satisfied enough to turn it in.  When the essay is returned, I travel back to the paper and scratch out what does not work or needs to be reshaped to fit the paper.  If needed, I repeat the process again.  Overall, I think each essay has at least three drafts.

From English 305, I am prepared for the future and looking forward to developing my writing skills and knowledge more.  For now, enjoy my site and look for future essays in my senior portfolio.