In Response to Judgement & Unsolicited Advice

I’ve talked/written/complained about this before, but I feel like it’s one topic I could forever focus on, perhaps because it’s such a big part of my life. I might as well admit it:

My name is Sohini and I’m a literature student.

giphy“Aaaah!” (© Cartoon Network | via Giphy)

We’re all expected to do something in life. From the moment you finish your studies, even before then, people are very interested to know, “What do you want to do? What are you going to do?” As if there isn’t anything more important to focus on. Whilst this a very common question, what I want to do — to earn money but to more importantly spend my own time and my own life doing is my choice. It can be a personal matter, and is all my choice. Because it’s my own life I’ll be occupying with whatever I do.

So the judgement people are so quick to pass on these decisions is baffling. “I admire people who choose creative professions,” someone told me once. “Because it’s more uncertain. I myself am using not words or language, but Technical Skills for my job,” she added. I could almost hear the capital ‘t’ and ’s’.

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Technical Skills. Wow. (© Nickelodeon | via Giphy)

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Struggles of a Literature Student

You start the year full of energy, expecting to read and enjoy a wide variety of texts in the coming months. As the first weeks begin, you get to work like any other university student. But soon enough, a few things become apparent…

1. Some people seem to think your life is like this:

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Comments you hear upon the utterance of the words “English literature” are:

“What exactly do you do in your course?”
“So you just read books in your course?”
“I wish I could sit around and read all the time!”

Well, make sure to put aside your books on mythology, history, psychoanalysis and philosophy before you try and make them understand that no, you don’t sit around reading Harry Potter all day.

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Reading Experiences

Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is rewarding.

I recently read two books whose writing styles are quite different from the books I usually read. The first is called The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, which is a collection of stories. The second is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. In the case of the first book, I didn’t have a choice; it was part of my English course. Although the stories themselves are a little difficult for me to understand, and are not really the genre I usually read, I quite like certain aspects of the writing style. Some parts, such as the changing perspectives and tenses, are not ones that I particularly like, although I have to admit that they add to the mood of the stories. On the other hand, some of the imagery and literary devices used are powerful, and effectively add to the reader’s experience of the story.

I still remember one line from one of the stories: “Her hair falls down like tears.” I think that is one of the nicest descriptions I have ever read! In such few words, it makes me imagine hair flowing gracefully like a river, the strands running down like rivulets and falling fluidly along the back. The mention of tears also adds a melancholy to the description, and reveals a bit more about the character, while hiding just enough to keep the reader wondering. It really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that can be used, when writing, to describe something beautifully and uniquely. There are other examples I could use, but this sentence has stuck with me since I read that particular story. Although I must say that the stories themselves are not quite my taste, the writing style itself is often beautiful, in my opinion.

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