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I love English. I love its little quirks and idiosyncrasies, I love the etymology, I love the language. It all started back in the second grade when I checked Robinson Crusoe out of the school library. Every day, I would read a few pages on the bus ride to school, and before I knew it, I was finished. So I checked out Moby Dick. I devoured it. Treasure Island, The War of the Worlds, and Huckleberry Finn soon followed. They never stood a chance. After a few years of this, I began to slow down a bit, savoring the intricacies and meanings of the language. From there it was just a short jump to poetry – Dickinson, Frost, Poe, even a bit of Burns. I didn’t understand some of the more difficult works, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Next came etymology and linguistics. I took to memorizing Latin words on a daily basis. After that, I moved on to more complex poetry and prose such as Shakespeare, (The Taming of the Shrew was the first work of literature that ever made me laugh out loud, believe it or not) Nietzsche, and Bronte.
I have and always will love English because it is so dynamic. Take Death of a Salesman for example. There are literally dozens of different ways of interpreting this play, and no one way is more correct than another! Or A Separate Peace – even the author didn’t know if Gene pushed Finny out of that tree or not! Brilliant.
Incidentally, I am penning this essay right on Cornell campus in the Center for Jewish Living. As I have just finished telling the English major who is currently sitting right next to me, I too want to be an English major in the school of Arts and Sciences. I like the small writing classes – the opportunity to share my work with others and to explore new viewpoints is exactly what I am looking for in developing my language skills, and I will also undoubtedly enjoy every last bit of it. I hope to be an English professor one day, and the discussion in writing and literature classes is exactly what inspired me to choose English as a career.
I also look forward to the linguistics courses offered at Cornell. The history of language has always fascinated me, and I hope to be able to teach linguistics one day in addition to literature. I am very impressed with the abundance of linguistics courses, not to mention those in English literature. I have yet to read about a college that has anything even approaching the caliber of the English department at Cornell.
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