Learning to read and write literary analysis is excellent training for critical thinking in general. This includes newspapers and periodicals, web sites, political speeches, advertisements, corporate and business publications, and so on. The skills that you develop working with the written word transfer to non-textual works as well.
If you can analyze a play or create a poem, for example, you can analyze or create a film, a television show, a music video, a concert or theater performance, a work of art, a graphic novel, an interactive web site. Learning to read and write in these very broad senses are basic life skills, applicable to virtually any college discipline or career.
Beyond that, literature (both reading it and creating it) pays great rewards in its own right. Careful, diligent, and committed students of literature live their lives broadly. Your education will provide multiple perspectives by placing you outside your own realm of experience. This is precisely what imaginative literature does. In walking in somebody else’s shoes for the duration of a poem, story, or play you will return to your own life with a larger experience of the world.
Our English majors have opportunities to present original scholarly work at our Annual Undergraduate English Conference each spring, as well as share creative work at our Plunkett Festival.
Skills You’ll Acquire
English majors develop a wide variety of skills that are applicable to literally any field of study or career path, and many employers seek English majors for this very reason. In particular, English majors excel at understanding, evaluating, and synthesizing various points of view, a must in a global, multicultural world.
- Persuading and arguing.
- Giving directions and explaining processes.
- Analyzing and evaluating.
- Developing style.
- Developing a sense of appropriate purpose, voice, and audience.
- Summarizing information.
- Writing concisely.
- Proofreading for clarity and consistency.
- Using grammar with proficiency.
- Presenting information.
- Designing documents.
- Defining a problem, issue, or topic.
- Finding and using resources.
- Synthesizing information from various sources.
- Evaluating and incorporating the work of others.
- Synthesizing sources into a coherent whole.
- Comparing information.
- Developing and testing hypotheses.
- Analyzing different points of view.
- Relating to people from different backgrounds and cultures.
- Immersing oneself in different and various time periods.
- Interpreting and evaluating the beliefs of others.
- Understanding audiences and anticipating their expectations.
- Developing a sense of authorial voice and purpose.
- Reading and reviewing each others’ work.
- Discussing various points of view and interpretation.
- Defending one’s own position.