I study at the University of Oregon, and I chose a major in comparative literature. Obviously, this means that literature is a major part of my life. In a semester alone, I read more than 10 books, of considerable length, without including numerous short stories and poems.
If you read my blog, then you must know that I relish reading and writing. So, I figured that choosing an English major was the best option for me, as it would challenge me intellectually, allowing me to interact with other students with similar interests.
And comparative literature seemed to address my interests best. Quintessentially, this focuses on the study of literature in relation to culture, different languages, time periods – you name it. As you might expect, literary critique is the key element to the discipline. In plain English, comparative literature determines one to think more profoundly about the stories surrounding us. What are the elements that influence the narratives? How do distinct cultures convey certain ideas and human frailties?
In a sense, comparative literature is interdisciplinary, drawing aspects from philosophy, English, psychology, languages, sociology, political science, ethnic studies, gender studies, and the list may go on.
I like that the classes thought in comparative literature are as diverse as they can get. For instance, there have been times when I studied the comic adaptation to film. Another example would be determining the activist strategies in personal essays vs. traditional journalism. Evidently, these are only examples, the possibilities are endless. On a different note, on various occasions, we have examined gender identity in distinct forms of literature across culture and time.
As you already know, I like making connections between different stories and pinpointing the elements that shape lives and our experiences as humans. That’s why my all-time favorite classes I’ve taken include the feminist theory, indigenous literature, as well as gender and identity in Colonial literature. Of course, there are many other classes I enjoyed just as much. But cultural diversity is engrossing, in my opinion, and I like drawing a connection between literature and cultural distinctions, and the way in which they are interlinked.
Essentially, the classes I take have a fundamental goal – to teach me how to think critically, become better at analyzing the outside world, and communicating complex ideas. To that end, I could say that my major leveraged my writing and English skills, as well as my analytical thinking.