When I was first choosing my major, my family gave me a couple of options: business or pre-law. These were the only acceptable choices. So when I voiced that I would be majoring in English and contemplating a concentration in creative writing, it was not well received to say the least. What are you going do with an English major? How is that going to get you anywhere? How do you expect to make any money? Are you turning into one of those liberal hippies? These were the questions I was prodded with. And what was my spectacular and convincing answer to these inquiries? I don’t know. I had absolutely no idea if majoring in English would guarantee me a job or a lavish lifestyle, or whether or not it would turn me into a picket holding non-conformist who falls severely to the left in the political spectrum. But none of this mattered to me, because I did know one thing: that when I read A Picture of Dorian Gray in my sophomore year of high school, my views on life changed entirely.
And that my heart skips when I hear the lines “Complacencies of the peignoir, and late Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair.” And that I cry every time I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. And that the end of The Great Gatsby makes me feel desperate in the most incredible kind of way. And that The Fountainhead taught me how to be an individual and A Clockwork Orange taught me about freedom. And that A Separate Peace taught me about human nature and showed me “that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth.”
What my family doesn’t understand is that great literature feeds me just as much as food does. Good writing comes alive off of the page to me and has the ability to not only provoke my thoughts but also make me question my own actions. Of course, I know that business and law are excellent professions and it would probably be beneficial to my pocket for me to pursue either one. But I doubt either of these would be beneficial to my soul. Literature and poetry evoke passions that we don’t even know exist inside of us. Words, whether they are loving or scornful, are what we stay alive for. To be able to express yourself and your feelings through writing is one of the greatest gifts we are given as human beings.
And the ability to feel is so very important to me. So, this is why I’m majoring in English. Because right now, the inner workings of my soul are more important to me than that of my bank account.