Academics > English Literature and Writing

English Literature and Writing

English Literature and Writing

Bachelor of Arts in English

Why Study Literature?

"We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis

Wisdom. Truth. Goodness. Beauty. If you care deeply about these things, you may want to consider becoming an English major. In the study of literature, English majors discover the rich experiences and ideas available to all through the written word. When reading literature, one cannot help but grow intellectually, developing a greater understanding of human history, behavior, moral challenges, motivations, hopes and dreams.

Some of the world's most apt descriptions, penetrating commentaries, profound speculations, and nuanced analyses can be found in the plays, poems, novels, and short stories that form the literary heritage of the English language. By immersing ourselves in such literature, we discover priceless treasures of the human mind and heart.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to study literature is the sheer joy of it. Reading is useful, but reading is also fun!

Why Study Writing?

"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind." - Catherine Drinker Bowen

Writing is a uniquely human skill. It is also a skill that is not practiced equally well by everyone. It has been said that the role of a writer is not merely to say what any person could say, but to say things that others are not able to say. An English major not only studies writing for its own sake, but also to be able to apply techniques, forms, and structures to his or her own written works. To write well is an art of the highest form. It allows the author to contribute something of value to the lives of others.

Writing is also a useful skill. Nothing facilitates clarity of thought as much as the act of writing. Through the ages, many people have discovered that only by writing can they come to discover exactly what they believe.

The English Major at Holy Cross

The English major assimilates the essence of every academic discipline from the physical sciences to the social sciences to all of the humanities by reading, analyzing, and critiquing literary works. Great literature teaches the most valuable life lessons, introducing readers to a myriad of life situations that they may or may not ever encounter. Because authors present their distinctive views of the world and its inhabitants, readers find themselves introduced to every kind of person and transported to every time and place (past, present, and future) through stories, poems and plays. As Emily Dickinson said, "There is no frigate [ship] like a book..."

It is a well known secret that Individuals who move to the top most quickly in any organization are often those who have developed the ability to speak and write well. These are also among the top two attributes employers will use to judge a job applicant.

Graduates with bachelor's degrees in English are skilled at crafting well-written letters and reports. They speak well, communicate clearly and persuasively, and master a sophisticated vocabulary. These skills improve their job prospects immensely.

Because it trains you to understand both text and context-an English major is ideal preparation for law, business, and journalism. It can lead to elementary and secondary teaching, or to the host of management and sales positions that require one to be analytical, imaginative, perceptive, detailed and skilled in the use of language. Industries that actively recruit English majors include insurance, advertising, public relations, publishing, hospitality, sales and marketing. The English major at Holy Cross College prepares students for these potential career choices.

For those students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies to become professionals, the Holy Cross English program will serve them with a broad range of foundational courses and materials needed for success on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Because of the program's emphasis on writing, analysis, close reading, historical context, etc., students in this major will also be broadly educated and prepared for further professional study in areas such as law.

In addition, students in education who seek certification in secondary education will have the option of taking the English major to aid them in attaining English certification at the secondary education level.