December 2013 English Major of the Month
Chelien BrownHometown: Brooklyn, NY
Year in school: Senior
What made you decide to become an English major?|
I actually came to NYU with every intention of being an engineer. I declared the major and enrolled in several intro classes. I decided to switch to English because I was borrowing books repeatedly from Bobst for the little leisure time I had and it finally dawned on me that literature was what I really cared about.
Has studying English lived up to your expectations? Why or why not?
I’ve never thought about switching my major, back to engineering or to anything else for that matter, since I declared the English major. It really clamped onto me and hasn’t let go. Studying English here has been startling; I’m surprised by how much I’ve learned and how much there’s still left to learn.
Do you have a least favorite book?
The God of Small Things takes this one, not because I found the entire book unsuccessful but because of the one sex scene towards the end of it. I laughed while I read it; it completely ruined the book for me.
On the flip side, what are your favorite pieces of literature?
My favorite books are Blood Meridian, No County for Old Men and 1984. The endings are all spectacular, so I think I just love a good ending.
What classes have you enjoyed the most in the department?
The Shakespeare Survey that I took last semester was one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve had here. Shakespeare’s always fun to read and Professor Archer’s insight made it an even better experience. I also enjoyed a colloquium on Bootstrap Fictions that I took last year. It was about the American Dream as shaped and described by literature and it was the first time I studied U.S. history outside of a history class. It was interesting to study American history in an openly subjective way.
Has living in New York City impacted your studies or research interests in any significant way?
I’ve definitely benefited from being in a city with such a large public library system. I can’t imagine how much all of the books would have cost me if I hadn’t been able to borrow mot for free. Plus the city is teeming with reading events of every kind that I can attend at little or no cost.
Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Antagonistic intentions for this encounter are certainly welcome.
I would like to meet Cormac McCarthy but I don’t know what I would say to him. I hope I would say something intelligent but that’s out of character for me in first meetings.
What's your ideal career? Where do you hope your English degree will take you?
If I woke up one day to realize that I had a Rip Van Winkle like experience and slept through twenty years of successful novel writing I wouldn’t complain. There’s nothing I’d like more than being able to write a story or book that other people enjoy as much as I have enjoyed McCarthy’s or Orwell’s works.
What are your plans for Winter Break?
I’ve been trying to read Lolita for the past three months so that’s the first on my To-Do list. I’ll probably do some sledding in between chapters if there’s snow.
Any special messages, shout-outs, or acknowledgements?
I want to thank my professor, Catherine Robson for her nomination and her hilarious class.