Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Bethany Freed

Bethany Freed, Essay Contest Winner in the Third-Year Category, 2020-2021

Bethany Freed

Bethany Freed is completing her BA in English with a minor in History at VIU. This is her second foray into post-secondary education: she also attended Randolph Academy of the Performing Arts, completing a training program in acting, singing, and dancing. While she still loves performing, Bethany notes, “theatre school primarily deepened my love of the written word rather than performance.” When she decided to continue her education, this love made the choice to major in English a natural progression.

She was drawn to the class that led to her award-winning essay – ENGL 314: Modern Critical Theory with Professor Melissa Stephens – because she plans to pursue an MA in the future. Bethany felt it was important to familiarize herself with a broad range of critical theory to strengthen her skills in literary analysis.

As someone who has experienced chronic/hidden illness all her life, Bethany explains that her essay, “Aesthetic Disqualification, Narrative Imagination, and Gender Bias in Endometriosis Experiences,” was “definitely a passion project.” She believes “that having honest conversations about the biased and often substandard care women—and especially Women of Colour—experience when seeking medical care is crucial. While endometriosis experiences only encompass one niche example of women’s experiences in the medical world, writing this essay allowed me to contribute to this important conversation.”

Three books she believes everyone should read are Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson, The Promise by Pnina Bat Zvi & Margie Wolfe, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Her advice for future students? “Audio books are your friend! Depending on the reading I will have a hardcopy and an audiobook so that I can make notes in my hardcopy, but I have the ability to read while doing chores, commuting, or even going for a run.”

When she’s not working on her studies, you can find Bethany experimenting with makeup art.