Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Katie Carroll

Katie Carroll, Essay Contest Winner in the Second-Year Category, Best Essay, 2022-2023

Katie Carroll

Now in her fourth and final year, Katie Carroll has taken a circuitous but not unusual path to her Bachelor of Arts in English.  Despite loving reading and writing from the earliest of days, she was originally only an English minor.  Hoping to become a high school English teacher, she started in the Bachelor of Education program.   But, after a couple of years she made the switch and eventually entered the Honours program. 

In the Spring of 2023, she took Dr. Paul Watkins’s FILM 220.  As she notes: “I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the history and technicality of cinema and to analyze film in a more academic way rather than just watching it for pure entertainment.”   She encourages everyone to take the course for no better reason than to deepen our appreciation for what we seem to consume on a daily basis.  

In describing her approach to her award-winning essay, “Out-of-Field”: Cinematography of the Unseen in Portrait of a Lady on Fire and In the Mood for Love,” Katie describes an “aha” moment.  She began only with an adoration of the films and a desire to write about them.  Trusting her instincts, she discovered her argument through reading, research, and reflection. Both films she argues deepen meaning by capitalizing on what’s literally happening out of the field of the audience’s vision.

No doubt this appreciation for film theory informs her love of adaptations of classics like Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, and The Lord of the Rings.  While she loves the books themselves too, she understands how movies are also texts—open to the imaginative and analytical skills honed during her time at VIU.  While she expresses some ambivalence about finishing her degree, she ultimately feels “lucky to have worked with so many amazing professors and fellow students.”

In a last bit of advice to her fellow English majors, she offers this secret:  “Use the library! Not just the online database, but the physical books!”  In addition to saving money and finding interesting sources, it’s simply “nice to have a break from reading everything on the computer!”