Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Olive Andrews

Olive Andrews, Essay Contest Winner in the First Year, ENGL 135/FILM Category, 2022-2023

Olive Andrews

Olive Andrews is an upper-level student in English at VIU who plans to graduate from the program after three more semesters. She was initially drawn to English as a discipline because of her “life-long love of reading” and has found that studying literature in an academic context has only enhanced her engagement with it: “the more I learn about how to critically analyze what I read, the more I get out of it. Plus, I have a lot of feelings and opinions about what I read, and it's very rewarding to have a space in which to argue those opinions, and to learn how to defend them.” For Olive, criticism and enjoyment ultimately go hand-in-hand: she says, “If I didn't know how to enjoy a text and be critical of it at the same time, there wouldn't be anything left to enjoy!”

This desire to both enjoy and critically engage with texts has also led Olive to take film studies courses at VIU. Her interest in film analysis stems, in part, from having watched video essayists on YouTube dissect the films they love to understand what makes them great, as well as why and how they work to create an emotional reaction in audiences. In her award-winning FILM 101 essay, “‘He Covets’: The Unspoken Language of Gender in The Silence of the Lambs,” Olive sought to understand precisely what she found both enthralling and challenging about Jonathan Demme’s 1991 thriller—namely, the complexity of the relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.

Noting that it’s difficult to recommend texts that everyone should read or watch, Olive has recently enjoyed the semi-autobiographical novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith, and John Green’s book of essays The Anthropocene Reviewed (2021), which is also available as a podcast. She finds the latter collection especially timely for thinking about “what humans can and should do with our time on Earth.” Although she acknowledges that finding time is not always easy during a busy semester, Olive’s advice to current and future English students is “to keep reading in your free time - and writing, if that's something you enjoy.”