So you’ve been devouring books since you were five-years-old. Does that mean you’re ready for your honorary pHD in English?

Only if you can identify with these 9 differences between English majors and bookworms:

#1 English majors read short stories.

Why invest your emotions in a story that’s only going to last ten pages? Because your English professor told you to.

(Kidding. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is unbelievable!)

#2 English majors analyze the heck out of their reading material.

“I think Kathy married Linton to make Heathcliff jealous,” said no lit major ever.

Instead, try: “Linton and Heathcliff function as a binary pair showing two types of love. In Linton, we find a gentle, generous love. In Heathcliff, we find a passionate, possessive love. Kathy is torn between these two versions of love as, indeed, the human race is torn between them. We have yet to reach a consensus about which type is ideal.”

#3 English majors write in their books.

Of course, all of that analysis must be supported by citations from the text…

MBS Direct | Course material fulfillment for the future of ...

Above: Green is for structuralism. Pink is for feminisim. Blue is for psychoanalysis. Random scribbles are for smart alecky comments.

#4 English majors can classify books like a boss.

If you’ve ever said, “It’s mythopoeiac historical fiction with feminist leanings” you’re probably an English major.

#5 English majors can give you a complete history of literary movements.

It all started with Gilgamesh … then there was that little outbreak of fabulism in South America in the 1930s … but The Catcher in the Rye changed everything

#6 Bookworms want to stay up all night reading.

Lit majors are downing coffee to make it through 400 pages of Vanity Fair in one night.

#7 Bookworms get to read the latest New York Times bestseller.

Lit majors are still struggling through that obscure Victorian novel that their professor thinks is a precursor to the modern slasher film.

#8 Society thinks that being a bookworm is a sign of intelligence.

Society thinks that being an English major is a sign of doom.

#9 Most bookworms secretly think they could be English majors.

And many English majors wish they could go back to being bookworms.



9 thoughts on “9 differences between bookworms and English majors

  1. Thanks a lot for this post!

    I am an avid reader, but people always mistook that as an indication that I wanted to major in English Literature! That had never been my intention at all! I mean, can I not read books as a hobby and do something else for a profession??


  2. You know why I became an English major in college? Cause after two years of being on academic probation and changing my major three times (the third was English) English was the only discipline in which I had no D grades. The next big reason was that I was a book worm who liked to write and figured what the hell, English can’t be that bad! 🙂

    And now that I’m retired…I can be a real bookworm…which is soooo wonderful.


    1. You’re in good company! Shel Silverstein did basically the same thing–except he never made it to a pHD–and Disney was fired from his first job at newspaper because he “lacked imagination.”

      Liked by 1 person

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