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2019 Senior Essays By the Numbers

The Class of 2019 recently turned in their senior essays, the culmination of their undergraduate education at St. John’s. In their essays, students grapple with a question in dialogue with a primary text or texts. It is not a research paper, but rather an extension of the critical reading, thinking, and analysis students have engaged in throughout their years in the Program.

While each student’s essay is different, some texts, subjects, and authors tend to prove more popular subjects.

View the text alternative for the web accessibility infographic.

Senior Essays infographic

Infographic created by Su Karagoz (A20).

Program Texts

Of the 145 senior essays turned in (on both campuses) in February, the top 10 most popular texts were:

  1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: 6 essays
  2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky: 5 essays
  3. Paradise Lost by John Milton: 5 essays
  4. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: 5 essays
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: 4 essays
  6. Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard: 4 essays
  7. The Book of Genesis: 4 essays
  8. The Phenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: 4 essays
  9. Hamlet by William Shakespeare: 3 essays
  10. Othello by William Shakespeare: 3 essays

Topics

Literature and philosophy were the most popular subjects represented by the essays, with the following breakdown:

  1. Literature: 74 essays (51%)
  2. Philosophy: 37 essays (25.5%)
  3. Theology: 8 essays (5.5%)
  4. Science: 8 essays (5.5%)
  5. Other/Multidisciplinary: 6 essays (4.1%)
  6. Music: 5 essays (3.4%)
  7. Math: 3 essays (2.1%)
  8. Art: 2 essays (1.4%)
  9. History/Politics: 2 essays (1.4%)

Authors

Many authors were covered by one or two students, but the following were the subject of three or more essays:

  1. Shakespeare: 11 essays
  2. Tolstoy: 9 essays
  3. Dostoevsky: 7 essays
  4. Plato: 6 essays
  5. Woolf: 6 essays
  6. Milton: 5 essays
  7. Proust: 5 essays
  8. Twain: 5 essays
  9. Kierkegaard: 4 essays
  10. Nietzsche: 4 essays
  11. Hegel: 4 essays
  12. Flaubert: 3 essays