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English Literature

A Level English Literature offers you the opportunity to explore modern novels, classic poetry and plays with like-minded students. Characters are brought to life and analysed through discussion; fictional worlds are spread out like intricate maps to be navigated chapter by chapter and visits to the theatre bring play-scripts to life. You will learn how to unpick the ways in which stories are told, identifying ways in which the writer manipulates their readers and causes us to laugh, cry or gasp in wonder. Your analytical skills will develop, as well as your ability to express your ideas articulately.

Summary of course content

This qualification is linear and students will sit the A level exam at the end of their two year A level course


Paper 1: Literary genres – Aspects of Tragedy – assessed by a two and a half hour examination (closed book). You will study three texts (two plays and a novel). In the past we have studied texts such as: “Othello” by Shakespeare, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy

Paper 2: Texts and Genres – Elements of Political and Social Protest writing – assessed by a three hour exam (open book). You will study three texts (a play, a novel and a collection of poetry). In the past we have studied texts such as: “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “Songs of Innocence and Experience” by William Blake.

Paper 3: Non-exam assessment – Theory and Independence. This is a study of two texts: one poetry and one prose, informed by a study of the Critical Anthology. Students must produce two essays of 1250-1500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology.

Where the course leads

A Level English Literature is extremely well regarded by top universities across the country. Many universities have English Literature on their ‘preferred A Level choices list’ as the skills you develop in this course will support many other analytical subjects at degree level. Studying this course at A level often leads students to studying subjects like English, Drama or Media Studies at university. Careers that lead on from our subject could include working in the media, editing or publishing, teaching or advertising.

Entry requirements

Students must be eligible to follow the Route A Pathway. In addition students must achieve at least a C grade in both English Language and English Literature at GCSE; an interest in and love of reading extensively and a desire and willingness to be involved in group discussion. To be successful in our subject you will need to commit to the course and be willing to research, prepare ideas and practise essays in your free periods which will then be explored during subsequent lessons. Your ability to draw on your knowledge of a wide range of texts to support your analysis of the one being prepared in class will also be of benefit.

For further advice contact: Mr McNaughton