Examination Board: AQA
The English Literature A Level course aims to encourage students to read widely in the three literary forms of drama, poetry and prose. This reading provides opportunities for students to significantly develop their enjoyment and close study of literature with a focus on set texts as well as other reading that students select for themselves. Students will learn to be both critical and creative in their response to a substantial body of texts and learn the different ways there are of responding to the reading they have undertaken. They will develop their skills of literary analysis and their understanding of how to apply this to the evaluation of the texts they read. An important aspect of the course is the consideration of the impact of context on the texts studied and the interpretations of other readers. Most significantly the course aims to encourage students to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as students undertake independent and sustained reading of drama, poetry and prose to deepen their understanding and appreciation of English literature.
Examination: Love Through the Ages
Students will explore how writers present their ideas about love in its many different forms including romantic love; love and loss; social conventions and taboos; young love and maturing love; jealousy and guilt; truth and deception; proximity and distance; marriage;
approval and disapproval.
Texts students will encounter include Othello, Rebecca and a pre-1900 Poetry Anthology.
Examination: Texts in Shared Contexts
The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time. Bennett students will focus on literature from 1945 to the present day. Students will explore how writers have considered the social, political, personal and literary issues which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st century. Students study three texts taken from the three literary forms of drama, poetry and prose. Texts students will encounter as preparation for the exam: The Handmaid’s Tale; A Streetcar Named Desire; the poetry of Owen Sheers.
Coursework: Independent critical study: Texts across time
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse how writers from two different historical contexts present a theme. Students develop their skills as autonomous readers in this unit as they decide the theme and, with the guidance of their teacher, the texts they wish to read. Students write a comparative critical study of 2500 words. Possible themes students may choose to explore may include: The struggle for identity; Crime and punishment; Minds under stress: The Gothic: Satire and dystopia: War and conflict: Representations of race and ethnicity: Representations of women: Representations of men: Representations of social class and culture. As preparation for this coursework, students are required to read a pre-1900 novel before starting the Year 12 course.
How Is It Assessed?
Two examinations at the end of the course = 80%
What kinds of students are most suited to this course?
What other courses often combine successfully with this?
Any, but especially, perhaps, History, Drama and Theatre Studies, Art, Religious Studies, Philosophy, French, German or Media Studies.
What career or higher education options might this course lead to?
Almost any career, particularly those in which analytical and reflective skills are required such as journalism, media, teaching, civil service, writing, administration or management.
Higher Education: English, American Studies, Creative Writing, Media, Journalism, Drama.
The Russell Group universities regard English Literature highly and favour applications with these keystone subjects.
What extra-curricular activities support this course?
Theatre visits to see performances of set and other texts, opportunities to hear visiting lecturers and speakers.
Quotations from students:
“What I enjoy most about English is the way we study texts in depth. I can see the themes are as relevant today as when the books were written. I love the discussions, especially when there’s a real argument over an interpretation. I also love going to the theatre – it really brings the set texts to life!”