Our Lady's Abingdon - OLA 6th English Literature

OLA 6th English Literature

Advanced study of English Literature gives you the opportunity to read, study and share your opinions and enjoyment of not only the great works of the past but also novels, plays and poems which are being written right now, both tear-jerkers and side-splitters!

Awarding body: Pearson/Edexcel

Specification: 9ET0

How some of our sixth form students have described English Literature:

• I would recommend English to anyone who enjoys reading, writing and exploring the worlds which come out of a writer’s imagination.
• English is a good way to do something you love and call it work! The lessons are interesting and are very entertaining.
• The A Level style of teaching is very enjoyable as everyone is encouraged to make an input; you may not have realised before how much you can learn just from listening to other students.
• A Level goes far deeper below the surface of literature than the IGCSE.
• Do not take this A Level if you are not genuinely passionate about literature, but if you love books and don’t mind writing essays then English is the subject for you.
• In A Level English you get to study more interesting books, but you have to concentrate and read the books to do well and fully understand.

Studying English will help you to communicate more effectively in conversation and on paper, to improve your analytical and evaluative skills and to work and think with independence, providing you with an excellent foundation for success in any subject at university and any future career. Students buy their own texts so that they can annotate them.

The A Level course

Component 1 – Drama 30%
• One Shakespeare play and one other drama text
• Written examination, open book, lasting 2 hours 15 minutes
• Students answer one essay question on Shakespeare incorporating ideas from wider critical reading and one essay question on the other text.

Component 2 – Prose 20%
• Two prose texts from a chosen theme; at least one text should date from pre-1900
• Written examination, open book, lasting 1 hour 15 minutes
• Students answer one comparative essay question

Component 3 – Poetry 30%
• Poetic form, meaning and language, together with a selection of 21st century poetry, and poetry from a second period or a named poet
• Written examination, open book, lasting 2 hours 15 minutes
• Students compare an unseen poem with a studied 21st century poem as well as answering one essay question on their literary period/poet

Component 4 – Coursework 20%
• Two texts for study will be chosen by the teacher to suit the group
• Students write one essay of 2500-3000 words comparing their texts

The future

English Literature is a wonderful subject to offer if you are thinking of a career in the media, journalism, law, teaching or any future which relies on good communication skills. English Literature will stand you in good stead when applying for a vast range of degree courses; it gives evidence of the serious study of ideas and the power of the written word.

Preparatory work for studying English Literature in Sixth Form

Before the summer holidays at the end of Year 11, you will be given a reading list with details of the texts you will be studying in Lower Sixth. Reading these over the summer will give you a great start in your A Level course and mean you can participate fully in class discussion. As well as reading the set texts, we recommend that you:

• Read widely for pleasure – novels, plays and poetry – thinking about how stories are told and the way writers use language.
• Read other novels by the authors or your two prose texts to give you a wider understanding of their work.
• Watch film versions of your set texts, or see them at the theatre if you can, to help you think about the characters, settings and ideas being presented.

Although it’s impossible to provide a comprehensive reading list for English Literature, attached are some recommended novels that may help you find your way around a library or website when choosing what to read.


Prose Reading List for English Literature A Level

These are merely suggestions to help you get started – find authors and genres you love and enjoy their work. Don’t forget poetry and drama as well!

Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Purple Hibiscus, Americanah
Monica Ali – Brick Lane Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, The Blind Assassin
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility
Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre
Emily Brontë – Wuthering Heights
AS Byatt – Possession
Angela Carter – The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus
Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent The Heart of Darkness
Charles Dickens –  Great Expectations, Hard Times, Bleak House
Daphne Du Maurier – Rebecca
George Eliot – The Mill on The Floss, Middlemarch
Sebastian Faulks – Birdsong, Charlotte Gray
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night
E.M. Forster – A Room with a View, A Passage to India
Elizabeth Gaskell – North and South, Wives and Daughters
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera
Graham Greene – Brighton Rock
Thomas Hardy – Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
L.P. Hartley – The Go-Between
Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms
Khaled Hosseini – A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
Kazuo Ishiguro – The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go
James Joyce – Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners
D.H Lawrence – Sons and Lovers, Women in Love
Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
Andrea Levy – Small Island
Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall, Bring out the Bodies
Ian McEwan – Atonement, Enduring Love
Toni Morrison – Beloved
Iris Murdoch The Bell, The sea, the sea
George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four
Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
Annie Proulx – Postcards, The Shipping News
Jean Rhys – Wide Sargasso Sea
John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden
Bram Stoker – Dracula
Alice Walker – The Colour Purple Sarah Waters The Little Stranger
Jeanette Winterson – Oranges are not the only Fruit
Zadie Smith – White Teeth, NW, On Beauty
Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse

Non Fiction:
Anon – I Am The Secret Footballer
Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Allie Brosh – Hyperbole and a Half
Bill Bryson – The Lost Continent, Notes from a Small Island
Alan Bennett – Writing Home
Vera Brittain – Testament of Youth
Truman Capote – In Cold Blood
Jenny Diski – Skating to Antarctica
Margaret Forster – Hidden Lives Anna Funder Stasiland
Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
Robert Graves – Goodbye To All That
Stephen Grosz – The Examined Life
George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London
Alexander Masters – Stuart: A Life Backwards
Helen Macdonald – H is for Hawk
Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom
Solomon Northrop – Twelve Years a Slave
Jeannette Winterson – Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?
Xinran – What the Chinese Don’t Eat