English Literature

Ideally suited to students who are committed to the study of literature (both past and present), the course allows students to share their views on a range of texts, including poetry, prose and drama.

You will be encouraged to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the social, cultural and historical contexts within which they are written, received and understood.

Therefore, if you enjoy reading literature from different periods; if you enjoy debating and challenging the interpretations of other readers; and if you enjoy writing and developing your own informed, personal responses, then this course is for you.

Method of assessment

A Level at the end of Year 13

Exam Paper 1 –Aspects of Tragedy: Poetry and Shakespeare (2 hours 30 mins, 40% A Level)

Exam Paper 2 – Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing 3 hours, 40% A Level)

A Level coursework:
Students write two short essays (1250 to 1500) each responding to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology which could include:
• Narrative theory
• Feminist Theory
• Eco-critical Theory
• Marxist Theory
• Post-colonial Theory
• Literary value and the Canon

Topic areas covered

Year 12 Aspects of Tragedy
Shakespearean Drama (King Lear or Othello)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Modern Drama (Death of a Salesman)

Year 13 Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Kite Runner
The Poetry of William Blake
Unseen Texts – social protest and political writing.

Wider reading

  • Other Shakespearean tragedies such as Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet.
  • American drama in the 1940s such as A Streetcar Named Desire, All My Sons or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
  • Social and Political Literature – A Thousand Splendid Suns, Fatherland, The Remains of the Day, The Underground Railroad, Never Let Me Go.

Revision guide(s)

A Level York Notes or Study and Revise Notes
A/AS Level English Literature B Student Book

Level: A Level

Board: AQA

Head of department:
Mr K Ferguson

Mrs P Slack (lead teacher)
Mrs C Baxter
Mrs D Caygill-Coombes
Mrs G Sweeney-Gibbs
Ms H Barrett-Duckett