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English Literature

Year 7

Year 8

GCSE

The course encourages students to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking across the English literary heritage.  Students will read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading.  

Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Studying GCSE English Literature should encourage students to read widely for pleasure.  

Assessments
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (1 hour 45 minutes) 

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (2 hours 15 minutes)

Progression
Studying GCSE English Literature should encourage students to read widely for pleasure, and as a preparation for studying literature at a higher level.

English Literature Course Content

  • Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.
  • The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.
  • Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on ‘An Inspector Calls’. 
  • Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
  • Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.  They should be able to analyse and compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel 
Section A: Shakespeare (Romeo and Julie, Macbeth, or The Merchant of Venice) 
Students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B: The 19th-century novel (A Christmas Carol, Frankenstein or The Sign of The Four) 
Students will answer one question on their novel. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry 
Section A: Modern texts
Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on ‘An Inspector Calls’.

Section B: Poetry
Students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C: Unseen Poetry: Students will answer one question, one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

A Level

English Literature is an exciting subject which should appeal to anyone who likes reading, writing and language. During the course a variety of books will be read covering the genres of poetry, plays and novels. These texts will be read for enjoyment and then subjected to intensive questioning and analysis. The course places particular emphasis on the consideration of genre and narrative in literary study: so students will look at story-telling in novels and poems, the dramatic genre of tragedy and pastoral literature. In the process, students’ writing and analytical skills will develop and they will be encouraged to think and express themselves creatively and with originality.

Coursework/Examination Requirement

80% examination and 20% coursework.

The College expects students to have

Grade 6 or above in English Literature and Grade 5 or above in English Language.

Progression

English is one of the most popular subjects studied at university and the ability to write clearly and fluently is essential in many areas of employment. Specific careers could include journalism, publishing, marketing, script-writing, performing arts, teaching and law.

Course Content

Unit 1: Drama

Component 1: Drama. Set texts: ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ and one Shakespeare play.

Students will study aspects of the form of drama via two plays. The central focus of the drama study is the literary text.

Students will need to explore the use of literary and dramatic devices and the shaping of meanings in their chosen plays.

Students study a tragedy or comedy drama by Shakespeare and another tragedy or comedy drama.

Unit 2: Prose

Compare two prose texts, one pre 1900 and one post 1900

Students will study aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts, at least one of which must be pre-1900. Literary study of both texts selected for this component should incorporate the links and connections between them, and the contexts in which they were written and received.

Unit 3: Poetry

Set texts: ‘Poems of the Decade’ and a poetry collection e.g. Victorian poetry.

Students will study a selection of poems from two published poetry texts. They will consider the concerns and choices of modern-day poets in a selection of contemporary poems. Students will apply their knowledge of poetic form, content and meaning, and develop their skills in comparing an unseen poem with an example of studied poetry. Students will also develop depth of knowledge about poetic style by studying a selection from the work of a single named poet, or a selection from within a literary period or movement. Literary study of the chosen set poems should be enhanced by study of the contexts in which they were written and received.

Unit 4: Coursework

Free choice of two texts linked by theme, author, movement or period.

The Literary study of both texts should be enhanced by study of the links and connections between them, different interpretations and the contexts in which they were written and received.

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