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English Literature

Introduction

Understanding and enjoying a wide range of literature will offer students a source of pleasure for the rest of their lives. This course offers the chance to come into contact with a variety of literature as well as a qualification which can be the foundation for further study or the basis of a profession. This course has proved to be very popular with students at Lytchett.

This is an exciting and challenging course. In addition to the set texts, students are encouraged to pursue a personal reading programme in order to develop an understanding and appreciation of different literary genres and techniques. If you don’t enjoy reading, this isn’t for you. The department also organises a variety of theatre visits, conferences and seminars to stimulate students’ interest and broaden their awareness.

Summary of course content

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There are six core set texts, studied over the course of the two years. Students will study a mixture of prose, poetry and drama texts, including Othello (Shakespeare), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), the AQA pre-1900 poetry anthology, A Streetcar Named Desire (Williams), The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood) and the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy.

Assessment

80% examination, 20% coursework.

How the course differs from GCSE

The course is different from GCSE English Literature in several ways. Generally, the groups are smaller and a great number of the lessons will rely on discussion; this will mean that students will not only have to speak up and give their views but, from time to time, they will need to give presentations to the rest of the group on particular scenes or chapters from their set texts. Therefore it is really important that they seek to enjoy the set books and become as involved as possible in discussion, as this will not only help them but everyone in the group. The course also looks far more at writers’ techniques. Students should be aware that the set texts are challenging and that some elements of the examination are ‘closed text’ (Shakespeare).

Methods of working and skills acquired

Some of these have already been emphasised. Students must see their presence on the course as a positive choice and an opportunity to gain valuable skills and insight. They should expect to acquire improved literary skills, the ability to argue in written and spoken form, and a lasting enjoyment of reading. Students will have to read by themselves and be ready to present ideas.

Where the course leads

Many of our past students have studied English at university and this A Level course provides a sound basis for further study of all English courses.

The skills developed during the course, particularly those of communication, formulating and developing ideas, analysis and debating a point of view are a solid basis for a wide variety of courses and careers; these include law, teaching, journalism, personnel, marketing, advertising and management.

Special entry requirements

Students should enjoy reading and, more importantly, be willing to extend the breadth of their reading to whole new areas of literature. A willingness to take part in discussions is essential as these will form the basis of most lessons. Most of all, students should be determined to gain much more than simply a qualification from this course.

Students should normally have obtained at least a grade 6 at GCSE in both English Language and English Literature.

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