placeholdermail call translatesearchinfoarrow
Staff Login Governance Login
School Logo


Sixth Form

Part of the Avonreach Academy Trust

English Literature

English Literature

ENGLISH LITERATURE (AQA – specification B)


reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.


This course encourages students to develop an interest in, and enjoyment of, English Literature through reading widely, discussing critically, and writing analytically and accurately.




Study of three texts: one poetry and one prose text (Gatsby), of which one must be written pre-1900, and one Shakespeare play (Othello). The examination will include two unseen poems.




  • written exam: 3 hours
  • open book in Section C only
  • 75 marks
  • 40% of A-level




Section A: Shakespeare (Othello) - one passage-based question with linked essay (25 marks)


Section B: Unseen poetry - compulsory essay question comparing/contrasting two unseen poems (25 marks)


Section C: Comparing texts (Gatsby and anthology poems) - one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)



PAPER 2: Modern Times


Section A: Essay on Streetcar Named Desire with a choice of two questions


Section B: Prose and Poetry Contextual Linking (Comparing The Handmaid’s Tale with Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy)


Examination will include an unseen prose extract.




  • written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • open book
  • 75 marks
  • 40% of A-level 


Section A: Set texts. One essay question on set text (25 marks)

Section B: Contextual linking one compulsory question on an unseen extract (25 marks)

and one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)






Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900.


One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography.




  • 50 marks
  • 20% of A-level
  • assessed by teachers
  • moderated by AQA



Past titles have included:


  • How do the authorial methods of Shelley and Berkoff illustrate the change in the presentation of self-worth over time. (Frankenstein & The Metamorphosis)
  • Compare and contrast the portrayal of a mental and physical journey and the question of morality in Heart of Darkness and The Road.
  • It has been said that ‘power always leads to destruction’. Compare and contrast the presentation of power through authorial methods in The Collector and a selection of Browning’s poetry.


A facilitating subject


The skills you will be developing as a critical reader underpin many other subjects, particularly Humanities and Languages. Although English Literature has obvious links with History, Philosophy and Ethics and Languages, many students studying Mathematics and Science have found this subject extremely beneficial and discover that it provides an excellent combination, one which is highly regarded by universities.




We have a strong tradition of students going on to a degree in English, the passport to many exciting career opportunities in areas such as the media, advertising, law, consultancy, journalism, publishing and teaching.


Beyond the classroom


In order to immerse themselves fully in this subject, you should enjoy what is on offer both in and beyond the classroom. The English Department prides itself in providing many extra‚Äźcurricular opportunities and have a diverse programme of events in place, ranging from conferences to theatre trips to lectures.


You will need to have achieved at least a G6 in both English and English Literature at GCSE.


For further details please contact Alex Hodson