St. Mary's

English Literature

Is this course for me?

By choosing Literature, you will embark on exciting reading opportunities, exposing you to literature from a multitude of genres, forms and time periods. However, English Literature is not ‘just’ about reading books; it opens doors to a plethora of cultures, philosophies and emotions, allowing you to explore subjects beyond that which you expect to find in a literary classic.

Areas of Study

Unit 1: With an overarching theme of ‘Love Through the Ages’, you will develop your skills of language analysis to discover love, loss, suffering, grief and heartache. Across your two years of study, you will read and explore modern day literature as well as the classics. It will be an unforgettable journey as you explore your own, and others’ interpretations of these literary texts! Texts covered: Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’; AQA Poetry Anthology including John Donne, John Wilmot, Thomas Hardy, Andrew Marvell and Christina Rossetti. We also prepare you to respond to unseen poetry comparatively.

Unit 2: Modern Times: literature from 1945 to the present day; This unit opens up to themes of insanity, identity, gender and society, crime and morality. We explore Tennessee William’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’; Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Feminine Gospels’.

NEA: 20% Coursework – You will be given the opportunity to embark on a non-exam assessment independent study. You will choose two texts with a common theme (1 text must be pre-1900) and will explore and investigate your own topic focus. Some of the texts our students enjoy for this unit are: Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Charlotte-Perkins Gillman’s The Yellow Wallpaper.

Future Opportunities

Popular degree courses chosen by past students have included English Literature, Linguistics, Creative Writing and Drama . Students who have studied English Literature at A Level have gone on to a broad range of careers including teaching, journalism, marketing, law, psychology, business, politics, maths and medicine to name just a few! Please note: English A-Levels are widely accepted as an additional subject to sciences and maths for students who wish to go into health, veterinary care, and medicine. English is considered to be a traditional and wellrespected A-Level by Universities and can therefore act as a passport to a wide variety of non-related courses.