Why study English Literature in the Sixth Form?
English Literature is a subject that is set to challenge your conceptions about society, history, and yourself. It is a subject that often brings out deeply personal responses, and affects the way we view our own experiences as well as the world around us. A-Level Literature seeks to expose you to authors form the canon of English Literature, like Shakespeare, to more unusual texts which can challenge your views on what art and literature can be like. There is an emphasis in the subject on developing a personal relationship with the texts and genres we study.
The A Level course requires that students study eight texts over two years - three of these from before 1900 (including one Shakespeare play), and one from post-2000.
Component 1: Drama (written examination, 30% of the total A Level)
We study two plays: one Shakespearian tragedy, Hamlet or Othello, and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Section A of the exam contains a question about the chosen Shakespeare play, which you must examine in the light of your wider critical reading.
In Section B you have a choice of two questions on your other chosen play; you are tested on your ability to analyse the text with insight and conceptualised literary knowledge.
Component 2: Prose (written examination, 20% of the total A Level)
We study two novels on the theme of the supernatural: A Picture of Dorian Grey, and The Little Stranger. Other potential themes for study include Childhood, Science and Society, Women and Society and Crime and Detection. The exam involves a comparative essay on your chosen theme.
Component 3: Poetry (written examination, 30% of the total A Level)
You study a range of poems from a 21st Century anthology, and from a particular period or poet (this year we are studying the Romantics)
In Section A of the exam you write an essay on an unseen modern poem.
In Section B you answer one question about their studied poet or period.
Component 4: Coursework (20% of the total A Level)
You have free choice in this unit (with our guidance) of two texts to cover in your assignment. You will write a 3000 word comparative essay on your chosen texts; the question is negotiated with their teacher. This is an opportunity for students to look into their own literary interests
English Literature has enjoyed a long tradition of happy students and successful results at Westonbirt, and we are proud of our reputation.
Mr Alex Mew
Head of English
GL8 8 QG
GL8 8 QG