Welcome to Bishop Challoner Catholic College


A Level

English Literature is a fantastic subject for those who love reading, who enjoy debate and discussion and who want the opportunity to expand their horizons.

We currently study Edexcel's A Level specification, which will allow you to study a range of texts across different genres, time periods and literary forms. On the course, you will study one of the most famous novels of all time, namely ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker. You will compare this to ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize when it was published in 2009.  You will also read a range of modern poetry and a selection of poems by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. In addition, you will study 'Othello', which is considered by many to be one of William Shakespeare's finest tragiedies and the twentieth-century American play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, which received rave reviews when it was performed in London recently. Finally, you will complete a piece of coursework on 'The Great Gatsby' and a comparative text of your own choice,

English Literature is the most popular A-Level at Bishop Challoner.  Currently, there are over one hundred students studying the subject in Years 12 and 13.

We teach with the approach that there is no ‘right’ answer. You will be encouraged to develop your opinions and bring your personal experiences to bear on the class reading. We will study skills of expression, argument and analysis.  The department are always on the look out for opportunities to visit the theatre.  Please let us know if you spot a play advertised that is worth watching.

How will I be assessed at A Level?

A Level English Literature is assessed by three examinations (worth 80%) and on one coursework essay (worth 20%)

Paper 1: Drama (2 hours, 15 minutes - 30%)

You will study two plays in the tragedy genre.  Section A: ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare

Section B: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams

Paper 2: Prose (1 hour 15 minutes- 20%)

You will compare two novels from the supernatural genre. 

Pre 1900: ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

Post 1900: ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters

Paper 3: Poetry (2 hours, 15 minutes - 30%)

Section A: Post 2000 Poetry

You will study 20 modern poems and will have to compare one of these poems to an unseen poem.

Section B: Pre 1900 Poetry

You will study a range of poetry by the Victorian poet, Christina Rossetti.

Coursework: (20%)

You will compare a theme in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s perennially popular ‘The Great Gatsby’ with a novel of your choice.  This could be as wide ranging as Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ or Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’.  The choice is yours!