Advanced English Dissertation Watch

Caitlinxxmurphy
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Hi. I've just started my sixth year at school and started my advanced higher English course. I'm already baffled by it. I feel so inferior to the others in the class as they all read for enjoyment regularly(which I don't) I have to choose two tests to write my dissertation on and I'm struggling. I like the idea of the American Dream in the great gatsby and of mice and men. But also the bond and dependency between characters in of mice and men and the cone gatherers.
Any suggestions or comments would be great!
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JM_1998
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I just finished the course, predicted an A1 and I'm going onto study English Lit at uni so I figure'd I'd try and give some advice ( hopefully you find it useful! :lol: )

I'd avoid the texts you've named as they're regularly taught at Higher and Nat 5. Don't feel too concerned about not reading much out of class - while a familiarity with the literary canon is advantageous, it is far from a requirement. (And I wouldn't be surprised if the books they are reading for enjoyment are of low literary merit - one girl in my class the year just gone by there wanted to do hers on the HP series. She did not finish the course :lol: )

My diss. was titled: "Facing the Tides of Time: A comparative study of the literary techniques Virginia Woolf employs to examine the impact of time on the human consciousness and identity in Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse" - which sounds complicated, and it was 😆; however, others in my class did analysis of colours in short stories, marriage in Austen, motherhood in Brecht, the theme of colonialism, and for a while I considered doing mine on homosexuality or unreliable narrators before settling on the above.

If you like Gatsby you could look at Fitzgerald's other works, and compare his depiction of his and Zelda's relationship with her sole novel "Save Me The Waltz." As for Steinbeck's more substantial works, there's The Grapes of Wrath, as well as East of Eden. I'd recommend you pin down a theme that interests you first (not necessarily a theme you have found in a piece of literature!) - what interests you in society? - or in other media etc? If you come up w/ anything I'm willing to help re: book recommendations
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Caitlinxxmurphy
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(Original post by JM_1998)
I just finished the course, predicted an A1 and I'm going onto study English Lit at uni so I figure'd I'd try and give some advice ( hopefully you find it useful! :lol: )

I'd avoid the texts you've named as they're regularly taught at Higher and Nat 5. Don't feel too concerned about not reading much out of class - while a familiarity with the literary canon is advantageous, it is far from a requirement. (And I wouldn't be surprised if the books they are reading for enjoyment are of low literary merit - one girl in my class the year just gone by there wanted to do her's on the HP series. She did not finish the course :lol: )

My diss. was titled: "Facing the Tides of Time: A comparative study of the literary techniques Virginia Woolf employs to examine the impact of time on the human consciousness and identity in Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse" - which sounds complicated, and it was 😆; however, others in my class did analysis of colours in short stories, marriage in Austen, motherhood in Brecht, the theme of colonialism, and for a while I considered doing mine on homosexuality or unreliable narrators before settling on the above.

If you like Gatsby you could look at Fitzgerald's other works, and compare his depiction of his and Zelda's relationship with her sole novel "Save Me The Waltz." As for Steinbeck's more substantial works, there's The Grapes of Wrath, as well as East of Eden. I'd recommend you pin down a theme that interests you first (not necessarily a theme you have found in a piece of literature!) - what interests you in society? - or in other media etc? If you come up w/ anything I'm willing to help re: book recommendations


That was very informative and helpful, thank you. I'll let you know what I come up with ☺️
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Lucykay99
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Not exactly related but I'm also picking texts for my adv English dissertation and was thinking along the lines of the idea of personal freedom vs social duty/tradition but I'm struggling to find books with this theme, and was wondering if anyone could help? I was considering using the gormenghast trilogy as one but I'm stuck for others, help would be appreciated!
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JM_1998
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(Original post by Lucykay99)
Not exactly related but I'm also picking texts for my adv English dissertation and was thinking along the lines of the idea of personal freedom vs social duty/tradition but I'm struggling to find books with this theme, and was wondering if anyone could help? I was considering using the gormenghast trilogy as one but I'm stuck for others, help would be appreciated!
Gormenghast would be interesting, although be aware you'd have to compress that behemoth into 3000 words - with an equal weighting between that and your other text.

Favourite texts of mine that come to mind immediately with regards to that theme include:
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin
- Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence (this comes with an 18+ rating though I suppose haha)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- E.M Forster's works
- Jane Austen's works (and her contemporaries, e.g Frances Burney)
- Virginia Woolf's works
- Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
(though the primary social expectations that are ignored for personal freedom in these tend to derive from the issue of marriage)

Although it's a super broad theme and you will most likely be able to find some traces of it in almost every novel that deals with personal identity. (It's rarely a primary concern in novels, but most will have some sort of undercurrent of what society is expecting vs what the protagonist wants to do running through them.)
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lydiamartinxo
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Would american psycho be appropriate ?
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Am1239
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Hi all,
I'm thinking of using The Outsider by Albert Camus for my dissertation with a focus on the theme of the absurd and alienation. I was thinking of linking it with The Trial by Kafka. However I'm not too sure, does anyone have any ideas of other novels which could fit well with The Outsider. I had also considered Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky bringing in the theme of guilt although I'm quite unsure about it all at the moment. Any thoughts?
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JM_1998
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(Original post by Am1239)
Hi all,
I'm thinking of using The Outsider by Albert Camus for my dissertation with a focus on the theme of the absurd and alienation. I was thinking of linking it with The Trial by Kafka. However I'm not too sure, does anyone have any ideas of other novels which could fit well with The Outsider. I had also considered Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky bringing in the theme of guilt although I'm quite unsure about it all at the moment. Any thoughts?
Anything by Kafka would work tbh, all of his writing explores the theme of isolation - I personally would avoid Crime and Punishment, simply because it's a big a*s Russian novel and you only get 3000 words to write your dissertation (it's a completely reasonable choice though!) -a shorter piece that Dostoyevsky wrote is "Notes from Underground" which is all about this man who is essentially completely out of the loop of human society and doesn't seem totally sane, so you could look into that.
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Am1239
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Thank you for your advice and yes that was my concern with crime and punishment. I have read "Notes from Underground" a while back actually but hadn't thought it about it for my dissertation. It could work quite well, thanks for your advice and suggestions
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