What would be two good books to compare for A level English Coursework? Watch

Beth26
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I'm starting year 13 English Literature soon, which means we begin our coursework almost immediately. For our coursework we have to pick two books of our choosing to compare, and when I say any books I mean we can literally pick any ones we choose! However, I'm a little unsure as to what to focus on when compare the two; should I do the same author or theme or genre?
If anybody who has done or is doing the same as I am and has any good advice it would be great! Thanks
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Pokémontrainer
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(Original post by Beth26)
I'm starting year 13 English Literature soon, which means we begin our coursework almost immediately. For our coursework we have to pick two books of our choosing to compare, and when I say any books I mean we can literally pick any ones we choose! However, I'm a little unsure as to what to focus on when compare the two; should I do the same author or theme or genre?
If anybody who has done or is doing the same as I am and has any good advice it would be great! Thanks
What exam board and specification are you on?

I'd recommend doing ones that correlate in terms of theme and genre, so you can write a comparative essay.
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Beth26
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(Original post by Pokémontrainer)
What exam board and specification are you on?

I'd recommend doing ones that correlate in terms of theme and genre, so you can write a comparative essay.
We're with Edexcel exam board, not sure about the specification.
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Pokémontrainer
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(Original post by Beth26)
We're with Edexcel exam board, not sure about the specification.
I recommend picking books that explore similar themes. To illustrate this, if you wanted to go with a dystopian novel, any combination of the following should make for a good comparative piece: The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or Brave New World. Similarly, if you wanted to go with classic romantic novels: Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, or any other book that would fit in well.
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Remaine
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I'm in the same position, and I can't help you here, as it's something I've not thought of.
Teacher said we can offer suggestions - I won't be doing so.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by Pokémontrainer)
I recommend picking books that explore similar themes. To illustrate this, if you wanted to go with a dystopian novel, any combination of the following should make for a good comparative piece: The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or Brave New World. Similarly, if you wanted to go with classic romantic novels: Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, or any other book that would fit in well.
Definitely appreciate you helping, however you are wrong.

Dystopian novels is a literary genre, not a theme. A theme within a dystopian novel would be something like government control or unequal rights that presented in a certain way i.e through characters, setting, gender, etc.

Again, [classic] romantic novels is a literary genre not a theme. A theme within a classic romantic novel usually tends to be about social class, love and marriage and its obstacles, etc.

Hope you can distinguish the difference now.
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Pokémontrainer
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
Definitely appreciate you helping, however you are wrong.

Dystopian novels is a literary genre, not a theme. A theme within a dystopian novel would be something like government control or unequal rights that presented in a certain way i.e through characters, setting, gender, etc.

Again, [classic] romantic novels is a literary genre not a theme. A theme within a classic romantic novel usually tends to be about social class, love and marriage and its obstacles, etc.

Hope you can distinguish the difference now.
I did mean theme or genre, I think I said that in my previous post - just stupidly forgot to mention that I meant genre in that particular post.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by Beth26)
I'm starting year 13 English Literature soon, which means we begin our coursework almost immediately. For our coursework we have to pick two books of our choosing to compare, and when I say any books I mean we can literally pick any ones we choose! However, I'm a little unsure as to what to focus on when compare the two; should I do the same author or theme or genre?
If anybody who has done or is doing the same as I am and has any good advice it would be great! Thanks
Well remember you can do whatever you want to do which is exciting and daunting at the same time.

I would personally start what genre best suits you. Are you more inclined to study two prose texts, or do you like drama or poetry? Have you thought about a cross-genre analysis. For instance, prose and drama combination is often the most popular since drama is usually shorter to analyse. I probably recommend this as two prose (if they are big novels) you'd have too much to talk about. But with one prose and one drama, you can definitely shorten your approach.

Once you figure out which genre you want to go for, that's when you can pick your focus.

You can do whatever you like. If you want to go with theme just think of what themes in literature are interesting to you. Do you like corruption of morality (transgressive literature [I based my coursework on this]), complications of marriage and love, the political tensions of social class, conflict between race and ethnicity, the representations of gender and sexuality, etc?

For genre you can have things like the Gothics, the Supernatural, Post-colonial, Dystopian, Romantic Novel, Fin-de-siecle, Children's Literature, Transatlantic literature, etc. Genre isn't just whether it's a form of writing, but usually genre is confounded to a particular cannon of literature.

An author study would be good. But you would need a lot of contextual stuff surrounding the author. A good author would be Scott. F. Fitzgerald or Evelyn Waugh. If you choose this, this means you have to relate the author's work to their own personal life an dhow their own writing is a reflection of their own struggles and life. Which is why you need to have a lot of detail about their own life. Shakespeare for example, would not be a good one since little is known about him. There's about 10 facts about him and that's about it.

Let me know if you need more help. I'm a Lit uni student and I tutor A-level students.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by Remaine)
I'm in the same position, and I can't help you here, as it's something I've not thought of.
Teacher said we can offer suggestions - I won't be doing so.
Do you need help with some coursework suggestions/text pairings?
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Remaine
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It would absolutely be nice to see, if you've the time.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by Remaine)
It would absolutely be nice to see, if you've the time.
Well read my advice up above and then tell me what you're most likely inclined to chose in terms of genre pairings and then theme pairings. If you don't know think about:

1) What do you most likely like analysing (prose, drama, poetry, non-fiction?)
2) What kind of texts do you read outside of class?
3) Any particular authors you wanted to study or read but never had the chance
4) Any particular time period you find interesting

Consider some, if not all these questions and you should most definitely have a concise view of things.
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Kitta
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I did, for aqa i want to put out there, how Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings present the themes of good and evil in the fantasy genre. It worked really well as george likes to show that its not as clear as it seems whereas Tolkien has it clear cut. If you show how, and its implications it's impossible to go wrong. I got 28/30 on it so you know it's definitely a good one!
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lucyharbron
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I did mine comparing the work of two different love poets (Duffy & Cohen), comparing the effectiveness and differences in their techniques. I think poetry coursework is really good as it's easier to find specific parts of analyse in a poem than in full novels!
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livgraham99
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I am starting year 13 now, and for my coursework we need to study a novel relating to any approaches we can criticise with the critical anthology (e.g. narrative structure/feminism/marxism/ecocritical/post-colonial ways of reading.) Any ideas of novels which would suit any of these? They usually have to be acclaimed and have won prizes/awards. I am thinking of 'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson at the moment, but I am desperate for other suggestions too!
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by livgraham99)
I am starting year 13 now, and for my coursework we need to study a novel relating to any approaches we can criticise with the critical anthology (e.g. narrative structure/feminism/marxism/ecocritical/post-colonial ways of reading.) Any ideas of novels which would suit any of these? They usually have to be acclaimed and have won prizes/awards. I am thinking of 'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson at the moment, but I am desperate for other suggestions too!

Who's Kate Atkinson? ive actually just finished a module on critical theory at uni so i could be of use to you!

Narrative structure (anything to do wit the past/present or dreams/stream of consciousness is a good fit [a lost of moderist writers like james joyce or virginia woolf]) --
Ian McEwan - Enduring Love, The Children Act, Atonement, Cement
LP Hartley - The Go-Between
John Fowles - The French Lieutenants Woman
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

Feminism --
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaids Tale
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall

Marxism (you could do any social novel) --
Jane Eyre
Handmaids Tale
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
1984, Animal Farm - George Orwell
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
One Flee Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Ecocritical --
Brokeback Mountain - Annie Proulx
Anything by Thomas Hardy

Postcolonial --
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
A Passage to India - EM Forster
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
The Kite Runner - Kaled Hosseini
The Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Of course there are many more. So just type in the theory, followed by "novels".
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livgraham99
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
Who's Kate Atkinson? ive actually just finished a module on critical theory at uni so i could be of use to you!

Narrative structure (anything to do wit the past/present or dreams/stream of consciousness is a good fit [a lost of moderist writers like james joyce or virginia woolf]) --
Ian McEwan - Enduring Love, The Children Act, Atonement, Cement
LP Hartley - The Go-Between
John Fowles - The French Lieutenants Woman
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

Feminism --
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaids Tale
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall

Marxism (you could do any social novel) --
Jane Eyre
Handmaids Tale
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
1984, Animal Farm - George Orwell
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
One Flee Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Ecocritical --
Brokeback Mountain - Annie Proulx
Anything by Thomas Hardy

Postcolonial --
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
A Passage to India - EM Forster
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
The Kite Runner - Kaled Hosseini
The Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Of course there are many more. So just type in the theory, followed by "novels".

Thank you so much, that list has helped so much, I'll research those books!
Kate Atkinson wrote Life After Life, and I would strongly recommend it, it is a great book!
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MehrAhmad
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Hi Guys, I am starting to research novels and plays etc for my coursework and I am interested in firstly doing the theme of marriage. I started to read Jane Eyre and I really enjoyed it. I was wondering if anyone could point out any 20th-century novels that I could compare this theme with Jane Eyre. I also enjoyed Tess of the D'Ubervilles and again I am stuck on the second book I could compare it with. Any suggestions?
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