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Advanced Higher English dissertation ideas! watch

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    Hi, I've recently started in 6th year and the teacher are already pushing us to think of ideas for a dissertation. I'm set on comparing 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell but apparently that's a bit cliché and the SQA are sick of it, so I have to find a different text to compare. I don't mind which one I keep but I can't think of any political novels similar to them without them being science related which I hate, i.e Brave New World by Huxley.

    If you can suggest any political novels which aren't scientific that would be great.

    thanks x
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    Why don't you try something more historical but also politics based, I was going to do advanced higher English and it clashed with my time table, but I was going to do it on the portrayal of the British aristocracy I had read pride and prejudice, remains of the day (I wasn't going to use it because it was too simple) and also the picture of Dorian gray. I also wanted to do it on how setting acted as a underlying narration to the moral of the story, I looked at a lot of Hemingway stuff for that. I also thought about colonialism, but in my opinion, that's a bit overdone. If your social issues you could address things like racial segregation. Speaking about it makes me a bit disappointed I didn't get to complete my dissertation haha 👎🏼
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    There are multiple other dissertation discussion threads if you want more ideas:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=4138407

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=4138513

    Dystopian novels do indeed tend to be overdone. (Although, do ones which are less often covered and it'll be fine e.g. : "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin (bit science-y maybe :erm: ), "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood (not too uncommon, but not as spoken about as Orwell), "The Sleeper Awakes" by HG Wells etc etc )

    Alternatives off the top of my head:
    - EM Forster wrote a lot of novels criticising social class in Edwardian England, and his later novel - A Passage to India - covers racism in British India.
    - Charles Dickens' novels tend to cover social issues of the Victorian era - with his contemporary, Elizabeth Gaskell, providing similar social criticism.
    - Austen of course is rife with disdain for the flippancy of the aristocracy, a particular contemporary of her I enjoy is Frances Burney - who offers a more comical deconstruction of society in her epistolary novel "Evelina"
    -See the second thread above if you'd be willing to discuss gender as a social issue

    The main modern writer who comes to mind is Bret Easton Ellis, but there are plenty of novels with social criticism in them out there.
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    Thank you both for your suggestions! I actually had a complete change of mind and decided to go down the social issues route. I thinking about doing To Kill a Mockingbird and how the issues in the novel impact on children. To compare it, I thought of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne but I'm not sure as it is a kids book even though it fits the topic well.

    Would you guys have any thoughts on other texts?
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    (Original post by MissK18)
    Thank you both for your suggestions! I actually had a complete change of mind and decided to go down the social issues route. I thinking about doing To Kill a Mockingbird and how the issues in the novel impact on children. To compare it, I thought of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne but I'm not sure as it is a kids book even though it fits the topic well.

    Would you guys have any thoughts on other texts?
    To Kill a Mockingbird is taught at Nat 5 so I'd maybe avoid that...
    A good novel that deals with racism (though not a child narrator) is Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man - works by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Zora Neale Hurston are also worth exploring.

    Non-Fiction wise:
    Maya Angelou's autobiography series may be another interesting avenue (first volumes deal with child narration.) Huey P. Newton (leader and co-founder of Black Panthers) also wrote an autobiography called Revolutionary Suicide.

    Boy in Striped Pyjamas really wouldn't be appropriate. A boy in my class the year just gone by wrote a dissertation on the death of a parent in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer (narrated by 9 year old) and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch . - may be worth looking in to?

    Emma Donoghue's Room is another novel worth looking into if you want to tackle child narrators specifically.
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    (Original post by JM_1998)
    To Kill a Mockingbird is taught at Nat 5 so I'd maybe avoid that...
    A good novel that deals with racism (though not a child narrator) is Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man - works by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston are also worth exploring.

    Non-Fiction wise:
    Maya Angelou's autobiography series may be another interesting avenue. Huey P. Newton (leader and co-founder of Black Panthers) also wrote an autobiography called Revolutionary Suicide.

    Boy in Striped Pyjamas really wouldn't be appropriate. A boy in my class the year just gone by wrote a dissertation on the death of a parent in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer (narrated by 9 year old) and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch . - may be worth looking in to?

    Emma Donoghue's Room is another novel worth looking into if you want to tackle child narrators specifically.
    I'm thinking about doing Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Apart from love what other themes do you think are common between both books?
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    (Original post by sameehaiqbal)
    I'm thinking about doing Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Apart from love what other themes do you think are common between both books?
    Ahhhhh the Bronte sisters are some of my favourite writers - Jane Eyre is the book that inspired my love for English 😍

    The main concern with doing these would be they aren't exactly uncommon texts, so if you're going to do them they need to be done very well as the marker will have most likely read many dissertations on them in previous years/ perhaps even in the year they mark yours and therefore comparisons will be inevitable. It may be worth looking into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, or Villette by Charlotte for a more unique twist. There is also Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys which is a novel from the perspective of Bertha Mason set while Rochester is in the colonies - although I believe that this and Jane Eyre is a fairly common pairing as well.

    Themes that come to mind are:
    - Romanticism (basically, love - as you said)
    - deconstructing the Romanticism (everyone in Wuthering Heights is a pretty awful person, and the argument can certainly be made that Rochester is only so charming because Jane herself is narrating the story)
    - A look at gender would also be possible, particularly how female characters are presented
    - Love in the form of Obsession
    - The Gothic
    - The presence and importance of Nature
    - Character development (Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman after all )
    - Social Class

    (these aren't mutually exclusive options btw, you could easily pick and match some together, or some could take smaller parts under the other - e.g an example title may be something like:
    "A Literary Study of The Transformative Impact of Love on the Character Development of Cathy Earnshaw and Jane Eyre in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte"
    And within it, it could also touch on the Gothic elements, Nature imagery and Obsession etc.)

    Hope that I helped 😅
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    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Ahhhhh the Bronte sisters are some of my favourite writers - Jane Eyre is the book that inspired my love for English 😍

    The main concern with doing these would be they aren't exactly uncommon texts, so if you're going to do them they need to be done very well as the marker will have most likely read many dissertations on them in previous years/ perhaps even in the year they mark yours and therefore comparisons will be inevitable. It may be worth looking into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, or Villette by Charlotte for a more unique twist. There is also Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys which is a novel from the perspective of Bertha Mason set while Rochester is in the colonies - although I believe that this and Jane Eyre is a fairly common pairing as well.

    Themes that come to mind are:
    - Romanticism (basically, love - as you said)
    - deconstructing the Romanticism (everyone in Wuthering Heights is a pretty awful person, and the argument can certainly be made that Rochester is only so charming because Jane herself is narrating the story)
    - A look at gender would also be possible, particularly how female characters are presented
    - Love in the form of Obsession
    - The Gothic
    - The presence and importance of Nature
    - Character development (Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman after all )
    - Social Class

    (these aren't mutually exclusive options btw, you could easily pick and match some together, or some could take smaller parts under the other - e.g an example title may be something like:
    "A Literary Study of The Transformative Impact of Love on the Character Development of Cathy Earnshaw and Jane Eyre in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte"
    And within it, it could also touch on the Gothic elements, Nature imagery and Obsession etc.)

    Hope that I helped 😅
    Awww wow thank you so much! Youve helped so much on giving me a head start and I know exactly what to do now. You're amazing! Thank you!!
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    I'm planning to use Despair by Wladimir Nabokov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky but I'm yet to decide a title
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    i was contemplating looking at how the use of second person perspective affects the theme/way we perceive the characters, with "if on a winters night a traveler" by italo calvino, the fall by albert camus & a man asleep georges perec, but im not sure how well that would work/if the books would be suitable as they're all quite short. Any help and book suggestions would be appreciated.
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    I'm thinking of doing The American Dream in New York in the start of the 20th century and using Gatsby and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn to compare the difference around the same time/area. Do you think this is a good idea, or too basic?
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    (Original post by Caecillius_99)
    I'm planning to use Despair by Wladimir Nabokov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky but I'm yet to decide a title
    I'm not really familiar with either text however I suppose the obvious choice would be an analysis of guilt? ( Something on the significance of narration would be good too )


    (Original post by Lucykay99)
    i was contemplating looking at how the use of second person perspective affects the theme/way we perceive the characters, with "if on a winters night a traveler" by italo calvino, the fall by albert camus & a man asleep georges perec, but im not sure how well that would work/if the books would be suitable as they're all quite short. Any help and book suggestions would be appreciated.
    The length of the books doesn't matter too much, it's the complexity that is important - writing a whole dissertation on 2nd person narration and how it affects the way we perceive characters may prove a tad repetitive however, perhaps take a theme as your jumping off point. Then under the theme you can discuss the 2nd person narration, and the reader's perception of characters. (I'm only saying this cause my friend did her dissertation based around colour symbolism and the analysis became quite repetitive because it was focused more on analysing a technique than a theme)

    (Original post by rebeccas23)
    I'm thinking of doing The American Dream in New York in the start of the 20th century and using Gatsby and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn to compare the difference around the same time/area. Do you think this is a good idea, or too basic?
    I'd substitute Gatsby for another book (it's taught a lot at Higher) - Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck perhaps? - or, The Color Purple by Alice Walker could be really interesting (since that and Tree Grows in Brooklyn deal with kids: the comparison of Northern White Childhood vs Southern Black Childhood could also be touched upon, as well as child narration.) I would also warn you not to turn it into a historical study, the theme of the American Dream would be important - however, you'd have to be careful it didn't turn into a "this happened in book X, because it is set in place Y, whereas in book Z, that happened as it is set in place Q - this shows the differing experiences of the American Dream." Focus on the analysis of the literary techniques in representing the differing American experiences, however, and you're on to a winner
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    can anyone give me ideas on what books I could link with clockwork orange.
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    Just finished Advanced Higher English this year so if anyone has any questions to ask feel free. With regards to your dissertation this is a great resource for helping to select texts:
    http://www.shetland-library.gov.uk/d...gbysubject.pdf
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    (Original post by lydiamartinxo)
    can anyone give me ideas on what books I could link with clockwork orange.
    I seen your Q about American Psycho in the other thread, and you could definitley use that and Clockwork Orange together - something to do with violence I assume (?)
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    (Original post by JM_1998)
    I'm not really familiar with either text however I suppose the obvious choice would be an analysis of guilt? ( Something on the significance of narration would be good too )




    The length of the books doesn't matter too much, it's the complexity that is important - writing a whole dissertation on 2nd person narration and how it affects the way we perceive characters may prove a tad repetitive however, perhaps take a theme as your jumping off point. Then under the theme you can discuss the 2nd person narration, and the reader's perception of characters. (I'm only saying this cause my friend did her dissertation based around colour symbolism and the analysis became quite repetitive because it was focused more on analysing a technique than a theme)



    I'd substitute Gatsby for another book (it's taught a lot at Higher) - Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck perhaps? - or, The Color Purple by Alice Walker could be really interesting (since that and Tree Grows in Brooklyn deal with kids: the comparison of Northern White Childhood vs Southern Black Childhood could also be touched upon, as well as child narration.) I would also warn you not to turn it into a historical study, the theme of the American Dream would be important - however, you'd have to be careful it didn't turn into a "this happened in book X, because it is set in place Y, whereas in book Z, that happened as it is set in place Q - this shows the differing experiences of the American Dream." Focus on the analysis of the literary techniques in representing the differing American experiences, however, and you're on to a winner

    ah thankyou!! i'm probably going with complicity by Banks, and bright lights big city by jay mcinery and the fall by Camus, and i'll definetly think of a theme and go with that and look at second person narrative under it, thankyou!
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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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    Hello!! I'm maybe a tad late to this, but thought I'd share my thoughts nonetheless.

    I'm planning on writing about female sexuality and views/portrayals of female sexuality in literature, focusing on The Bell Jar and another novel. My teacher suggested books like Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter and Beloved among others. It seemed that certain themes i.e. mental illness are highly overdone when it comes to The Bell Jar so I wanted to stray from that. If anyone has any other ideas for books/authors that I could look at alongside Plath it would be much appreciated !!
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    (Original post by asha.joanne)
    Hello!! I'm maybe a tad late to this, but thought I'd share my thoughts nonetheless.

    I'm planning on writing about female sexuality and views/portrayals of female sexuality in literature, focusing on The Bell Jar and another novel. My teacher suggested books like Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter and Beloved among others. It seemed that certain themes i.e. mental illness are highly overdone when it comes to The Bell Jar so I wanted to stray from that. If anyone has any other ideas for books/authors that I could look at alongside Plath it would be much appreciated !!
    Erica Jong's Fear of Flying would be my gut reaction recommendation for something focusing on female sexuality. (And it was written in the early 70s so it's roughly of the same time as the Bell Jar which may prove better than the anachronism a comparison with any of the more classic novels dealing with the theme, like Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina etc would result in)
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    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Erica Jong's Fear of Flying would be my gut reaction recommendation for something focusing on female sexuality. (And it was written in the early 70s so it's roughly of the same time as the Bell Jar which may prove better than the anachronism a comparison with any of the more classic novels dealing with the theme, like Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina etc would result in)
    My thoughts exactly- I was definitely drawn more to the likes of Beloved due to the time period it was written in. The classics are great and all, but they have their time and place. Thank you for the suggestion - I'll definitely look into it!
 
 
 
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