Advanced Higher English Dissertation

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    So, I have to come up with two books for my dissertation and so far I have some ideas for what I could go for and they are below.

    1. The idea that one choice you make can impact your whole life. The books I was thinking of doing were: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks and On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan but we are not allowed to do McEwan so any advice on this topic as to what book I could do with it would be grand.

    2. Another idea was something to do with like mystery novels like Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs. But I'm not really sure as to what other books to pair it with as well as what "theme" to do.

    3. This one I saw on a previous post also about this topic and it actually struck my interest I'm just unsure if it would be any good. The conflict between religion and knowledge, the idea that faith in god is rooted in ignorance of truth - focussing on the Da Vinci Code and The Northern Lights.

    4. I have an idea for a Shakespeare-themed dissertation in terms of "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" and how the main characters cause their own downfall through a personal flaw.

    My very first choice is No 1 though I'm unsure if we are allowed to do Sparks and what I could pair it with so any advice/opinion would be appreciated as I have just over a week to choose a pair. Also, any other ideas will be just as appreciated. I also wanted to mention that English is my second language so it would be good if the texts weren't overly Scottish so that I will actually have be able to read the book(s). (I can't read Scottish texts nevermind understanding them)
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by caskett23)
    2. Another idea was something to do with like mystery novels like Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs. But I'm not really sure as to what other books to pair it with as well as what "theme" to do.
    An interesting one for this topic might be to compare a modern mystery novel with an older one and compare how the styles of writing mystery/thriller books has changed or stayed the same, especially if both books come from a series that focuses on a particular detective throughout. For instance, you could compare the new J.K Rowling crime books (the Comoran Strike series) to a novel from Agatha Christie's Proirot series. This would be especially interesting because they're both novels written by women that feature a male protagonist.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Unfortunately choices 1-3 just wouldn't be accepted due not being of high enough literary merit. Even if you managed to convince your teacher to let you do them the marker would view you dissertation as being "lesser" for using books which aren't literary enough. The books you've mentioned mostly fall under genre fiction (Sparks is Romance, Da Vinci Code a thriller, Northern Lights a children's book, and the mystery novels are, well, crime fiction.)

    The separation of these books into genre fiction from literary fiction is due to the former focusing significantly more on plot, and usually being written more geared towards becoming the next bestseller - whereas, literary fiction focuses much more on literary devices, innovations and is much more a piece of art than a product (although it tends to end up both) - if you get what I mean. (McEwan should be acceptable - I find it odd your teacher won't allow a Man Booker prize winning author but hey-ho.)

    One on Hamlet and Macbeth focusing on a fatal flaw would be completely acceptable, if a tad on the expected side of things. (Shakespeare is taught a lot for the literary study, and it won't be uncommon to find a question about a fatal flaw in your exam paper haha)

    From "choices that change a persons life" - I gather you're interested in character development, and how a character develops through decisions they make. Therefore, I'd recommend perhaps looking into some Bildungsroman novels, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is fantastic, as well as Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. More modern books include things such as The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. And, 20th century novels include Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, Native Son by Richard Wright etc etc

    For crime fiction, you'd probably get a bit of leeway with the Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - but I'd recommend looking into the sensation novels of the victorian era. Works by Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon specifically.

    A dissertation covering religion would have to be careful of not wandering into philosophical territories, remember it is the literary techniques that need to be focused on to gain a good mark - it's not what the author is saying, it's how they are saying it. I'd look into Graham Greene, and also John Steinbeck for religious novels. (not necessarily novels discussing a religious belief requiring lack of acknowledgement of fact)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Unfortunately choices 1-3 just wouldn't be accepted
    I had to give some ideas to the teacher on Monday and he said that the first one is alright to do and I just misunderstood the idea that you can't do McEwan, I didn't even had to convince him he looked at the titles and said 'Yeah'. I never showed him the rest of them because No 1 was my primary choice so...

    I'm not particularly fond of Dickens' novels, although I don't really know why, and I think that a good idea is to choose something that I enjoy otherwise it will be a chore. And I definitely don't like Victorian era as such.

    I was thinking of doing Shakespeare because I have never studied those two texts in particular although recently I was thinking of doing "The Tempest" with on of them but I don't know what it is about. Could anyone tell me?

    I think that my issue is that I mostly read like modern books rather than the older ones. Do you have any other ideas?

    ******

    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    An interesting one for this topic might be to compare a modern mystery novel with an older one and compare how the styles of writing mystery/thriller books has changed or stayed the same, especially if both books come from a series that focuses on a particular detective throughout..
    Would it still be arlight to Kathy Reichs but choose like th first book from the series and then a like a latest one, or would I for example take one from Reichs and another book from a different author that wrotee the book about 20 years earlier or something like that.

    *****

    Thank you all for feedback and any future responses. it is really hard to choose two books and I know I am quite picky when it comes to choosing books to read, so surry in advance.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Liking modern fiction isn't a problem at all - it's just finding literary fiction.
    I'm not sure if your teacher was drunk when he approved a Nicholas Sparks novel but I can only assume so.

    You have the McEwan approved, correct?
    If so I'd pair that with something other than Sparks. Irrespective of the era was penned in.

    The Tempest is about an usurped duke - turned Sorcerer who causes a storm which shipwrecks a number of people who caused his downfall on the island he has been residing on since his ousting from court. ( it's considered a Comedy generally speaking, though many attribute the more specific title of a Romance)

    As for your crime fiction angle, Kathy Reichs seems to belong in a sea of indistinguishable modern crime genre authors - I'd choose someone more generally recognised.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Liking modern fiction isn't a problem at all - it's just finding literary fiction.
    I'm not sure if your teacher was drunk when he approved a Nicholas Sparks novel but I can only assume so.

    You have the McEwan approved, correct?
    If so I'd pair that with something other than Sparks. Irrespective of the era was penned in.

    The Tempest is about an usurped duke - turned Sorcerer who causes a storm which shipwrecks a number of people who caused his downfall on the island he has been residing on since his ousting from court. ( it's considered a Comedy generally speaking, though many attribute the more specific title of a Romance)

    As for your crime fiction angle, Kathy Reichs seems to belong in a sea of indistinguishable modern crime genre authors - I'd choose someone more generally recognised.
    LOL :rofl:

    I completely agree. Nicholas Sparks is a big no-no. You can't really go deep with that novel if that makes sense.

    OP, I completely agree with your Shakespeare choice though. I think that's the best one out of your selection. I'm doing mine on books by the Bronte sisters, something you could look into if you like. Their books are FAB. You can also compare poems such as the selection by Carol Ann Duffy called "The Worlds Wife" - I love her poems. That was actually my second choice in case someone in the class picked Jane Eyre/Wuthering Heights but I would have to skip all the poems I did at Nat 5/Higher i.e Originally, War Photographer, etc. SQA also have a huge list on topics you can consider by past candidates which definitely helped me in picking my topic. You could also ask your teachers on topics done by last years candidates and get some inspiration.

    But I would definitely listen to JM_1998's advice though, he is SMART, lol. Good luck! I'm so excited to start my dissertation
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Liking modern fiction isn't a problem at all - it's just finding literary fiction.
    I'm not sure if your teacher was drunk when he approved a Nicholas Sparks novel but I can only assume so.
    He might not have noticed who was it by the authors name just like everything else was quite small so... and it was reasonably dark...

    (Original post by JM_1998)
    You have the McEwan approved, correct?
    If so I'd pair that with something other than Sparks. Irrespective of the era was penned in.

    As for your crime fiction angle, Kathy Reichs seems to belong in a sea of indistinguishable modern crime genre authors - I'd choose someone more generally recognized.
    I'm thinking of getting about 4 books (I don't have a life over summer) so that in a case that I don't like one or both books I have a backup since still pursuing bunch of ideas rather than just one.
    But anyway...
    What authors/books would you recommend for the 'choices that change a person's life' part because I am having trouble thinking of one? I like the idea of McEwans book "On Chesil Beach" but don't know of any other books that would b good for a dissertation.


    As for mystery/thriller books would "The Lake of Dead Languages" by Carol Goodman and "Watch Me Disappear" by Jill Dowson in terms of the idea that the narrator is always keeping something from us, that what they tell us is not the whole story. The latter title was on the list that the teacher gave the whole class so I assume that one is fine but it's more about the first one.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sameehaiqbal)
    OP, I completely agree with your Shakespeare choice though. I think that's the best one out of your selection. I'm doing mine on books by the Bronte sisters, something you could look into if you like. Their books are FAB. You can also compare poems such as the selection by Carol Ann Duffy called "The Worlds Wife" - I love her poems. That was actually my second choice in case someone in the class picked Jane Eyre/Wuthering Heights but I would have to skip all the poems I did at Nat 5/Higher i.e Originally, War Photographer, etc.
    I have problem deciding if I want to do Shakespeare because my english is not the best and I read Romeo and Juliet for English last year and it was hard enough to understand it but at the same time I know there are translated versions as well as you can get those versions where it gives you definitions of some words throughout so... Howevr it is going to be most likely my backup to what ever else I choose.

    As for Carol Ann Duffy, I also love her poems especially "War Photographer" and "Havisham" but I never realised we are allowed to do poetry for it until like a few days ago so I neveer focused on that rather on books.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by caskett23)
    He might not have noticed who was it by the authors name just like everything else was quite small so... and it was reasonably dark...



    I'm thinking of getting about 4 books (I don't have a life over summer) so that in a case that I don't like one or both books I have a backup since still pursuing bunch of ideas rather than just one.
    But anyway...
    What authors/books would you recommend for the 'choices that change a person's life' part because I am having trouble thinking of one? I like the idea of McEwans book "On Chesil Beach" but don't know of any other books that would b good for a dissertation.


    As for mystery/thriller books would "The Lake of Dead Languages" by Carol Goodman and "Watch Me Disappear" by Jill Dowson in terms of the idea that the narrator is always keeping something from us, that what they tell us is not the whole story. The latter title was on the list that the teacher gave the whole class so I assume that one is fine but it's more about the first one.
    The theme is quite narrow and plot focused, as I said before perhaps look at some Bildungsromans. Most books I read tend to have quite complicated plots so I can't think of any that hinge on singular choices but the aforementioned genre are all books that focus on a character's development. Okay after some research I've seen some reviews compare the McEwan with Everyman by Philip Roth - may be worth looking into.

    I haven't heard of either of the thrillers. However, if you wanted to do an unreliable narrator there are plentyyyyy of novels. Turn of the Screw by Henry James for something more classic. Although, one of my favourite authors is Shirley Jackson, and I very nearly did my dissertation last year on her use of unreliable narration in We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. (She wrote around the 1950s and early 60s so not too old.)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JM_1998)
    Turn of the Screw by Henry James for something more classic. Although, one of my favourite authors is Shirley Jackson, and I very nearly did my dissertation last year on her use of unreliable narration in We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. (She wrote around the 1950s and early 60s so not too old.)
    So sorry I am answering so late but I was actually looking at the books and read some of the samples but I don't think those are the books that I could read willingly.
    See I was thinking maybe you know of any mystery books (I love those) where the narrator is unreliable or unwilling to share all the details and hides most important (or less important) information so I could do "Watch Me Disapear" as it is a book I wanted to do from the very start. Back when I didn't know much about this dissertation I was thinking of doing Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard as the characters in those books have a lot of secrets and they don't want to share and you don't really know what those secrets are and so on... but now I know I can't do it.
    OR
    I was also recently thinking of doing the style of narration by combining "Lovely Bones" with another book however as you can see I also have no idea about that kind of book.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by caskett23)
    So sorry I am answering so late but I was actually looking at the books and read some of the samples but I don't think those are the books that I could read willingly.
    See I was thinking maybe you know of any mystery books (I love those) where the narrator is unreliable or unwilling to share all the details and hides most important (or less important) information so I could do "Watch Me Disapear" as it is a book I wanted to do from the very start. Back when I didn't know much about this dissertation I was thinking of doing Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard as the characters in those books have a lot of secrets and they don't want to share and you don't really know what those secrets are and so on... but now I know I can't do it.
    OR
    I was also recently thinking of doing the style of narration by combining "Lovely Bones" with another book however as you can see I also have no idea about that kind of book.
    Unfortunately, you may have to read some books unwillingly. Watch Me Disappear would probably be okay to do I imagine, as will The Lovely Bones - however, markers will still look at them as "meh" choices. To play it safe, I'd recommend doing classics, but if you're desperate for modern fiction find some books that are Man Booker or Orange Prize nominated/winners.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi, i'm a bit late to the party but i've changed my topic god knows how many times and at the minute i'm comparing complicity and the crow road by iain banks, but would preferably like to find something else similar i can compare a banks novel to,
    i like the idea of doing some contemporary scottish literature but i'm stuck for ideas, help would be much appreciated!!
 
 
 
Write a reply… Reply
Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: September 19, 2016
TSR Support Team
Poll
Which is the best season?
Useful resources

Make your revision easier

OMAM

Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.

Notes

Revision Hub

All our revision materials in one place

Love books

Common grammar and vocabulary problems

Get your questions asked and answered

Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.