ideas for EPQ (English Literature)

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purple_cloud
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#1
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#1
Hey
I'm going to be doing an EPQ next year but I have no idea what I should do it on.
I am planning on doing English Literature at university and I'm interested in Japanese culture (if that helps any).
I'd be grateful for any ideas x
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returnmigrant
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#2
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The choose something relevant like ..... 1) how Japanese literature/poetry reflected historical events - ie. WW2, relationship with China, contact with Western colonialism, or 2) How is geisha (or any other Japanese cultural tradition) represented in western literature, or 3) any aspects of modern Japanese culture/life that intrigues you.

Helpful books (no need to buy them - get them through inter-library loans from your local library, or look online at ebay or oxfam books etc for cheap copies) :

Anthology of Japanese modern literature : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Japa...dp/0802150950/

Japanese culture : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Japanese-Mi...dp/0804832951/

WW2/Atomic bomb/Literature - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Gro...dp/0226811786/
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Flocoa
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Hi! I did an EPQ for Y12 (currently in Y13) so I may be of some help to you (I got an A* btw after a lot of hard work) I think when deciding a question you need to 1) Be passionate and 2) Have a strong opinion.

Since you have no clue what to do yours on, I would suggest first exploring your wider topic which seems to be Japanese culture. Have a look on BBC News or perhaps culture magazines, what you want to look for is something that triggers an opinion. You may even want to look into historical aspects of Japan which may link into the English Lit side of things. Here's an example which just popped into my head regarding the previous point, it really just depends on whether you have read "Memoirs of a Geisha" though (fantastic book, made me cry so many times) but the universal social standing of women in a patriarchal society is truly fascinating there, especially as it intertwines classical Japanese cultural values (note: had a western writer though). Example question for EPQ: "Were Geisha's mere accessories to a patriarchal society". I'm sure that there are many translated Japanese novels with feminist themes, so that could be a potential idea.

You need a topic that you can argue strongly for and against. It also helps if the topic has a personal connection with yourself, I found that the most motivated people in my class had links to the topic they were speaking of (but this is not in every case, a lot of the time interest does drive people to work, but a mixture of sentimentality+enthusiasm usually does the trick).
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returnmigrant
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#4
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#4
Just remember that the point of an EPQ is to develop/show your research skills, not to write a piece of personal 'I think' polemic.
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meredith2017
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#5
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if you're applying to do eng lit at uni i'd try to keep it based on that but draw in elements you are interested in. for example compare an english novel about japan and a japenese novel from the same time, or compare their portrayal of xyz. good luck!
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purple_cloud
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#6
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
The choose something relevant like ..... 1) how Japanese literature/poetry reflected historical events - ie. WW2, relationship with China, contact with Western colonialism, or 2) How is geisha (or any other Japanese cultural tradition) represented in western literature, or 3) any aspects of modern Japanese culture/life that intrigues you.

Helpful books (no need to buy them - get them through inter-library loans from your local library, or look online at ebay or oxfam books etc for cheap copies) :

Anthology of Japanese modern literature : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Japa...dp/0802150950/

Japanese culture : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Japanese-Mi...dp/0804832951/

WW2/Atomic bomb/Literature - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Gro...dp/0226811786/
Thanks so much for your ideas! (Sorry I'm late replying - I only just saw this!)

Those are good angles to consider and I'll definitely be looking up those books.

Thanks again!
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purple_cloud
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#7
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(Original post by Flocoa)
Hi! I did an EPQ for Y12 (currently in Y13) so I may be of some help to you (I got an A* btw after a lot of hard work) I think when deciding a question you need to 1) Be passionate and 2) Have a strong opinion.

Since you have no clue what to do yours on, I would suggest first exploring your wider topic which seems to be Japanese culture. Have a look on BBC News or perhaps culture magazines, what you want to look for is something that triggers an opinion. You may even want to look into historical aspects of Japan which may link into the English Lit side of things. Here's an example which just popped into my head regarding the previous point, it really just depends on whether you have read "Memoirs of a Geisha" though (fantastic book, made me cry so many times) but the universal social standing of women in a patriarchal society is truly fascinating there, especially as it intertwines classical Japanese cultural values (note: had a western writer though). Example question for EPQ: "Were Geisha's mere accessories to a patriarchal society". I'm sure that there are many translated Japanese novels with feminist themes, so that could be a potential idea.

You need a topic that you can argue strongly for and against. It also helps if the topic has a personal connection with yourself, I found that the most motivated people in my class had links to the topic they were speaking of (but this is not in every case, a lot of the time interest does drive people to work, but a mixture of sentimentality+enthusiasm usually does the trick).
Hey!

Congrats on getting an A* for your EPQ Thank you so much for your ideas; I've been meaning to read "Memoirs of a Geisha" for a while now since I've heard such good reviews for it. I think the angle based on the patriarchal society is interesting - I enjoyed exploring it when studying Much Ado. I'll be sure to look into it!

Thanks again for your advice and good luck for the future
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