Advanced Higher English Dissertation 2018-19 Watch

scottishst25
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Hi, I’ve just started the course and we are to start thinking about our dissertation topics and novels. I know there are similar threads from previous years but thought I would start one for this academic year. Does anyone know if you can compare a classic with a more modern book or can you only study two classics or two modern novels?

Topics I’ve been thinking of:

Theme of growing up using The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Expectations on women using Persuausion by Jane Austen and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - OR Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (is it better to look at two books by the same author?)

This one is a bit vague but something about the impacts of possible future societies on their people using dystopians such as The Handmaids tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell

What do you think about these ideas? I know they may be totally cliche but I’m not sure what kinds of dissertations markers award high marks to or how much help/notes I’ll be able to find online for the more modern books.
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username4066948
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(Original post by scottishst25)
Hi, I’ve just started the course and we are to start thinking about our dissertation topics and novels. I know there are similar threads from previous years but thought I would start one for this academic year. Does anyone know if you can compare a classic with a more modern book or can you only study two classics or two modern novels?

Topics I’ve been thinking of:

Theme of growing up using The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Expectations on women using Persuausion by Jane Austen and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - OR Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (is it better to look at two books by the same author?)

This one is a bit vague but something about the impacts of possible future societies on their people using dystopians such as The Handmaids tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell

What do you think about these ideas? I know they may be totally cliche but I’m not sure what kinds of dissertations markers award high marks to or how much help/notes I’ll be able to find online for the more modern books.
My school was on holiday but it opens tomorrow and I am super looking forward to AH English! So I am so glad to find this thread

so I haven't officially started the course yet but i have been looking around and I had found the most amazing list talking about the dissertation, I will link it here if i find it later on but my advice would be to extensively google resources! other websites to look into for information or analysis is Sparknotes?

And I love all three ideas, i think you could write great dissertations with any of them! however, totally biased account here as a feminist and Austen fanatic, you can find lots of resources on Jane Austen and emerging 19th century feminist thought if you do decide to compare Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion! A book that would be helpful on analysis information even though it can be quite dense and has more info than you need is Harold Bloom's guide on Jane Austen

and finally, don't worry about marking! as long as you do enough analysis and evaluation of your books and have a clear cut conclusion, you will score high, a thing to remember is that markers aren't looking for genius literary criticism from us, so even if it is a cliche as long as it is well written and relevant to your thesis, I'd say go for it and also sometimes its safer to be cliche than do something wacky that no one can make sense of Hope this helps and good luck
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scottishst25
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(Original post by Teetash)
My school was on holiday but it opens tomorrow and I am super looking forward to AH English! So I am so glad to find this thread

so I haven't officially started the course yet but i have been looking around and I had found the most amazing list talking about the dissertation, I will link it here if i find it later on but my advice would be to extensively google resources! other websites to look into for information or analysis is Sparknotes?

And I love all three ideas, i think you could write great dissertations with any of them! however, totally biased account here as a feminist and Austen fanatic, you can find lots of resources on Jane Austen and emerging 19th century feminist thought if you do decide to compare Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion! A book that would be helpful on analysis information even though it can be quite dense and has more info than you need is Harold Bloom's guide on Jane Austen

and finally, don't worry about marking! as long as you do enough analysis and evaluation of your books and have a clear cut conclusion, you will score high, a thing to remember is that markers aren't looking for genius literary criticism from us, so even if it is a cliche as long as it is well written and relevant to your thesis, I'd say go for it and also sometimes its safer to be cliche than do something wacky that no one can make sense of Hope this helps and good luck
Thank you so much, this is honestly a great help. Glad someone else has seen this thread other than me! How was English today? Do you have any Dissertation ideas yet?
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username4066948
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(Original post by scottishst25)
Thank you so much, this is honestly a great help. Glad someone else has seen this thread other than me! How was English today? Do you have any Dissertation ideas yet?
english is going great, i've got the nicest teachers!! and we've started talking about dissertations in class and i have a few ideas
- literature from the lost generation
- romantic poetry
- postcolonial literature
i am probably going to end up choosing one of them cause i have read a little bit from each category but i haven't yet chosen which books i will compare
how is english going for you?
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scottishst25
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(Original post by Teetash)
english is going great, i've got the nicest teachers!! and we've started talking about dissertations in class and i have a few ideas
- literature from the lost generation
- romantic poetry
- postcolonial literature
i am probably going to end up choosing one of them cause i have read a little bit from each category but i haven't yet chosen which books i will compare
how is english going for you?
Wow, you sound prepared - I haven’t started reading anything yet - and your English seems like fun! Your ideas sound great - very original and interesting themes. We’ve just got one teacher and it’s a pretty small class (eight people) - we watched some clips from film adaptions of possible novels today so it was a pretty fun, relaxed Friday double period 😝
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jessica1677
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I wanna do The Count of Monte Cristo as one of the books for my dissertation. However, i have no idea what book to pair it with. I haven't actually read the book yet but I feel like it would be quite interesting. Most of the people in my class are doing Jane Austen and Bronte books but i thought that must be quite overdone?

Can anyone help with a book that could be paired with the Count of Monte Cristo? Thank you in advance x
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username4066948
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(Original post by scottishst25)
Wow, you sound prepared - I haven’t started reading anything yet - and your English seems like fun! Your ideas sound great - very original and interesting themes. We’ve just got one teacher and it’s a pretty small class (eight people) - we watched some clips from film adaptions of possible novels today so it was a pretty fun, relaxed Friday double period 😝
trust me, not as prepared as i should be, and thanks so much! and that sounds really fun, what films did you watch?
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username4066948
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(Original post by jessica1677)
I wanna do The Count of Monte Cristo as one of the books for my dissertation. However, i have no idea what book to pair it with. I haven't actually read the book yet but I feel like it would be quite interesting. Most of the people in my class are doing Jane Austen and Bronte books but i thought that must be quite overdone?

Can anyone help with a book that could be paired with the Count of Monte Cristo? Thank you in advance x
You could probably compare literary style and inspiration of the Count of Monte Cristo to The Three Musketeers as it is by the same author? or any other adventure novels e.g. Robinson Crusoe? I'm not entirely sure though cause i haven't actually read the novel so I'm not very familiar with it but good luck on your dissertation
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scottishst25
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(Original post by Teetash)
trust me, not as prepared as i should be, and thanks so much! and that sounds really fun, what films did you watch?
Catch 22, shroud for a nightingale and Sherlock Holmes - what are you thinking of studying at uni? I’m off for law summer school at Glasgow uni tomorrow so hopefully it goes well XD
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username4066948
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(Original post by scottishst25)
Catch 22, shroud for a nightingale and Sherlock Holmes - what are you thinking of studying at uni? I’m off for law summer school at Glasgow uni tomorrow so hopefully it goes well XD
Ahh that's pretty cool! i love the Sherlock adaptations! I'm thinking of applying for History or Economics, I am assuming you want do Law? and well done on that, have fun!
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username4066948
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http://www.shetland-library.gov.uk/d...gbysubject.pdf
this is the link i was talking about in my first message scottishst25
jessica1677 you might find this useful too?
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scottishst25
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(Original post by username4066948)
http://www.shetland-library.gov.uk/d...gbysubject.pdf
this is the link i was talking about in my first message scottishst25
jessica1677 you might find this useful too?
Wow that’s really useful, thanks for finding that! Now I have some ideas for themes 👍🏻
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Boatswain
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Guten tag everybody, I did the AH English course last year so if anyone has any questions feel free to ask! I just read through the thread, and I would strongly advice against doing any dystopia if you’ve heard of it before (The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World are overdone to death) and I’d say the same about Jane Austen and Bronte; people have got full marks on analyses of Pride and Prejudice and Emma - there’s a fantastic one on the understanding standards page - but again, as it is a common choice your dissertation will have to be that bit more involved and unorthodox to do well in comparison to, say, postcolonial literature (which is, sort of, what I did). You’re not going to immediately do well if you pick the latter, and you’re not immediately going to do poorly with the former, it’s just harder to stand out, if you get me? As for other advice regarding choices, don’t do any books writtten in the last twenty years, as getting resources on them might actually cost money, don’t choose great hulking books like War and Peace (just not worth it) or Moby **** (which is fantastic, but analysing it in 3000 words isn’t going to end well) as it just takes too long to get a good grasp on the text, do choose novels you can sink your teeth into, but don’t bite off more than you can chew (I did 100 Years of Solitude and there was just too much to write about) and most of all enjoy the course! This might be the last time you’ll study english, so take the opportunity to read deeply and think critically whilst having some fun... You’ll miss it (promise).
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jessica1677
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(Original post by username4066948)
You could probably compare literary style and inspiration of the Count of Monte Cristo to The Three Musketeers as it is by the same author? or any other adventure novels e.g. Robinson Crusoe? I'm not entirely sure though cause i haven't actually read the novel so I'm not very familiar with it but good luck on your dissertation
thank you
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jessica1677
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(Original post by Boatswain)
Guten tag everybody, I did the AH English course last year so if anyone has any questions feel free to ask! I just read through the thread, and I would strongly advice against doing any dystopia if you’ve heard of it before (The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World are overdone to death) and I’d say the same about Jane Austen and Bronte; people have got full marks on analyses of Pride and Prejudice and Emma - there’s a fantastic one on the understanding standards page - but again, as it is a common choice your dissertation will have to be that bit more involved and unorthodox to do well in comparison to, say, postcolonial literature (which is, sort of, what I did). You’re not going to immediately do well if you pick the latter, and you’re not immediately going to do poorly with the former, it’s just harder to stand out, if you get me? As for other advice regarding choices, don’t do any books writtten in the last twenty years, as getting resources on them might actually cost money, don’t choose great hulking books like War and Peace (just not worth it) or Moby **** (which is fantastic, but analysing it in 3000 words isn’t going to end well) as it just takes too long to get a good grasp on the text, do choose novels you can sink your teeth into, but don’t bite off more than you can chew (I did 100 Years of Solitude and there was just too much to write about) and most of all enjoy the course! This might be the last time you’ll study english, so take the opportunity to read deeply and think critically whilst having some fun... You’ll miss it (promise).
would the count of monte cristo be acceptable ?
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Boatswain
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(Original post by jessica1677)
would the count of monte cristo be acceptable ?
I honestly can’t say that I’ve read it, but the first version I found on amazon has 1276 pages, which, yeah, no. You’re going have to write about another text, so seeing that you’re really only gonna have 1200 words to specifically discuss The Count of Monte Cristo, that seems a lot of stuff to condense into one dissertation. Through what lens would you be analysing it? I just went through shmoop on it and there are genuinely interesting things to be said about it, so if you can find a proper focus it might be feasible - you’re just going to have to make sure you don’t waste any words. The other difficulty with this specific book is translation: which would you choose?
As for other books to analyse with it? If you’re convinced to do this (and I’d advice to think it over, as you’re giving yourself far too much unnecessary work with how long it is - no matter how fast a reader you are, 1276 pages is a lot, and you will have plenty of other stuff to do in S6) it depends upon how you want to analyse it. If you’re thinking about justice, and you’re a masochist to boot, you could go for the Brothers Karamozov (again, 19th century, but Russian, which isn’t ideal and makes translation far harder, and again its stupidly long). Or you could stick with Dumas, which makes sense, and analyse The Three Musketeers (I don’t know what similarities they have though). My overall recommendation would be that it’s an acceptable book, but not one I’d go for myself - if you have the free time and enjoy that sort of stuff, maybe, but you can get as good a dissertation with books an eighth of the length.
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jessica1677
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erghmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm might do The Picture of Dorian Gray with another book and focus on maybe character development from influential factors or maybe the concept of a double life?
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scottishst25
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(Original post by Boatswain)
Guten tag everybody, I did the AH English course last year so if anyone has any questions feel free to ask! I just read through the thread, and I would strongly advice against doing any dystopia if you’ve heard of it before (The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World are overdone to death) and I’d say the same about Jane Austen and Bronte; people have got full marks on analyses of Pride and Prejudice and Emma - there’s a fantastic one on the understanding standards page - but again, as it is a common choice your dissertation will have to be that bit more involved and unorthodox to do well in comparison to, say, postcolonial literature (which is, sort of, what I did). You’re not going to immediately do well if you pick the latter, and you’re not immediately going to do poorly with the former, it’s just harder to stand out, if you get me? As for other advice regarding choices, don’t do any books writtten in the last twenty years, as getting resources on them might actually cost money, don’t choose great hulking books like War and Peace (just not worth it) or Moby **** (which is fantastic, but analysing it in 3000 words isn’t going to end well) as it just takes too long to get a good grasp on the text, do choose novels you can sink your teeth into, but don’t bite off more than you can chew (I did 100 Years of Solitude and there was just too much to write about) and most of all enjoy the course! This might be the last time you’ll study english, so take the opportunity to read deeply and think critically whilst having some fun... You’ll miss it (promise).
Wow this is really helpful - I’ll definitely be asking for advice this year 😂 what do you think of doing the theme of the American dream using The Great Gatsby and another similar book (possibly tender is the night?) I know it’s still probably quite a popular choice though so it may be a bit overdone as well
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Boatswain
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Okay, the Picture of Dorian Gray is a really good choice! I don’t know what you’d pair it with (my knowledge of british literature is pretty awful to tell the truth) but it’d work well, you’d want to look at the concept of a double life I think but that’s my personal take. Do run through that with a teacher tho, my advice really is only good to a point 😂As for Gatsby.... Look, don’t get me wrong, I love Gatsby. Teachers love Gatsby. Everybody loves Gatsby... Except for the SQA markers reading their 15th dissertation on the American Dream. When I say steer clear from popular choices, perhaps I should clarify that what I’m saying is don’t choose popular dissertation topics for popular books. Don’t do “the representation of women in society with reference to bronte/austen/take your pick”, or “the failures of the american dream in gatsby/ of mice and men/ whatever other depressing steinbeck novel you wanna choose”. Now, you can still do Gatsby, but look at the idea of perception for example - is how Nick sees Gatsby who Gatsby really is? How does self-mythologising occur in the novel? - which is there, just not as discussed as frequently! You can still do analyses of the american dream too, just not with something like Gatsby - though still well known, albeit not as popular for AH, you could do well with an analysis of the american dream in Invisible Man for example. If you know someone else doing a similar dissertation, don’t do the one you’re thinking of would be my advice. So yeah, I’m really sorry to say it but I would strongly advice against doing Gatsby and the american dream
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scottishst25
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(Original post by Boatswain)
Okay, the Picture of Dorian Gray is a really good choice! I don’t know what you’d pair it with (my knowledge of british literature is pretty awful to tell the truth) but it’d work well, you’d want to look at the concept of a double life I think but that’s my personal take. Do run through that with a teacher tho, my advice really is only good to a point 😂As for Gatsby.... Look, don’t get me wrong, I love Gatsby. Teachers love Gatsby. Everybody loves Gatsby... Except for the SQA markers reading their 15th dissertation on the American Dream. When I say steer clear from popular choices, perhaps I should clarify that what I’m saying is don’t choose popular dissertation topics for popular books. Don’t do “the representation of women in society with reference to bronte/austen/take your pick”, or “the failures of the american dream in gatsby/ of mice and men/ whatever other depressing steinbeck novel you wanna choose”. Now, you can still do Gatsby, but look at the idea of perception for example - is how Nick sees Gatsby who Gatsby really is? How does self-mythologising occur in the novel? - which is there, just not as discussed as frequently! You can still do analyses of the american dream too, just not with something like Gatsby - though still well known, albeit not as popular for AH, you could do well with an analysis of the american dream in Invisible Man for example. If you know someone else doing a similar dissertation, don’t do the one you’re thinking of would be my advice. So yeah, I’m really sorry to say it but I would strongly advice against doing Gatsby and the american dream
Thanks for the advice! And don’t be sorry I’m not really attached to any ideas at this point - mostly just brainstorming
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