NootNeet
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Hi, I recently started 6th year and we are already being pushed to pick our dissertation topics for advanced higher english (definitely understandable considering how much we have already missed out on this year) and I'm finding it rather choosing between topics.
My option at the moment are as follows:

1. Gothic literature - I'd probably go for a gothic horror route and compare The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and either Dracula or Frankenstein. I feel like the gothic route might be somewhat overdone though considering there are already people in my class doing it and I've seen several people online discussing gothic literature as a dissertation topic (please correct me if I'm wrong)

2. Pedophilia - I would most likely be comparing Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The End of Alice by A.M Homes (unless anyone could suggest any other books)

3. LGBT in literature - I feel like this topic could really interest me but I don't know many books that are comparable within this realm

4. Oppression of Women - In this topic I would likely compare The Help by Kathryn Stockett with The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

If anyone could offer any advice or suggestions that would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks x
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ellie1964
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(Original post by NootNeet)
Hi, I recently started 6th year and we are already being pushed to pick our dissertation topics for advanced higher english (definitely understandable considering how much we have already missed out on this year) and I'm finding it rather choosing between topics.
My option at the moment are as follows:

1. Gothic literature - I'd probably go for a gothic horror route and compare The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and either Dracula or Frankenstein. I feel like the gothic route might be somewhat overdone though considering there are already people in my class doing it and I've seen several people online discussing gothic literature as a dissertation topic (please correct me if I'm wrong)

2. Pedophilia - I would most likely be comparing Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The End of Alice by A.M Homes (unless anyone could suggest any other books)

3. LGBT in literature - I feel like this topic could really interest me but I don't know many books that are comparable within this realm

4. Oppression of Women - In this topic I would likely compare The Help by Kathryn Stockett with The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

If anyone could offer any advice or suggestions that would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks x
Hiya!

I’m not surprised you’re having a hard time choosing - these are all really interesting ideas!

1. What kind of angle would you be going for with Gothic lit? I could definitely see Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde being a really interesting comparison (the double imagery with Jekyll and Hyde and Frankenstein’s creature and Frankenstein himself, and how human the creatures in question really are - what makes them ‘monsters’?). Nothing is really ever overdone in subjects like English - academics make a living out of revising these texts over and over and trying to find a new angle. What makes it overdone if if you argue the same thing as everyone else which is definitely off-putting to the marker. As long as you put your own spin on it and explore what’s most interesting about it to you, it’s an interesting read

2. Lolita is definitely one of those texts that get compared a lot. I haven’t read The End of Alice but I read Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller recently and I think it’d be a really interesting comparison. It’s from the female perspective, the victim in question is a teenage boy and it has the same kind of dubious, untrustworthy narrator as Lolita in a very different set-up. Early 00’s London rather than America. The account is written by the perpetrator’s ‘friend’ who has her own motivations which makes it all the more compelling. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize too which is always good! Would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re interested.

3. This is a huge topic. If you want to go ‘classics’ there’s so many to choose from. Maurice by E.M Forster, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin... the list goes on. Again, it’d just depend on what angle you were going for.

4. When I did AH two years ago, they told us to stay well away from The Handmaid’s Tale lol - I think it’s because the TV series inspired a lot of people to choose it (and most of them paired it with 1984). If you’re going to broach women and oppression with those two, I’d definitely try and make a very specific argument because it’s maybe the exception to the being overdone thing I said earlier! It might be an idea to look at books that are less explicit about female oppression because honestly, once you scratch the surface of most classic texts, it’s there. And the way it manifests often explains the reasons why female characters do the things they do, are put in the situations they’re faced with and how they often meet a tragic end.

Hope this helps and good luck with the course! x
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