English Literature A Level


Exam board: AQA B

What is the course about?

Over two years, students will analyse the way social and political protest has influenced a range of writers’ works, including Hosseini, Blake and Atwood, developing skills of language analysis, the application of social and literary context and the formulation of argument.

They will also explore English literature through the genre focus of tragedy. Aristotelian definitions of tragedy will be the starting point, before tracing the way that this genre has evolved and changed over time in Shakespeare, Miller and Keats’ writing.

For their coursework, students will explore a range of prose and verse texts from a Feminist, Marxist and Post-Colonial perspective, culminating in two 1500-word coursework essays.

The linear A Level qualification is assessed through two examinations at the end of the second year.

Duration of course:

2 years

What units/topics will be studied?

Component 1: Literary Genres: Aspects of Tragedy - 40% of A Level

William Shakespeare’s Othello
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Selected poetry of John Keats

Component 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest Writing - 40% of A Level

Khalid Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
William Blake’s The Songs of Innocence & Experience

Component 3: Non-Examined Assessment: Theory and Independence – 20% of A Level

2 x coursework essays on critical reading (i.e. Feminist and Marxist) of prose and verse.


What do I need to study this subject?

Students studying this subject will be required to have achieved a minimum of a grade 5 in their GCSE English Language and a minimum of 34 GCSE points.


What can I do to prepare myself to study this subject?

Read any of the set texts outlined above before watching film and TV versions.