Bolton School Sixth Form Girls

English Literature


To explore individual works of literature, relationships between texts and significant cultural and contextual influences.
To develop analytical skills through both writing and discussion.
To be aware of the relationship between Literature and other academic disciplines.
To produce informed, independent opinions and judgements.

What will I study?

It is expected that girls taking this subject will do a two year course, without the option of AS at the end of the Lower Sixth.

You will study poetry, prose and drama texts from a range of periods.  You will explore the connections between them and the social and cultural contexts within which they were written. You will analyse the ways in which writers use literary and linguistic devices to shape meaning in both studied texts and unseen extracts. 

How will I be assessed?

At A Level there are two examined components and one coursework component.  The first, ‘Drama and Poetry Pre-1900’, offers candidates the opportunity to engage in close reading and consider Shakespeare’s use of language. The second, ‘Comparative and Contextual Study’, will consist of an unseen exercise and a comparative essay. Topics include: American Literature 1880-1940, The Gothic, Dystopia, Women in Literature and The Immigrant Experience. The coursework component requires candidates to study three texts from across the genres of poetry, drama and prose.

Desirable requirements

You should have a keen interest in how writers of different genres and from different periods use language. You should be interested in how society and culture influence works of literature. You should be able to work independently and as part of a group offering your own interpretations of texts. You should enjoy writing analytical essays and be able to write fluently. You should read widely.

How will I study?

You will work in pairs, groups and independently studying set texts, unseen extracts and your own text choices. You will take an active part in whole class discussion. You will attend lectures and take part in enrichment activities such as theatre trips. You will profit most from the course if you have the diligence necessary to pursue the wider reading that comes with studying English Literature at this level. 

Where will it lead?

It combines so well with other Advanced Level subjects: the Languages, Sciences, Arts and Humanities.  It opens doors to a wide range of careers for those who are considering Teaching, Management, Personnel, Journalism, Law, PR and writing.


“I am currently studying English Literature, Religious Studies, Classical Civilisation and History. The English Literature course this year is very enjoyable due to the wide variety of different works we study, from Tennessee Williams to Christina Rossetti. The difference between English Literature at AS and at GCSE Levels is the fact you have to be more proactive and analyse the books and context of the material more independently at AS Level; however, this is very interesting as you gain different views from those of your peers. I have taken many useful skills from my studies of English Literature this year, such as developing my language skills and arguments, which I can confidently apply to my other subjects. I hope to study Classical Civilisation with English Literature at university due to my love and enthusiasm for both modern and ancient literature.”