You will write a sustained (3000 word) comparative essay on three texts of your own choice linked by either the theme of ‘Love Through the Ages’ or by an alternative theme of your own choice.
One text will be a Shakespeare play, which encourages you to build upon their prior knowledge of Shakespeare from GCSE as well as on their work on the dramatic genre at AS. The other texts chosen for comparison also draw on the knowledge and understanding of the genres of poetry, prose and drama candidates acquired at AS.
You should not write about set texts previously studied closely at AS, but if you have encountered a text or texts as part of you wider reading for AS which you wish to study in much greater depth and detail at A2, this is perfectly acceptable.
In line with the spirit of this specification, the extended essay encourages you to engage fully with your texts and tasks and produce an independent response.
The exam board want this coursework to be your own and will not like us to be too prescriptive and force you to write on three taught texts. The only stipulation is that you write about ‘Othello’. The other two texts may be entirely of your own choosing. You must also negotiate the title with me.
In order to meet the assessment objectives you must:
• produce a creative, coherent and relevant response to your chosen texts using appropriate terminology and concepts (AO1: 6% of overall A-level mark)
• analyse the different ways in which your chosen writers use form, structure and language to present aspects of the common theme (love) (AO2: 6% of overall
• compare and contrast your texts systematically, using other readers’ ideas to develop independent responses of their own (AO3: 6% of overall A-level mark)
• show an awareness of the ways in which relevant contexts can affect the ways in which texts are produced and received (AO4: 2% of overall A-level mark)
Selecting Appropriate Texts
The texts you select must allow opportunities for comparison. So you will need to:
The negotiated title of your essay MUST contain the words: ‘Compare and Contrast’
You must communicate your ideas coherently, using appropriate terminology: AO1
You must analyse Language, Form and Structure. Do not forget ‘Form and Structure’ AO2.
In order to ensure coverage of AO3 you must ensure that you use the overarching thematic link between your three chosen texts as a way into your texts rather than the main focus of your work. To access the higher mark bands you must tackle issues of narrative, genre, critical debate and context. Thematic links are designed to provide a gateway into a sophisticated comparative study. You must try evaluate alternative opinions and offer relevant textual support to support your argument. You are trying to ‘debate’ and modal verbs help to convey an awareness of unfixed meanings, so sentences which include phrases such as ‘may be seen as’, ‘might be interpreted as’ or ‘could be represented as’ can help to suggest alertness to the potentialities in texts.
AO4 is relatively lightly weighted in this unit, but it is still present. You need to choose your contextual focus relevantly and thread these aspects through your essays with care; no one will mourn the loss of those chunky bolted-on gobbets which add nothing, but eat up the word count.
SAMPLE TASK 1(linked to the LITA3 topic area ‘Love through the Ages’)
Compare and contrast the writers’ presentation of the destructive nature of desire in any three of these texts. You must write about a play by Shakespeare.
Measure for Measure / Othello / Antony and Cleopatra