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Few Great Ideas for English Literature Research Paper Topics

The first step in coming up with a paper that is going to get a high grade is choosing a great topic. As you consider English literature research paper topics, keep in mind that you will spend many hours working. Try to choose something that interests you. It can be helpful to do preliminary research—this is a step where you carry out research before beginning the paper. This ensures you have enough information to support your topic.

Research Paper Topics in English Literature

The ideal English literature topics for research paper is going to increase your understanding of a book. As you do research, you’ll find yourself understanding the author more and noticing themes. Here are some topics you might cover:

  1. Treatment of character- The way characters are treated is often reflected across more than one work for the same author. For example, Shakespeare is known for treating female characters with misogyny.
  2. Allusions to society- It is not uncommon for some books to question society or societal constructs. For example, George Orwell’s Animal Farm or Harper to Kill A Mockingbird.
  3. Evolution of an author- Authors sometimes change over time. J.K. Rowling, the famous author of Harry Potter, sets a much different tone in her stories as the years go on, and especially in her other works.
  4. Evolution of literature- As with all forms of media, books change to fit the time. Otherwise, they would never sell. One good topic is to discuss how literature from one era compares to another.
  5. Character comparisons- This works best when there is a common theme. For example, you might select two female characters from different novels by the same author. You can also compare and contrast two characters from the same story.
  6. Character study- Authors often expose their characters of the course of a writing—they go through life circumstances that may cause change. Pay attention to these changes and note your observations.
  7. Author study- Understanding an author’s upbringing and unique life circumstances can help readers understand their writing. Social constructs and culture of the time may also play a role.

Paper Presentation Topics for English Literature

The last thing that you want to do when crafting a presentation is use the same idea as someone else. Additionally, presentations have the potential of being visually interesting. Here are a few ideas that are better presented than read:

  • Shakespeare, Death, and the Times- What did people in Shakespeare’s time believe about death? How did that carry over into some of his own plays?
  • References to the Industrial Revolution- Many British authors associated the Industrial Revolution with the incredible changes to the city and land. Choose an author and find examples of these references. Explain how their understanding shaped their word choice and themes.
  • Mythical or science-fiction themes- Mythical and science-fiction books are often rich in imagery. Depict these things and then explain them, as if you were in the head of the author. How does this mythical approach affect reader experience with the book?
  • Banned books- Banned books are always a good, controversial topic. You can discuss the contents of the book, as well as themes or ideas that may have caused it to be banned. What is the ethicality behind banning a book?

As you consider which English literature paper 1 topics is going to be best for your assignment, keep in mind that this is only a short list. Use one of these or use them as ideas to come up with your own. The only limits are restrictions placed by your teacher—so get creative so writing your paper is not so boring.

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