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What is a Good Idea for an IB Extended Essay Topic in Literature 2023?

Literature extended essay topics

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay in Literature is an opportunity for students to explore a literary work or topic in depth. The essay should demonstrate a student’s ability to engage with a literary work critically, analyze it, and form a clear argument about it.

Here are a few suggestions for possible topics for an IB Extended Essay in Literature:

  1. An analysis of the themes of love, loss, and grief in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.”
  2. A comparison of the portrayal of race and discrimination in Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”
  3. An examination of the use of symbolism in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.”
  4. A study of the portrayal of gender roles in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
  5. An analysis of the role of the supernatural in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
  6. A comparison of the portrayal of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”
  7. An examination of the use of stream-of-consciousness narrative in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
  8. A study of the portrayal of societal issues in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
  9. An analysis of the themes of power and oppression in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.”
  10. A comparison of the portrayal of the human condition in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker.ยป
  11. A study of the portrayal of identity and self-discovery in Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse.”
  12. An examination of the use of imagery and symbolism in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.”
  13. A comparison of the portrayal of social class in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations.”
  14. An analysis of the themes of power and corruption in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
  15. A study of the portrayal of war and trauma in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.”
  16. An examination of the use of language and dialect in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
  17. A comparison of the portrayal of love and relationships in Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” and Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”
  18. An analysis of the themes of power and rebellion in George Orwell’s “1984.”
  19. A study of the portrayal of mental illness in Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
  20. An examination of the use of symbolism and allegory in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
  21. A comparison of the portrayal of religion and faith in Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” and Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory.”
  22. An analysis of the themes of justice and morality in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
  23. A study of the portrayal of gender and sexuality in E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View.”
  24. An examination of the use of setting and atmosphere in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.”
  25. A comparison of the portrayal of personal growth and transformation in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

These are just a few examples of the many possible topics for an IB Extended Essay in Literature.

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You can also use our extended essay writers team’s services if you need assistance selecting a topic. Furthermore, we can also help you write your extended essay from scratch or edit your draft following the IB criteria.

It’s important to choose a topic that you are passionate about and will enjoy researching, as the essay will require a significant amount of time and effort.

literature extended essay topics

Recommendations on how students can use these topics:

  1. An analysis of the themes of love, loss, and grief in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Hemingway uses themes of love, loss, and grief to portray the emotional impact of war and the human experience. They can analyze specific scenes or characters in the novel to support their argument.
  2. A comparison of the portrayal of race and discrimination in Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Morrison and Baldwin use their novels to portray the experiences of African Americans and the effects of discrimination. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their argument.
  3. An examination of the use of symbolism in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Salinger uses symbolism to convey themes such as loss of innocence, alienation and the struggle of growing up. They can analyze specific symbols in the novel, such as the ducks in the pond or the red hunting hat, to support their argument.
  4. A study of the portrayal of gender roles in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Shakespeare portrays gender roles in the play. They can analyze the characters of Hamlet, Ophelia, and Gertrude and examine the ways in which their gender affects their actions and motivations.
  5. An analysis of the role of the supernatural in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Poe uses the supernatural to convey themes such as death, the unknown, and the human psyche. They can analyze specific stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Fall of the House of Usher” to support their argument.
  6. A comparison of the portrayal of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Fitzgerald and Steinbeck use their novels to portray the idea of the American Dream and the realities of the American experience. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their argument.
  7. An examination of the use of stream-of-consciousness narrative in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Joyce uses the stream-of-consciousness narrative style to convey the inner thoughts and emotions of his characters. They can analyze specific sections of the novel to support their argument.
  8. A study of the portrayal of societal issues in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Orwell uses the allegory of the farm animals to portray societal issues such as class struggle, totalitarianism, and propaganda. They can analyze specific characters or events in the novel to support their argument. 
  9. An analysis of the themes of power and oppression in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Achebe uses the novel to portray the effects of colonialism on the Igbo culture and the impact of power and oppression on individuals and communities. They can analyze specific characters or events in the novel to support their arguments, such as the arrival of European colonizers and the transformation of the protagonist, Okonkwo.
  10. A comparison of the portrayal of the human condition in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Beckett and Pinter use their plays to portray the human condition and the complexities of the human experience. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both plays to support their arguments, such as the themes of existentialism and the human search for purpose and meaning.
  11. A study of the portrayal of identity and self-discovery in Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Woolf uses the novel to portray the process of identity formation and self-discovery. They can analyze specific characters, such as Mrs. Ramsay or Lily Briscoe, and the symbolism of the lighthouse to support their argument.
  12. An examination of the use of imagery and symbolism in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Plath uses imagery and symbolism to convey themes such as mental illness, societal expectations, and the female experience. They can analyze specific symbols, such as the bell jar, the fig tree, or the dead figs, to support their argument.
  13. A comparison of the portrayal of social class in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Austen and Dickens use their novels to portray the effects of social class on individuals and society. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their argument.
  14. An analysis of the themes of power and corruption in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Shakespeare uses the play to portray the dangers of ambition and the corrupting nature of power. They can analyze specific characters, such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, to support their argument.
  15. A study of the portrayal of war and trauma in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which O’Brien uses the novel to portray the emotional and psychological effects of war on soldiers. They can analyze specific characters or events in the novel, such as the death of a fellow soldier, to support their argument.
  16. An examination of the use of language and dialect in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Twain uses language and dialect to convey the setting and characters in the novel, as well as to comment on themes such as racism and the Southern society. They can analyze the use of vernacular language and slang throughout the novel to support their argument.
  17. A comparison of the portrayal of love and relationships in Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” and Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Bronte and Austen use their novels to portray different aspects of love and relationships. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their argument.
  18. An analysis of the themes of power and rebellion in George Orwell’s “1984”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Orwell uses the novel to portray the dangers of totalitarianism and the potential for rebellion against oppressive systems. They can analyze specific characters or events in the novel to support their argument.
  19. A study of the portrayal of mental illness in Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Kesey uses the novel to portray the experiences of individuals with mental illness and the societal attitudes towards them. They can analyze specific characters, such as Randle McMurphy or Nurse Ratched, to support their argument.
  20. An examination of the use of symbolism and allegory in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Milton uses symbolism and allegory in his epic poem to convey themes such as the nature of sin, the concept of free will, and the relationship between God and humanity. They can analyze specific symbols such as the serpent, the fallen angels, or the Garden of Eden to support their argument.
  21. A comparison of the portrayal of religion and faith in Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” and Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Camus and Greene use their novels to portray different aspects of religion and faith. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their argument.
  22. An analysis of the themes of justice and morality in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Miller uses the play to portray the dangers of mass hysteria and the importance of personal integrity and morality. They can analyze specific characters, such as John Proctor or Abigail Williams, to support their argument.
  23. A study of the portrayal of gender and sexuality in E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Forster uses the novel to portray the social constraints on gender and sexuality during the Edwardian era. They can analyze specific characters such as Lucy Honeychurch or George Emerson to support their argument.
  24. An examination of the use of setting and atmosphere in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Hawthorne uses setting and atmosphere to convey themes such as sin, guilt, and redemption. They can analyze specific settings, such as the prison or the forest to support their argument.
  25. A comparison of the portrayal of personal growth and transformation in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”: Students can use this topic to explore the ways in which Salinger and Ellison use their novels to portray the process of personal growth and transformation. They can compare the themes, symbols, and characterizations used in both novels to support their arguments, such as the themes of coming of age, identity, and societal expectations.
IB DP English Language and Literature

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a wide variety of topics that students can use for their IB Extended Essay in Literature. From analyzing themes, symbols, and characters in classic novels to comparing and contrasting the portrayal of certain themes and issues in different works, there are many opportunities for students to explore and develop their own ideas and arguments.

However, the process of writing an extended essay can be challenging, and students may need help along the way. A writing service can provide expert guidance and support in areas such as research, organization, and editing to ensure that students produce high-quality and well-written essays. Therefore, students should not hesitate to seek help from a writing service if they need it.

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