Literature Extended Essay Topics

An extended essay is an in-depth piece of writing which explores a specific topic in detail. It is most commonly used as a form of academic assessment in literature courses, although some teachers may require longer essays from students. When writing an extended essay in literature, the student is expected to focus on a particular author, book, or genre and provide a thorough analysis of the topic that includes research from external sources. The chosen topic should be noteworthy and demonstrate an understanding of relevant elements and ideas in literature.

When writing an extended essay in literature, it is important to choose a topic which is both interesting and meaningful. As such, it is essential to spend time and effort on finding the right topic to ensure your essay will be well-received. Ultimately, the goal should be to craft an essay which is informative, well-structured, and thoroughly researched, while also providing evidence of independence and original thought.

Literature Extended Essay Topics

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Literature Extended Essay Definition

An extended essay in literature requires students to analyze, synthesize and evaluate sources related to a certain literary topic or theme. These essays must be written in the prescribed length, format and structure of an extended essay, and provide a comprehensive answer to the formulated research question.

The length requirement for an extended essay in literature is usually 4000 words, including the title page, table of contents and bibliography. The essay should follow a prescribed structure, which includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. In the introduction, you should provide an overview of your topic and provide a clear thesis statement. The body of the essay is then used to develop your argument and support your thesis by providing evidence and analysis from the research sources. Finally, the conclusion should sum up the main points discussed in the essay and provide suggestions for further research.

The topics chosen for a literature extended essay should be related to a selected area of study, such as a novel, short story, poem, play or work of non-fiction. It should include a critical analysis of the text that relates to a specific theme or idea, rather than simply summarizing the plot or characters.

When selecting a literature extended essay topic, it is important to consider how much knowledge and expertise the student has in the topic and whether it is realistic to complete the essay within the given timeframe. It is also important to consider any guidelines provided by the institution regarding the length, format and structure of the essay.

Benefits of Writing an Extended Essay in Literature

Writing an extended essay in literature can provide numerous benefits to students. Not only does it give them the opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills, but it also provides them with the chance to explore their knowledge and understanding of literature. Here are some of the main advantages of writing an extended essay in literature.

  • Critical Thinking Skills: Writing an extended essay allows students to develop their critical thinking skills. They will be required to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the content that they read, as well as create a coherent argument to support their points. Developing these skills can be extremely helpful for future academic and professional pursuits.
  • Research Skills: Researching and writing an extended essay in literature requires students to work on their research skills. They will need to source credible information from reliable sources, and use it to support their arguments and points. Developing good research skills can have a significant positive influence on a student’s future academic endeavors.
  • Writing Skills: Extended essays provide students with the chance to practice their writing skills. They must learn how to structure their essay in a logical manner, and how to write in a clear and concise style. Being able to write sophisticated essays is a skill that can prove to be invaluable in college and university settings.
  • Knowledge of Literature: As students spend time researching, reading, and writing about literature, they will gain a greater appreciation of, and knowledge about, the field. This deeper understanding of literature can be advantageous in any number of ways, from academic pursuits to job interviews.

Writing an extended essay in literature is a great way for students to not only obtain valuable academic skills, such as critical thinking, research, and writing, but also to gain a better understanding of the field. By investing the time and effort necessary to complete a successful extended essay project, students can reap the rewards of their hard work, now and in the future.

Brainstorming Techniques for Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic for an extended essay in literature can be a daunting task. It’s important to pick a topic that you’re passionate about and has a good level of depth and complexity to explore. To help make the process less intimidating, it’s a good idea to use brainstorming techniques to come up with potential topics. Here are some methods to get your creative juices flowing.

Free Writing

Free writing is one of the best ways to get ideas for an extended essay. First, take out a piece of paper or open a blank document. Write down the general theme or subject that you want your essay to focus on, such as “love in literature” or “societal issues in 20th century literature”. Then, start writing whatever comes to mind. You don’t need to worry about organization or grammar; just write quickly without pausing. After five minutes or so, step back and look over what you wrote. You should see a lot of potential topics that you can pursue.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is another great way to generate extended essay topics. Start by writing down the topic or theme of your paper in the center of the page. Then, draw branches radiating out from this central topic. Draft subtopics that relate to your main topic, or break down the main topic into more specific pieces. From these subtopics, you can then come up with essay ideas. Mind mapping also helps you visualize how your essay could potentially be structured, which is helpful for the writing process.

Prioritizing Ideas

Once you have a list of potential topics, the next step is to narrow them down. One way to do this is to prioritize your ideas based on personal interest and relevance. Rank your ideas on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most interesting and 5 being the least interesting. If a particular topic has very little relevance to your course material, it would also receive a lower score. This exercise should leave you with 1-3 topics that are likely the most suitable options.

By using the above brainstorming techniques, you’ll be able to generate ideas for a literature extended essay topic. Remember to stay flexible and open-minded, and let your creative side run wild. With the right approach, you’ll soon find the perfect topic to write about.

Tips for Narrowing a Topic

If you’re writing an extended essay in literature, it’s important to narrow down your topic to something specific and manageable. Narrowing down the topic allows you to explore it more deeply and come up with a well-argued paper.

Here are a few tips that can help you refine a broad extended essay topic into a narrower focus:

  • Understand the Prompt: Make sure that you fully understand the requirements of the essay before you start brainstorming. Re-read the prompt multiple times if you need to and take notes on different aspects of the question.

  • Conduct Research: Doing some research prior to narrowing your topic down can give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with. Use reliable sources such as books and journal articles to get an overview of the field.

  • List Ideas: Once you have an understanding of the subject, write down all the ideas that come to mind. Don’t worry about how relevant the ideas are or whether they’ll fit into the essay – just make a list of everything you can think of.

  • Choose Your Focus: Take a look at the list of ideas you’ve written down and decide on a few topics that you feel excited about exploring. Then, look at each topic and decide on the area of focus that excites you the most.

  • Research Further: Now that you’ve narrowed down your topic and decided on the focus, you should research your topic further. Look for resources related to your topic and make sure that there is enough information available for you to develop a comprehensive paper.

By following these tips, you should be able to refine a broad extended essay topic into something narrower and more manageable.

Considerations When Selecting a Literature Extended Essay Topic

One of the most important steps when writing a literature extended essay is selecting a topic. This can be a daunting task, as there are many different elements to consider before settling on one idea. Here are some tips to help you choose the right topic.

Research Interest

When selecting a topic for an extended essay in literature, it’s important to choose one that you are genuinely interested in. Not only will the research process be more enjoyable and rewarding, but it will be easier to remain motivated throughout the project if you’re passionate about the topic. It’s also important to choose something that you think others will find interesting, as it will motivate them to read your work.

Narrow Focus

It’s much easier to write an extended essay if you choose a narrow focus. An overly broad topic can make it difficult to do extensive research and prevent you from forming a strong thesis. As such, you should pick a topic that is specific enough to explore deeply.

Availability of Resources

Before settling on a topic, make sure it has enough resources available to conduct research. If the resources are limited, it may be difficult to formulate a coherent argument or draw meaningful conclusions. Additionally, if the research materials are outdated, irrelevant, or unreliable, it may be beneficial to select a different topic.

Grammatical Structure

You should also consider the grammatical structure of your topic when selecting an extended essay in literature. For example, if the subject matter is too complex to explain clearly and concisely, it may be difficult to draft a cohesive essay. Similarly, if the content is too simple, it may be difficult to come up with enough relevant material to meet the word count requirement.

Selecting the right topic for your literature extended essay is an important step in ensuring the success of your project. Make sure to do your research beforehand to ensure that you have access to the right resources and that your topic is both engaging and feasible. With the right approach and a bit of effort, you’ll be well on your way to completing a top-notch extended essay.

Relative Significance of Topics

When you are considering potential topics for a literature extended essay, it is important to consider their relative significance. Not all topics are equal in their importance or relevance to the world of literature. This means that when you are selecting a topic for your essay, you should take into account how significant the topic is in terms of contributing new ideas or research to the field.

An example of this would be a literature essay about the works of Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s plays have been studied, analysed and discussed for centuries, so there is already a wealth of previous knowledge and research surrounding his work. You may be able to find an interesting or unique angle, but it is likely that any new research or insights from your essay will not be as groundbreaking as if you were investigating an area of literature not yet fully explored.

Conversely, if you chose to research an area of literature not yet studied in depth, there is a higher chance of uncovering something new. Or, if you chose to focus on a relatively new movement or author, you may be able to provide a fresh perspective on their work. Ultimately, the value of your essay will depend on its originality, insight, and contribution to existing scholarship.

When making your selection, be sure to consider the relative significance of each possible topic. Choosing a topic with a high degree of relative significance could help you to create an essay that is more meaningful and rewarding.

Sample Literature Extended Essay Topics

If you’re looking for help deciding on a good topic for your literature extended essay, then you’ve come to the right place. An extended essay in literature requires serious research and is also a very enjoyable experience. Here are some great sample topics to help get you started:

  • The Psychological Impact of War on Characters in Novels: Explore how war can have a psychological impact on characters in different kinds of novels. Analyze the way authors depict the effects of trauma on characters and how it influences the narrative.
  • The Role of Symbolism in Poetry: Examine the use of symbolism in poetic works by analyzing the meaning behind certain symbols and how they contribute to the overall theme or tone of the poem.
  • Gender Representation in Fiction: Compare the representation of gender roles in fiction from different historical periods to examine how societal perceptions of gender have evolved over time.
  • Modern Literary Devices: Analyze the use of modern literary devices like stream of consciousness, montage, or postmodern irony in contemporary literature.
  • The Use of Metaphor in Novels: Examine the use of metaphor in novels by exploring how authors employ figurative language to convey messages, set a tone, or foster a particular emotion in the reader.
  • Analysis of 19th-Century Literature: Analyze how 19th-century literature was shaped by the social and cultural norms of the time. Discuss the messages authors were trying to convey about specific events or topics and how this impacted the writing of the period.

These are just a few example topics that could be used for a literature extended essay. To conduct research and write an effective essay, make sure to find reliable sources, narrow your topic, and create an argument with supporting evidence. With the right approach, you can make your extended essay in literature stand out and impress!

Evaluation Tips

Evaluation is an important part of writing a literature extended essay. It involves examining the elements you used to write your essay and providing an assessment about them. Evaluating your essay can help you to identify weaknesses and improvements that could have been made before submitting your final version.

When evaluating your literature extended essay, there are certain aspects that should be assessed. First and foremost is the quality of the arguments presented in your essay. It is vital to ensure that all of the content is accurate and that each argument is supported by evidence. Additionally, assess the organization of your essay and make sure that it flows logically and effortlessly. Aspects such as grammar and syntax should also be evaluated to ensure they meet the expected standards.

In addition to these elements, the evaluation should also assess how well the essay deals with the prompt or question it was given. This means ensuring that all relevant pieces of information were included and that the essay stayed on-topic throughout. Furthermore, consider the sources that were used and make sure they are reliable and appropriate for the topic. If any further research is needed to make the essay more comprehensive, this should be taken into account during the evaluation.

When assessing these elements, it is also important to consider the overall tone and message of the essay. Make sure that your opinion is clearly stated and that each point is backed up with valid reasoning. Additionally, keep an eye out for any potential bias and ensure that you have provided a balanced argument. Lastly, strive to make your essay unique by providing fresh ideas and interesting perspectives.

Evaluating your literature extended essay is a crucial step before submission and can help to ensure that your work is of the highest possible quality. Be sure to assess all elements of the essay, including arguments, organization, sources, tone, and uniqueness.

Referencing Guidelines for Literature Extended Essays

When conducting research for a literature extended essay, it’s important to properly cite any sources you use in your paper. The exact requirements vary depending on the style guide you are following, but there are some general principles that apply regardless of the format you choose.

The basic idea behind referencing is to give credit to the authors of the material you use. Therefore, when citing a source, you need to include enough information so that it can be easily traced by readers. This typically includes the author’s name, the title of the work and the year of publication.

You also need to include any other necessary details such as the page numbers you refer to, the publisher, and the URL if you are citing an online source. Depending on the style guide, you may also need to include a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

It’s important to be consistent when citing sources. Different guides have different conventions for formatting references, so make sure you are following the correct one for your literature extended essay.

Finally, make sure you are using only credible, reliable sources for your essay. Double-check all your facts, and only use sources from reputable publications or websites.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are accurately and properly citing all sources used in your literature extended essay.

Concluding Remarks

Writing a literature extended essay can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As you set off on this journey, keep in mind the key points covered in this guide. Remember that research and planning are essential when selecting a topic, and it’s important to evaluate your ideas to see if they are viable. Consider narrowing your topic to ensure your points can be adequately addressed. Researching and referencing correctly is also essential for writing an effective essay. Finally, take the time to plan and proofread your work before you submit it.

Good luck with your literature extended essay!


Writing an extended essay in literature can be a rewarding experience for students who take the time to carefully choose, research and develop their topics. The process of selecting a topic involves brainstorming ideas, narrowing them down and considering the relative significance of each topic. Once a topic is selected, students should consider the evaluation requirements and adhere to the guidelines for citing sources in the essay. By following these steps, students can craft high-quality literature extended essays that demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of literature.

This guide has outlined the definition of literature extended essays, described the benefits of writing them, and provided sample topics and tips for choosing, refining, and researching an essay topic. We hope that this guide has offered useful advice and provided students with an easy-to-follow resource for selecting and writing their literature extended essay.

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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