English Literature A2: What should we understand by ‘Love Through the Ages’


So you’ve decided to do your A2 English Literature and are thinking about that wider reading in the area of ‘Love Through the Ages’ for your A2 exam and you’re starting to worry. Let’s just think first about what the A2 exam is asking of you…

Question 1 asks you to compare two unseen items of the same genre (prose, poetry, drama) and make relevant references to wider reading from the same genre.  For example, if each item is a prose extract, candidates should refer to wider reading prose texts only.

Question 2 asks candidates to compare two unseen items from the two remaining genres and make

relevant references to wider reading from any genre.  For example, if the items in Question 1 were

prose, in Question 2 one item would be a drama extract and the other a poem (or an extract from a poem).

Across the whole paper, a minimum of three wider reading references must be made with at least one wider reading reference to each of the genres of poetry, prose and drama.

So how do we make sure that you have enough wider reader to be able to have a jolly good go at these questions, well first things first, you only have to look at the love of adult people for one another, nothing like the love of money or the love of one’s religion or native land. The other good news is that whilst it is ideal to read complete texts, there are some novels or plays that you may well want to just read extracts from if the ‘love’ element is interesting but not a major part of the story.

The major types of love you need to think about covering are…

  • first love, falling in love and not forgetting falling in love at first sight.
  • Idealised, unrealistic and unrequited love.
  • True and happy love including the love of the long married!
  • Secret love.
  • Jealous/obsessive/false love.
  • Lost love and the emotions resulting from it and the love that lasts beyond death.
  • Love which has been betrayed.
  • Forbidden love.

Obviously some texts will cover several different areas, sort of buy one get one free, and some will give positive views of their particular type of love and some will be very negative but it is very useful to have a balance as who knows what area will come up in the exam!

The final thing to think about is to try and get a mixture of texts from differing time periods so let’s begin have a look at that next time…

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