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AQA English Literature LTA1C Guide: The Struggle for Identity in Modern Literature

David Dunford | Thursday April 03, 2014

Categories: Hot Entries, Poetry, Angelou, And Still I Rise, Duffy, Feminine Gospels, Sheers, Skirrid Hill, Writing, Literary Analysis, Non-Fiction Analysis, Poetry Analysis, AQA A Level English Literature A, LTA1, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level

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What is modern? Strictly since 1900, but most of the texts you study are more recent than that.
Why then? It was the start of more general questioning of attitudes previously assumed to be true. (WW1 was a major catalyst).
What attitudes?

  • Race:  White races superior to all others (and British to be chosen by God to lead the world). British Empire. (Also ethnic or tribal conflict in other areas).
  • Gender: Men to be the breadwinners, the leaders in politics, church, business; women the home makers.
  • Sexuality: Heterosexual marriage the norm; anything else illegal and sinful.
  • Family: Children brought up by own married parents; illegitimacy or adoption major stigma.
  • Religion: Almost entirely Christian in UK and West. Duty to convert “pagans?.
  • Class: Clear and fairly rigid class distinctions; you deserved the class you were in (and probably God willed it that way).

Most people would agree that the virtual disappearance of most of these attitudes represents significant progress; at the same time there are topics that could be seen as bad aspects of modern life:

  • War, destruction, atrocities: Questioning the value of life and what we live for.
  • Age: Older people have been increasingly pushed to one side of society, particularly with the disappearance in many places of extended families.
  • Disability: Disabled people (physical and mental) given few rights or opportunities. Often felt to be an embarrassment.

Some of these have not yet been main subjects of extracts, but could be referred to. Often an extract might deal with more than one of these themes: for example, religion and sexuality.

Section A: Contextual Linking.

What does “Contextual linking? mean?

You are looking for similarities in topic, theme, genre, FSL between an unseen extract and your wider reading. (Please note: you are not asked to say how typical the extract is of modern literature; that requirement disappeared several years ago!) At first sight...


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