IB English A Extended Essay Topics

English A Extended Essay Topics

In my capacity as an IB tutor deeply immersed in the nuances of language and literature, I am pleased to offer an array of engaging topics for your English A Extended Essay. This assortment, carefully curated, spans a spectrum that includes an analysis of narrative techniques, the exploration of thematic richness, and the critical study of character development across various literary forms.

In mentoring students, I’ve come to appreciate the significance of a topic that resonates on a personal level while challenging intellectual boundaries. This essay is not just an academic exercise; it’s a chance for students to interact with texts in a manner that is both analytical and deeply personal, thereby fostering a comprehensive understanding and insightful critique of the literature in question.

List of IB EE Topics

This process is an opening for students to develop an essay that is a blend of scholarly research and personal engagement with the text, reflecting their ability to critically assess and articulate their insights on complex literary elements.

1. Comparative Literature

  1. Exploring the Theme of Rebellion in ‘1984’ by George Orwell and ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley: How do these novels portray rebellion against a controlling regime?
  2. The Representation of Women in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’: How do these novels portray their female protagonists in the context of their societal norms?
  3. Tragic Flaws in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus Rex’: How do the tragic flaws of the protagonists lead to their downfall?
  4. The Use of Magical Realism in Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’: How do these authors use magical realism to convey historical and political themes?
  5. Comparing the Bildungsroman in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee: How do these novels explore the themes of growth and innocence?
  6. The Theme of Power and Corruption in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: How do these novels explore the corrupting influence of power?
  7. Dystopian Societies in Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’: How do these novels critique contemporary society?
  8. The Use of Satire in Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’: How do these works use satire to comment on human nature and society?
  9. Exploring Racial Themes in Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ and Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’: How do these novels address the issue of race in different historical contexts?
  10. The Depiction of War in Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch-22’: How do these novels portray the realities and absurdities of war?

2. Analysis of a Single Work

  1. Symbolism in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: What does the island symbolize in this novel?
  2. The Role of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’: How is the American Dream portrayed and critiqued in the novel?
  3. Narrative Structure in Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’: How does the narrative structure affect the delivery of the novel’s themes?
  4. The Use of Stream of Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’: How does this narrative technique enhance the novel’s exploration of its characters’ psyches?
  5. The Theme of Isolation in Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’: How does Shelley explore the theme of isolation through her characters?
  6. The Depiction of Mental Illness in Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’: How does Plath portray the experience of mental illness in her novel?
  7. The Role of Nature in Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’: How does Brontë use the natural setting to enhance the novel’s themes?
  8. The Concept of Time in Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’: How does Vonnegut’s non-linear narrative reflect his themes about time and war?
  9. The Use of Irony in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’: How does Austen use irony to critique social norms of her time?
  10. The Theme of Redemption in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’: How does Dickens explore the theme of redemption throughout the novel?

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3. Historical and Cultural Context

  1. The Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes’ Poetry: How does Hughes’ poetry reflect the themes of the Harlem Renaissance?
  2. The Victorian Era and Charles Dickens’ Novels: How do Dickens’ novels reflect and critique Victorian society?
  3. The Influence of World War I on the Poetry of Wilfred Owen: How does Owen’s poetry capture the realities of World War I?
  4. The Jazz Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Works: How do Fitzgerald’s novels reflect the ethos of the Jazz Age?
  5. The Role of Colonialism in Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’: How does Conrad critique colonialism in his novel?
  6. The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Maya Angelou’s Literature: How does Angelou’s work reflect the struggles and aspirations of the Civil Rights Movement?
  7. The French Revolution and its Influence on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’: How does Dickens portray the French Revolution in his novel?
  8. The Great Depression and John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’: How does Steinbeck’s novel reflect the social and economic issues of the Great Depression?
  9. The Influence of Feminism on Virginia Woolf’s Writing: How does Woolf’s work reflect her feminist views?
  10. The Cultural and Social Context of George Orwell’s ‘1984’: How does Orwell’s novel reflect the political and social anxieties of his time?

4. Author Studies

  1. The Evolution of Ernest Hemingway’s Writing Style: How did Hemingway’s style change and develop throughout his career?
  2. The Themes of Love and Loss in William Shakespeare’s Plays: How does Shakespeare explore these themes across his works?
  3. The Influence of Edgar Allan Poe’s Personal Life on His Horror Stories: How do Poe’s personal experiences reflect in his tales of horror and mystery?
  4. The Recurring Motifs in Toni Morrison’s Novels: How do recurring motifs enhance the themes in Morrison’s novels?
  5. The Exploration of Existentialism in Albert Camus’ Novels: How does Camus use his novels to explore existential themes?
  6. The Role of Social Commentary in Charles Dickens’ Novels: How does Dickens use his novels to comment on social issues of his time?
  7. The Depiction of War in Ernest Hemingway’s Novels: How does Hemingway portray the experience of war in his novels?
  8. The Use of Magical Realism in Gabriel García Márquez’s Novels: How does Márquez use magical realism to convey his narrative?
  9. The Portrayal of American Society in John Steinbeck’s Novels: How does Steinbeck’s work reflect his views on American society?
  10. The Influence of Russian Culture and History on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Novels: How do Dostoevsky’s novels reflect the culture and history of Russia?


As we conclude this selection of English A Extended Essay topics, I hope these suggestions have stimulated your desire for literary exploration and critical analysis. Crafting such an essay is an intricate process that intertwines close reading, thoughtful consideration, and articulate expression of complex ideas.

As you narrow down your topic and immerse yourself in your chosen literary works, see this as a unique opportunity to showcase your analytical skills and your ability to engage with texts on a profound level. This essay is your stage to demonstrate not only your academic prowess but also your capacity to dissect and interpret literature in a way that is both meaningful and insightful.

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