IB Literature Extended Essay Topics

Literature extended essay Topic Suggestions

As an established IB tutor with extensive experience in literature, I am pleased to share a selection of inspiring topics for your Literature Extended Essay. This compilation is crafted to reflect the vast landscape of literary studies, offering students a spectrum of topics that bridge the classical to the contemporary.

My journey in guiding students has consistently affirmed that a thoughtfully chosen topic is more than an academic requirement; it’s a window for students to deeply engage with the layers and nuances of literary expression.

IB Literature EE Topic Ideas

This exploration invites students to construct a detailed and persuasive academic narrative, one that not only showcases their analytical skills but also their profound connection with the narrative art.

1. Comparative Literature

  1. Comparing Tragic Heroes in Shakespeare and Sophocles: How do the tragic heroes in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” compare?
  2. The Theme of Love in Classic and Modern Novels: How is the theme of love portrayed differently in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”?
  3. Dystopian Visions in Literature: How do Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World” present different visions of dystopia?
  4. The Journey Motif in World Literature: How is the motif of the journey used in Homer’s “Odyssey” and Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”?
  5. Comparing Feminist Themes in 19th and 20th Century Literature: How do the feminist themes in Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” compare to those in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”?
  6. The Treatment of War in Literature: How is the experience of war depicted in Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”?
  7. Magic Realism in Latin American and African Literature: How do Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and Ben Okri’s “The Famished Road” use magic realism?
  8. The Bildungsroman Across Cultures: How does the bildungsroman differ in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” and Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”?
  9. Comparing Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: How do Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” present contrasting views on colonialism?
  10. The Use of Satire in British and American Literature: How is satire employed in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”?

2. Historical and Cultural Context

  1. The Harlem Renaissance and African American Identity: How does Langston Hughes’ poetry reflect the cultural and social dynamics of the Harlem Renaissance?
  2. The Victorian Novel and Society: How does Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” reflect the social issues of the Victorian era?
  3. The Influence of World War I on Modernist Literature: How did World War I influence the themes and styles of T.S. Eliot’s poetry?
  4. The French Revolution in Literature: How is the French Revolution depicted in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”?
  5. The Jazz Age in American Literature: How does F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” capture the essence of the Jazz Age?
  6. Post-War Japanese Literature: How does Haruki Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” reflect the societal changes in post-war Japan?
  7. The Role of Literature in the Civil Rights Movement: How did Maya Angelou’s works contribute to the Civil Rights Movement?
  8. The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Literature: How does William Blake’s poetry critique the Industrial Revolution?
  9. The Golden Age of Russian Literature: How does Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” reflect the values and concerns of the Russian aristocracy in the 19th century?
  10. The Influence of Irish Culture on James Joyce’s Works: How does “Ulysses” reflect Irish cultural and historical contexts?

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3. Genre and Narrative Techniques

  1. The Evolution of the Gothic Novel: How does Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” contribute to the gothic novel genre?
  2. Stream of Consciousness in Modern Literature: How is stream of consciousness used in Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway”?
  3. The Role of the Anti-Hero in Literature: How does the character of Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” redefine the traditional hero?
  4. The Development of Science Fiction: How does Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series advance the science fiction genre?
  5. The Bildungsroman in Contemporary Literature: How does J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series fit into the bildungsroman genre?
  6. Magical Realism as a Narrative Technique: How does Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” employ magical realism?
  7. The Epistolary Novel: How does the epistolary form affect the narrative in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”?
  8. Tragedy in Ancient Greek Literature: How does Sophocles’ “Antigone” exemplify the elements of Greek tragedy?
  9. The Use of Allegory in Medieval Literature: How is allegory used in Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy”?
  10. The Modern Detective Novel: How does Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” series shape the detective novel genre?

4. Character and Theme Analysis

  1. The Theme of Power in Shakespeare’s Plays: How is the theme of power presented in “Macbeth” and “King Lear”?
  2. The Representation of Women in 19th Century Literature: How are women portrayed in Jane Austen’s novels?
  3. The Concept of Heroism in Epic Literature: How is the concept of heroism portrayed in “Beowulf” and Homer’s “Iliad”?
  4. The Theme of Isolation in Modern Literature: How is the theme of isolation explored in Albert Camus’ “The Stranger”?
  5. Exploring the Antihero in Modern Literature: How does the character of Walter White in “Breaking Bad” redefine the concept of the antihero?
  6. The Role of Nature in Romantic Poetry: How do William Wordsworth’s poems reflect the Romantic era’s view of nature?
  7. The Theme of Redemption in Literature: How is the theme of redemption explored in Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables”?
  8. The Portrayal of Mental Illness in Literature: How is mental illness depicted in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”?
  9. The Concept of Identity in Postcolonial Literature: How is identity explored in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah”?
  10. The Representation of Class in Victorian Literature: How does Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” address class issues?

5. Author-Specific Studies

  1. The Works of William Shakespeare: How does Shakespeare’s use of soliloquy enhance character development in his plays?
  2. The Influence of Edgar Allan Poe on Gothic Fiction: How did Edgar Allan Poe’s works shape the gothic fiction genre?
  3. The Novels of Jane Austen and Social Commentary: How do Jane Austen’s novels critique the social norms of her time?
  4. The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Themes of Death: How does Emily Dickinson’s poetry explore the theme of death?
  5. The Influence of Russian Culture on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Novels: How do Dostoevsky’s novels reflect Russian society and culture?
  6. The Literary Style of Ernest Hemingway: How does Ernest Hemingway’s distinctive writing style contribute to the themes in his novels?
  7. The Themes of Love and Loss in the Poetry of Pablo Neruda: How does Pablo Neruda’s poetry explore the themes of love and loss?
  8. The Social Critiques in Charles Dickens’ Novels: How does Charles Dickens critique society in “Oliver Twist”?
  9. The Symbolism in the Works of Gabriel García Márquez: How does Gabriel García Márquez use symbolism in his novels?
  10. The Exploration of Existentialism in Albert Camus’ Works: How does Albert Camus explore existential themes in his novels?


Bringing our focus to a close on this selection of Literature Extended Essay topics, I hope these ideas have sparked your scholarly interest and literary fervor. The process of composing a Literature Extended Essay is a sophisticated fusion of detailed research, critical textual interpretation, and introspective reflection.

As you refine your topic and advance your research, consider this an opportunity to infuse a distinct voice into the literary academic dialogue. Your essay is an avenue to demonstrate your commitment, inventiveness, and the rich connections that literature weaves between stories, themes, and readers.

Let your essay stand as a tribute to your academic pursuit and a celebration of literature’s timeless capacity to shine light on the complexities of the human condition.

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