Meet the New Bloggers!

Hi, we’re your new English Literature bloggers.

Unfortunately, Ella, Beth and Hadiyah have moved on to university where they will be studying and so they can no longer update the blog! We’ve been selected to replace them and continue to post great resources like revision notes and mind maps. We will start sporadically now but will pick it up properly in September. We also have notes for year 12 topics so don’t be alarmed if there is some overlap in what we post.

We will be making some changes too — but don’t be scared, we’re sure you’ll love them!

Maria, Martha, Oliver

P.S. You can always contact us on — we love corresponding, penpalship is the future.


Finally Desdemona! – Othello

How would a Shakespearean audience have responded to Desdemona?

In Act I, Scene III, we finally meet Desdemona. Through her dialogue it is evident that she has a duality of both submissive attitude and assertiveness. She was owned by her father up until she got married to Othello. This is the argument she uses when she pleads “I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband.” The word ‘hitherto’ implies her new identity as a wife supersedes the previous one as a daughter. As she married Othello behind Brabantio’s back, we see her as an assertive figure who marries for love, but as a Shakespearean audience would have sympathised with Brabantio’s anger because a marriage usually benefit the family in either the way of money or status, but here he has scandal. Although Desdemona does use some imperatives against the male figures in the play, “let me find a charter in your voice”, a woman of the time was expected to be obedient and “submit [them]selves unto [their] husbands” as the Book of Common Prayer told them. As an audience would have read this they would perhaps be troubled at the levelness that Othello and Desdemona share the equality in their relationship. A modern audience would respect this dynamic more, yet wouldn’t agree with the idea that she is still passed over to Othello, who tells her to “come” as well as speaking for her.



A2 Content Coming Soon!

Image © DH Leonard

The AS English exams are over, and for most people, this year’s exams are either finished or coming to a close.

We’ve had a few people request that we continue blogging when we start the A2 content next year (although we will actually be starting it at the end of this year), which we are happy to do – however, we’ll still be called AS English Blog, and we’ll still leave all of our existing posts on the blog for anyone who needs them. We will create a new A2 category where you will be able to find all posts specific to A2.

We will be studying the same texts next year as we have done this year (FrankensteinThe Handmaid’s TaleA Streetcar Named Desire and Poems of the Decade), with the addition of Shakespeare’s Othello, and a collection of Romantic poetry (we’ll find out the exact collection soon).

See you soon! We will still be checking the blog in the meantime, so feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

~ Beth, Ella and Hadiyah

One Down, One To Go!


We hope everyone found the exam alright today. If not, don’t worry, there’s still another one to go! We’ll keep posting prose tips up until Wednesday night, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Good luck!

Good Luck for Poetry & Drama!

Just a quick post from us at blogasenglish to wish everyone taking the Poetry & Drama exam tomorrow morning the very best of luck! Everyone has worked sooo hard and as long as you pick the question you feel most confident with, think carefully about the poem you will choose to compare and put in many alternative Streetcar opinions (as well as all the other correct AOs), you will do amazingly! Feel free to ask anymore questions and we’ll do our best to answer before we head off to bed before the big day 🙂

Ella, Beth & Hadiyah


Attention AS Level Students!

Image © AB Wallpapers

Thank you so much for all of the positive feedback we’ve had from this blog! It’s so nice to know that it’s helping people with their revision, and some of you have also shared some very interesting ideas in the comments.

As the English blog has been such a success, a second group of us have put together a blog for the Edexcel AS Music specification. This will include revision notes on each of the set works (similar to the poetry notes on this blog), as well as sample 10 and 18 mark answers, and potentially some sample chorales as well.

You can find the blog here, please let any of your friends who take music know!


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Masculinity – Streetcar Themes

Image: Marlon Brando© Kitchen With a View

“There’s even something-sub-human-something not quite to the stage of humanity yet!…Stanley Kowalski-survivor of the Stone Age! Bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle!”

Quick Points

  • Stanley Kowalski is the antagonist in the play and is the embodiment of masculinity which in Streetcar, represents aggression, control, violence and physicality.
  • Adding to the idea that the play explores the conflict between the old and new America is the lack of gentlemanly manners possessed by the men “No one is going to get up so don’t worry!”
  • Throughout their is a balance of masculinity being brutish and dangerous, somewhat caveman like, and another than is sexually appealing, especially to the somewhat oppressed (traditionally from their sexuality) southern belles Blanche and Stella
  • Masculinity is often associated with animalistic traits

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On Her Blindness – Revision Notes

Image: Blind Eye© Vimeo

‘On Her Blindness’ by Adam Thorpe is unusual territory when it comes to poetry because normally sight is dominant in poetry, yet the exploration of the mother’s loss of sight is unnerving. He uses direct experiences to demonstrate the impact that this disability had on his mother through details such as eating, dodgem-like awkwardness, and the long list of things she did while pretending she could still see, provoking sympathy from the reader as she exists in a ‘living hell’.

These details also remind us that she has become the “observed instead of the observing” – may suggests embarrassment to contrast with the fact that she “kept her dignity”.

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