List Of Outstanding Research Paper Topics In English Literature

The biggest problem with writing a research paper in English Literature is that there is such a huge choice so the task becomes bewildering and perplexing, but hopefully these few ideas will help you make a few choices. Most of these suggestions can be adapted to either the curriculum you have been following or literary works that you have enjoyed as part of extension reading. Ideally you need to start with a broad theme and then try to focus on an area that is specific but interesting both for yourself and your reader.

  1. Look at the gender roles. Does each of the characters follow the expectations of these roles? Make a comparison between the treatments of gender roles in a modern novel in comparison to an historical novel?
  2. In many books or poems that appear quite straight forward on the first reading, there are actually many symbols that are hidden within the story. Give examples of the symbolism across books and poems of the same and/or different eras.
  3. Make a comparison of the social context of two or three books. In particular look at the social behaviour expectations and behaviours of the characters in a Jane Austen Austin novel in comparison to the characters in Bridget Jones Diary.
  4. Some classical novels and poetry will not only tell a story, but will also aim to guide the reader through the political issues of the time. How accurately are these issues reported within the work and how much relies on the readers own understanding?
  5. Compare the treatment that the author gives to the main characters of their work are they consistent in their treatment of the characters? Compare with the work of another author who writes in the same genre.
  6. How effectively does the author from one genre treat their reader in comparison to the author from another genre? How does an historical novelist treat their reader compared to a sci-fi author? Compare and contrast.
  7. Some of Shakespeare’s plays have been modernised (Romeo & Juliet) to name but one), how could some of his other plays cope with being treated in this way? Would the modernisation of the language detract from the story line?
  8. Does what you take away from a piece of work depend on your own ideology or beliefs? If you were a gestalt behaviourist what would your spin on Bill Sykes if you read Oliver Twist?
  9. How much of the author and their experiences do we actually experience when we read a novel? What is their background? Compare at least two books in this way, you may consider Emily Bronte and JK Rowling.
  10. Consider some of the criticisms that have been made about some classical texts. Have the critics changed their views over time? If the Literature was published for the first time in this day and age would it get the same reviews?

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