Skip to content

Extended Essay Literature Topics

Hey, I'm currently in second year of IB.
For my EE, i have chosen these books
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And below are possible essay topics..
can you recommend the best out of below please?

1. In The Great Gatsby, Nick is the narrator whilst Holden is the narrator in The Catcher in the Rye. How does their language and symbolism affect the main character/themselves?

2. Are Gatsby and Holden insane in the sane world, or are they sane in the insane world?

3. How do minor characters, those that posses traits, emphasize the distinctive characteristics of the main characters?

4. In many novels, individuals struggle to find themselves a purpose in life. However, the effort pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. Focusing on two novels, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ explain Gatsby and Holden’s struggle throughout the novel and how do these to what extents create the meaning of the novels?

Btw, they have to be around 4000 words.
If none of them are apt enough to reach the limit,
do u have any recommendations..

Yes.. I've been seriously concerned about the word limit when choosing those topics. I will be lacking ideas!
Hmm. But now is too late. It's my second year and those are the only books I have read so far for EE.
And yes, my topics are poorly worded.. since I had to made up just then. And tomorrow is my conference day, unfortunately.
Those two novels have a strong correlation though, especially the protagonists : (
I seriously have no idea if they are not good.
& if i choose to do Tender is the Night, should I compare it with TCinR, or just do it on itself?
Many Many thanks..

Mark Beverley23 January 2018 - 15:00

Hi Raghda: students are free to select any author and work for their EE; they are not limited to the PLA - much like the 'free choice' scope in Part 4. The question of literary merit is a difficult one to judge for obvious reasons - and I do not know 'Worm'. 'Watchmen', however, is - in my view - a sophisticated, multi-layered graphic novel, with much to explore, so I would have no doubts there. The question seems to me a valid one too - perhaps qualifying it with 'explore the concept of the unwilling hero'. Watchmen, at least, 'plays' with conventions and tropes associated with superhero fiction and so there is as much to say about the way he presents his story - the post-modern tricks employed - as the story itself. I suspect this may also be true of 'Worm'(?). In other words, encouraging the student to place some significant emphasis on elements of language, form and general craft, is a good principle to adopt. Hope this helps - but sounds to me like a strong essay in the making!