Part 3

  • Part 3: Literature - texts and contexts invites us to look at literary texts in the contexts in which they were written and read.
  • The requirements for Part 3 are presented in this section, along with suggestions on how to meet them. 
  • Strategies on how to meet the learning outcomes can also be found in this section. 

Selected Pages


Requirements 6 November 2013

Part 3 - Literature: texts and contexts focuses on how context influences both the composition and the interpretation of...


Outcomes 12 July 2012

Below are the three learning outcomes that should be met while studying Part 3 of the English A: Language...


Critical Discourse Analysis 5 June 2012

By Debra William-Gualandi Critical discourse analysis (CDA) covers a number of methods and theoretical underpinnings in...


Works 18 February 2012

The nature of Part 3 means that lessons are organized around literary works. Because Part 3 works should be contextually...


Theoretical reading 27 December 2011

What is the philosophy behind Part 3: Literature - text and context? By reading more background information on literary...

Stylistics 5 June 2012

By Debra Williams-Gualandi Stylistics as it has developed in the twentieth century may be considered the study of how linguistic...

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Comments 30

Elizabeth Koshy 6 July 2017 - 06:47

Dear David,
Clarification required on Part 3 works.
The works chosen are 1984 by George Orwell and An Anthology of Commonwealth poetry by C.D.Narasimhaiah.
The second work is not there in the PLA list, but in the anthology there are collections of poems from PLA listed poets like-Nissim Ezekiel, Shaw Neilson,Judith Wright A.K.Ramanujan and Jayanta Mahapatra.
So for Part 3 second work, can I select these poets and deal with their poems for the students and for IOC extracts?

Elizabeth Koshy

David McIntyre 9 July 2017 - 11:07

Hi Elizabeth,

Apologies for a delayed response. I am currently on holiday with very limited access to Internet.

I'm not entirely sure what you are asking. Part 4 works (not Part 3) inform the IOC. If you are asking about texts for Part 4 (and thus the IOC), the works must come from the PLA, and you are not, unfortunately, able to construct the kind of anthology you suggest.

Let me know, please, if I haven't quite understood your question.



Elizabeth Koshy 10 July 2017 - 10:50

Hi David,
Sorry it is for Part 4 works. The work 'An anthology of Commonwealth poetry' by C,D.Narasimhaiah is not listed in PLA, The anthology consists of a collection of 4-5 poems written by acknowledged poets in the PLA list like-Nissim Ezekiel, Shaw Neilson,Judith Wright A.K.Ramanujan and Jayanta Mahapatra. . So as a whole for poetry, can I deal with couple of selected poems of these poets from the anthology.Is it accepted under Part 4,as these poets are there in the PLA list even though the anthology and its author C.D.Narasimhaiah is not mentioned.
-If this sort of an option is not accepted for part 4, then could I use the anthology under Part 3 ,' schools free choice work'.

David McIntyre 10 July 2017 - 13:58

Hi Elizabeth,

If the work is not on the PLA it cannot be used. In addition, the PLA tells teachers that 'texts must be from the same author'.

You can use the work as a free choice for Part 3. However, before doing so, I would think about the potential challenges of writing well about these poems in a Paper 2 exam.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,


Elizabeth Koshy 11 July 2017 - 08:57

Hi David,
Thanks a lot for the clarification. As you have mentioned, it is indeed challenging as a Part 3 comparative work for Paper 2.

Elizabeth Koshy

Dorcas Tirhas 27 July 2017 - 05:45

Hi David/Tim,

Could I ask if "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" is a suitable text to do in Part 3 or is it too short and not considered a Novel?


Tim Pruzinsky 27 July 2017 - 13:23

Hi Dorcas,

There is a large gray area here about novellas. The PLA says students should study "two or more shorter texts such as novellas."

Coming in at 64 pages (depending on the edition), this text would be considered a novella. The PLA requirement would be to find another novella. But it's also unclear. Do both novellas have to be from the same author? I would assume so as this is what has to take place for short stories. It doesn't explicitly spell this out though. You might end up with another novella from a different author, from a different context, from a different time period and geographical location. Like I said, there is some confusion here.

Could you teach "Jekyll and Hyde" in Part 3? The IB is trying to get to parity - something that is really difficult to do - so that a teacher who has their students reading "The Handmaid's Tale" isn't up against a student who only had to read "Jekyll and Hyde." Yet, one might argue that one text is harder to read, understand, and write about.

If you did choose this text, it would have to be your free choice from Part 3. I would ask IB Answers - on the OCC - for a definitive answer, as the PLA and instructions are a bit too murky for my liking.


Silke Neumann 14 August 2017 - 11:36

Hi Tim,

I am studying Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in my course (Part 3). The first part of the book was published on its own ("The Story of a Childhood) as well as together with part 2 ("The story of a Return") in later edition. There also are complete editions that comprise all four parts. Will the students be penalized for referring to only Part 1, or Parts 1 and 2, respectively, as one work, in Paper 2 in the final exam? I am studying the edition with Parts 1+2 and am wondering whether I should restrict them to only Part 1, as it was published separately when it first came out.
Thank you for your advice on this.

Tim Pruzinsky 15 August 2017 - 01:00

Hi Silke,

Everyone who teaches "Persepolis" does it a bit differently. I don't think they will be penalized by only referring to Part 1 of the graphic memoir, but I would teach both Part 1 and 2 myself and ask students to refer to both parts in their Paper 2 - if applicable to the exam question.


Deborah Walker 16 August 2017 - 03:02

Is Frankenstein a text that can be used in Part 4 or anywhere (Part 3?). I can't find it anywhere, so does this mean it's a no go?

Thank you.

Deborah Walker 16 August 2017 - 03:09

Hi David or Tim,
Also, I am right that only two genres, two periods, and two places have to be considered during each part of 3 and 4? I got nervous now because it looked like the guide was suggesting that there be three genres, periods, and places.
Thanks again,

Tim Pruzinsky 16 August 2017 - 04:27

Hi Deborah,

Shelley is not on the PLA and so "Frankenstein" can be your free choice text for Part 3, but it cannot be used in Part 4. And yes, two genres, periods, and places is the syllabus requirement (across Part 3 and Part 4).


Deborah Walker 23 August 2017 - 02:54

Thank you, Tim. BTW, is there a method I might use to easily search the question I may I have asked. I could not remember what I had asked you guys, so it was difficult to find the place. Is there a way for me to search the site for my questions once I have posed them?

Tim Pruzinsky 23 August 2017 - 07:35

Hi Deborah,

You should be able to type in your first name into the search engine at the top right of any page. That usually brings up your "comments" or questions to make it easier.


Gordana Medakovic 24 September 2017 - 13:19

Dear David and Tim,
Please, advise on the following list for Part 3 HL:
1) Maus
2) 1984
3) The Handmaid`s tale

Tim Pruzinsky 24 September 2017 - 15:09

Hi Gordana,

Unfortunately, this won't work. You need a text in translation and it needs to come from the PLT. You'll have to switch a text out and put something from the PLT in your syllabus.


Gordana Medakovic 24 September 2017 - 22:20

Thank you Tim. How about
1) Maus,
2) One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and
3) The Death of a Salesman (or 1984)
The other set could be
1) Handmaid`s Tale
2) A Doll`s House
3) The Awakening or The Streetcar named Desire
Thanks a lot. This will really help.

Tim Pruzinsky 25 September 2017 - 08:34

Hi Gordana,

I like the first one (with 1984) or the 2nd one with "Streetcar." However, all options work and are legit in the eyes of the IB. So, the choice is really up to you. Some teachers ask their students. You might in this case or you might like one option over the other. It's totally up to you!


Delzetha Sinclair Smith 20 November 2017 - 21:00

Hello Tim and David,
it feels great to be a part of a community that offers suggestions and amazing help for teachers of IB; Thank you. here is my question - for my upper sixth SL group ,I did for part 3 STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE & THE LOVER (PLT) and for part 4 : critical study I they did GREAT GATSBY and Emily Dickinson selected for my lower sixth SL group, I chose for part 4 PURPLE HIBISCUS and SELECTED POEMS of ROBERT FROST; for the part 3 texts, I am thinking of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DEVONISCH (PLT) but a bit uncertain as to the free choice ..Any suggestions is welcomed. And are those choices okay?
Kind Regards,

Tim Pruzinsky 21 November 2017 - 23:40

Hi Delzetha,

Your choices are fine. They hit the requirements and satisfy the IB. As for your free choice, many teachers like "1984" or "The Handmaid's Tale." Others prefer teaching something specific to their context (I don't know where you are located - and see the syllabus from Peter below to see what I mean). Finally, I've taught "The Round House" before, by Louise Erdrich for my free choice one year. I liked it, but that might be because of my background. In other words, think of a text that you like, that your students will like, that is literary in nature, and that might fit your context. It doesn't have to do all of these things, but that helps me when deciding my free choice.


Peter Pfister 21 November 2017 - 01:34

Hello Tim and David,
I was hopping around the site and came across something you mentioned about works evidencing 'geographical diversity'. For my Part 3 texts I have chosen three works that all have to do with Vietnam, though each author came from a different country. Just wanted to get your thoughts.
Paradise of the Blind - Work in Translation by a Vietnamese author (PLT)
The Quiet American- Greene - British (PLA)
Vietnamerica- Graphic novel (free choice) by an American son of Vietnamese refugees

I specifically chose them because students are studying SE Asia in their History course (and I teach in SE Asia so I wanted the material to be more connected to their experience). Now I am wondering if I am inadvertently violating some IB principle? BTW we did Dickinson, Frost, and Shakespeare for Part 4 if that makes a difference. Thanks for this and everything on your fabulous site!

Tim Pruzinsky 21 November 2017 - 23:35

Hi Peter,

I wouldn't worry. You are making your syllabus culturally relevant and providing a diversity of voices/experiences to them. Plus, as you mention, your Part 4 would hit a traditional canon - if one could term it that. To me, you've put thought and time into constructing a syllabus you think it worthwhile for your students in your context.


Brenna Cer 14 December 2017 - 20:38

I am working on putting together a unit around "Perfume" and have a question about a possible focus...I am wondering about the idea of judging the novel and its characters/themes based on our modern context v. the context of the novel. Would that make sense to do and move us toward fulfilling the expectations of Pt. 3? Also, do you have any recommended/go-to resources for this novel that you would be willing to share? Thank you!

Tim Pruzinsky 17 December 2017 - 01:38

Hi Brenna,

I think that could make sense and provides a focus. I also don't think you should limit yourself to it. Explore the text both widely and deeply in ways your think are important remembering that Paper 2 will have context, literary, and value/attitude type questions on the exam.

As for recommendations, I don't teach "Perfume" and so I'm of limited help here.


Brenna Cer 19 December 2017 - 16:42

Hi Tim,
Thank you for the guidance! I appreciate it!

Rebecca Miles 20 December 2017 - 09:35


In my school the other language A department (German at my school) teach Streetcar Named Desire for the Part 3 of the course. Is it ok for me to also teach a Tennessee Williams? I was interested in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The other SL text is A Doll's House and that is on the PLT.

Is it ok for SL students to study two plays for Part 3 if they study a prose work in Part 4?

On a different note. I want to recommend a course companion for my students for Language and Lit. Could you recommend one?

Many thanks for your help!

Tim Pruzinsky 21 December 2017 - 03:53

Hi Rebecca,

It's okay to teach Williams, just not the same text. And yes, two plays is okay in Part 3 as long as the other requirements are hit in Part 4. Finally, for a course companion book, the two main ones, or big ones are through Cambridge and Oxford.

Flip through both of them and see which one you like better. I don't know your situation or your students and so I don't know which one will work best for you and your students. But do know that a new course comes out in August of 2019. I don't know you budget at your school, but it is something to keep in mind.


Alfonso Iannone 30 January 2018 - 14:58


On a similar note to Rebecca, in the further guidance there is the requirement of two places, periods, genres etc. Does this need to be in each part (3 and 4 respectively) or collectively across both parts?

My Part 3, for instance, has me teaching Crucible (SL), Jekyll and Hyde (HL) and Dante's Inferno (SL). This covers genres, places, periods and PLT in one part. Do I have to cover the same range in Part 4 or have I achieved that now?

Many thanks,


Tim Pruzinsky 31 January 2018 - 02:40

Hi Alfonso,

It's across both parts of the program. So, you've achieved the balance needed and your Part 4 texts can be anything from the PLA. And while not a requirement, you may choose to have a female writer - or multiple female writers - in Part 4 since Part 3 are all males.


Alfonso Iannone 19 February 2018 - 08:06

Many thanks, Tim. I have Duffy and Austen lined up for Part 4 on the female author front.

Thanks again,

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