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 40

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,

Abigail Faye Rata 2 March 2018 - 08:01


I have a question regarding Part 3 works and Paper 2 assessment for SL students. The prescribed number of works is two (2) for Part 3, am I right? What if three (3) Part 3 works have been discussed? Can the SL student choose to refer to 2 out of the 3 works studied under Part 3? Will that be okay? And instead of noting only 2 works under Part 3, we'll have to note 3 works instead? Thank you very much!


David McIntyre 2 March 2018 - 08:58

Hi Abigail,

The expectation is that SL students study two works. This may be viewed as potentially limiting the agency of teachers and schools to make their own 'best' decisions. However, the number of works both reflects the number of hours recommended for SL study, and reflects the holistic demands of the entire DP programme. In my own view, I often wonder about the potential benefit of studying one additional text. Students might, for example, read for other purposes (beyond formal academic study), or spend time in alternative study, or the pursuit of interest or leisure. Moreover, given the power dynamic that exists between student and teacher, I worry that a student may be reluctant to resist a teacher's desire to study an additional text. That, as I say, is my view, and I respect that others may, with justification, think otherwise. Should you pursue the 3 text option, I don't see this as problematic for the IB. It would be better, in this instance, to approach IB Answers for unequivocal clarification and advice on 'paperwork'.

Kind regards,


Abigail Faye Rata 2 March 2018 - 16:40

Thank you so much, David, for the assistance and professional advice. Good day to you!

Ms. Abigail

Robert Norris 5 March 2018 - 08:34

Hello! Two things: 1) Your site is great and I just wanted to thank you personally for all the really useful and helpful information on here. It's my first year doing English A and this you guys have made things a lot clearer! So, thank you.

2) What do you think of the book choice I have made.... Part 3 - Death and the Maiden + Persepolis, Part 4 - God of Small Things and Macbeth. I'm a little unsure about GOST...
cheers Robert

Tim Pruzinsky 6 March 2018 - 03:54

Hi Robert,

I know many colleagues who teach "The God of Small Things" for Part 4 and really like it. I also think your text choices span a wide range of places, and that's a good thing. In other words, you're all good in the eyes of the IB and look good to go.

Do know that with "Persepolis" you will want to make sure your students have the vocabulary to talk about it as a graphic novel (the author's choices). Sometimes, they get bogged down in plot and forget it is a specific genre that has its own terminology.

And thanks for the kind comments. We appreciate them!


Robert Norris 6 March 2018 - 09:18

Brilliant! Thanks for that tip on Persepolis, I will load them up! cheers Robert

Quana Bice 14 March 2018 - 17:19


I am using two Steinbeck novellas as my free choice for Part 3.

1) On a written task 2 would a student need to discuss both novellas?
2) For paper 2, if the student wishes to discuss Steinbeck, must she or he discuss *both* works in order to "count" as one of the two required paper 2 works?

Thanks for the feedback, I hope we can nail it down as the novella guidelines are indeed a little "murky". : )

Tim Pruzinsky 14 March 2018 - 23:42

Hi Quana,

You're right - the guidelines about novellas aren't super clear! In both the WT2 and the Paper 2, one novella would suffice in the assessment. Especially for a SL student, there isn't the time or space to write about 3 texts in a Paper 2.


Quana Bice 15 March 2018 - 22:33

Thanks for the speedy response!

I am teaching HL...I assume one will suffice for both WT2 and paper 2...even at the HL level.

Tim Pruzinsky 16 March 2018 - 00:26

Hi Quana,

Yes. Of course, some students may write on one of the novellas and another student might write on a different novella (in a Paper 2 for example), and that's okay too.


Quana Bice 23 March 2018 - 17:01

Much thanks.

Linda Lee 12 April 2018 - 02:15

Hi, In my SL class for Part 3, I'm planning to use Maus and the translated work Mulberry and Peach. Would this pairing work? Also is it ok if we only focus on Maus I and leave out volume 2?

Tim Pruzinsky 12 April 2018 - 05:30

Hi Linda,

I don't know "Mulberry and Peach," although after my quick google search, it's now on my list to read! Because I don't know the text, I can't offer advise of how they pair. Do remember that Paper 2 technically isn't a comparative essay. As for only volume 1, I think the decision is up to you; however, I would make sure that if you only deal with volume 1, students indicate this in some way in their Paper 2. Perhaps that is simply using the long version of the title of the text, "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" the first time around.


Linda Lee 7 May 2018 - 07:34

Thanks Tim for the reply. Just wondering which translated work you know of has been paired with Maus in Part 3. Look foward to your response.

Tim Pruzinsky 7 May 2018 - 08:26

Hi Linda,

Apologies, but I don't understand your question. "Mulberry and Peach" is the translated work, from the Chinese. I understand that it is being paired with "Maus," a free choice text originally written in English. You are allowed to choose anything from the PLT to compare to "Maus," just as long as it's listed on the PLT.


Tayyaba Shahid 19 April 2018 - 07:43

Hello, I want to do selected articles of Roxane Gay for my Part 3 freely chosen work. I am confused if I can, as it is non literary text, please guide.

Tim Pruzinsky 20 April 2018 - 01:54

Hi Tayyaba,

Are you thinking about her essay collections "Bad Feminist" or "Hunger" or are you collecting the op-ed writing she has done over a period of time? If it is just a collection of articles and op-eds, then no, I don't think you can select them. If it is a selection of 5-10 essays from "Bad Feminist" then I think it's okay for your free choice text.

I would caution this approach as Part 1 and 2 are so ripe for you to use her work and Part 3 and 4 would present you with the opportunity to balance that with more "traditional" forms of literature. Of course, you don't have to do that, and you can construct your course in a way that fulfils the requirements of the IB and is something you want to teach. I just wanted to throw that out there as something to think about.


Tayyaba Shahid 22 April 2018 - 06:09

Thank you, its a good suggestion that I use the articles or essays for the lang part of the course, and for part 3 select something from literature.

Lorraine Church 20 May 2018 - 18:25

Hi Tim,

I am about to teach part 4 of the course and I am struggling with my selection with regards to IB criteria and censorship in the country I teach in. I have decided on A Doll's House and 1984, due to the fact that the school has copies of them, but I am struggling to decide on the third selection. Ihave been advised that teaching literature with similar themes is advisable. I would love to do A Handmaid's Tale, but I think censorship rules will not allow. Therefore, could you advise on whether The Giver by Lois Lowry would be acceptable as my free choice? Please note I teach ESL students.

Tim Pruzinsky 21 May 2018 - 01:05

Hi Lorraine,

I think "The Giver," even with your ESL cohort, is not going to be well-received. It's a great text! But it is also a text that many schools use in middle school (7th or 8th grade).

Perhaps Fahrenheit 451 would work. You might also do something quite contemporary, like "The Circle" or "City of Thieves." Give them a look, given your student population, and select the text that your students can understand, get into meaty discussions, and write in-depth about.


Lorraine Church 21 May 2018 - 06:54

Thank you.
Is City of Thieves by David Beniof and The Circle by Dave Eggers?

Tim Pruzinsky 22 May 2018 - 06:12

Hi Lorraine,

Yes, that's correct.


Tao McCarthy 24 May 2018 - 08:28

Hi Tim,
I am an experienced teacher about to start with a new group of I.B. students who are smart, all boys and famously badly behaved. I will be teaching SL and HL with an extra lesson given to the HL students. I want to create a Part text list which grabs them as well as meets the needs of the course specifically for Criteria a context and Criteria C. I would like to build a course around Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea ( SL and HL), and I am toying with adding in Wilde's A Picture of Dorian Gray for Higher Level but I cannot decide upon my second standard level text. Any ideas? I had though Perfume but I wanted to widen the thematic connection and keep the theme of childhood going. I had also thought about The Wasp Factory but again I wondered if it might be a bit limiting re context. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Tao McCarthy
Thessaloniki, Greece

Tim Pruzinsky 25 May 2018 - 01:22

Hi Tao,

Thanks for providing your context. That helps a lot when advising! "Slaughterhouse Five" usually goes down quite well with groups of boys. I find this is also true of "The Things They Carried." In the latter case, while childhood isn't exactly explored, there is much to say about masculinity in the text. "Regeneration" by Pat Barker might work as well. Finally, my most out there recommendation will be "American War" by Omar El Akkad. It would be your free choice. It's dystopian, coming of age (but a female protagonist), well-written, contemporary and highly acclaimed.

I realize I've recommended novels that all deal with war in some way. I've done so because I think they will connect well to "Sailor" and I think it will engage your group of students.


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