Part 3 - Literature: texts and contexts focuses on how context influences both the composition and the interpretation of literary texts. Here are several requirements to keep in mind when planning or studying Part 3 of the English A: language and literature course. 


Given the small number of texts, and the fact that 25% of the final IB grade is based on the way these texts are used in one essay question, we can assume that a significant amount of dedicated time and a detailed and varied approach to the texts are expected. Calendar suggestions are provided under the sequence section of the site. It makes sense to present these texts towards the end of the second year of study, as they will be the material that students will refer to on the Paper 2 part of the final exam. Another option may be to present one of the three texts during the first year, and to review it during the second half of the second year. In this case, the review of the first text, and comparisons between texts, would be planned into the study of the second and third texts from the outset. 

Standard Level Two literary texts:

One from the Prescribed Literature in Translation list (PLT),

One from the Prescribed book list (PLA) for the language studied or chosen freely, originally written in English.


Higher Level Three literary texts:


One from the PLT,

One from the PLA for the language studied,

One chosen freely, which may be in translation.



The following hours of tuition should be spent on Part 3 and preparation for its corresponding forms of assessment

 40 hours

 70 hours


The Paper 2 exam is an essay on one of six unseen questions. Students answer one of the questions with reference to at least two of the Part 3 literary works that were studied in class. Students receive 1.5 hours at SL and 2 hours at HL to write their essay. This form of assessment is also externally assessed for 25% of the final mark. 

At SL students must also write at least one written task based on a literary work from either Parts 3 or 4. At HL students must write at least one written task based on a literary work from Part 3 and also one based on a work from Part 4.

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.

Comments 71

Sonali Joshi 20 January 2017 - 05:25

HiTim, we are looking for our Part 3 (SL) group-The women at Point Zero and The Importance of being Earnest / A Street Car Named Desire. Please advise between TIOBE and ASCND which would be better.

Tim Pruzinsky 22 January 2017 - 11:45

Hi Sonali,

It's really up to you. I also don't know your Part 4 works and I like to think about creating an entire syllabus, not just parts. And, of course, do you want to, or need to teach a 19th century text. If so, "Earnest" is the way to go. If not, you'll want to think about the benefits of a tragedy or a comedy; you will want to think about which one pairs better with "Point Zero" in your eyes; you will want to think about your students and their ability level; and you will want to think about what type of syllabus you want for your students when looking at it overall.

I think both are great plays and I think both could work well. It's really up to you as you have more knowledge - on the ground - in this case.


Stewart Schmid 23 February 2017 - 04:46

Hi Guys,
I have a Lang/Lit extended essay question I hope one you can answer. I have a student who has done his extended essay on Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements. He has embedded an image to help support his analysis, but is having a hard time finding the advert creator. He wants to cite it correctly (works cited page) so there is not an issue with unintentional plagiarism. The advertisement is for an American company called Kenwood. Can he cite the company name on the works cited? Or do you recommend another possible way to cite the advert.

Thanks for your advice,

Tim Pruzinsky 24 February 2017 - 00:09

Hi Stewart,

I understand the concern. I'm having the same issue with some WT1's right now. I'm not too worried about who created it, although that would be ideal. I'm more worried, with my students, about where they got it from. As long as they can show that, I'm okay with it.

So, he must be able to find the image somewhere online. How did he get it in the first place? Even if he has to cite something like "Pinterest," and even though that person who posted it didn't create it, citing it in that way should be enough.

That way, the examiner (or any researcher, since that's the whole point), could go to the source and see what he is referring to. I think that should work.


Rene Romero 24 February 2017 - 21:51

We've made the change from Literature to Language and Literature. The works I'm thinking for Part 3 are: Woman at Point Zero, Streetcar named Desire, and The Namesake (Lahiri) as my free choice. Do these seem to work okay?


David McIntyre 25 February 2017 - 01:40

Hi Rene,

It looks fine. I taught The Namesake on an undergraduate course quite a few years ago; the students enjoyed it.

Obviously, you need to give consideration to genre and period in your Part 4 choices to adhere to course requirements.

Best regards,


Stewart Schmid 26 February 2017 - 03:40

Hi Tim,
Thanks for your response. I appreciate your time and value your perspective.

Laura Callen 16 May 2017 - 17:29

Hi David,
I am hoping you can tell me if these pieces of literature work for Parts 3 & 4.
Part 3:
PLT: The Heart of Darkness (novella, C19, Europe) - do I need another novella or can I do some short stories? Any suggestions?
Choice: Great Gatsby (novel, C20, USA)
Part 4: Hamlet (C16/C17, Europe) & Selected Poetry by Langston Hughes (10 poems or 10 short stories)

Please advise...

Laura Callen 16 May 2017 - 18:58

Hi David, Just would like to add Part 3, PLT: The Bluest Eye (novella, C20, USA) as my other novella. What do you think?

I'd love any suggestions for different literature choices that you think might be better to use.


Laura Callen 16 May 2017 - 19:08

Looks like I may need to change Selected Poetry to something other than an American Author... John Donne (C16/17, Europe). Thoughts?

Tim Pruzinsky 17 May 2017 - 01:35

Hi Laura,

I'm a bit confused as to your exact list right now. I think it is as such:

Part 3:
1. Heart of Darkness OR The Bluest Eye. Do not chose both.
2. Great Gatsby

Part 4:
1. Hamlet
2. Hughes poetry OR Donne poetry

You have 2 places (Europe and the U.S), you have two time periods, and you have two (or more) genres. This works. However, your PLT selection does not. You must study a work in translation in Part 3. You don't have that. Heart of Darkness will not work nor will The Bluest Eye as both were written in English. So, Part 3 is one text in English from the PLA or free choice and one text from the PLT.

I hope that helps clarify things. You'll have to go back to the drawing board on this one.


Laura Callen 18 May 2017 - 17:22

Thanks Tim,
Part 3: I'd really like to teach the Great Gatsby, can you give me a suggestion of a PLT that would work with similar themes: capitalism, american dream

Laura Callen 18 May 2017 - 18:58

Any suggestions for a PLT that would go well with either Great Gatsby or The Bluest Eye.

OR if I were to choose...
One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, do you think Night by Elie Wiesel or Man’s Search for Meaning would be a good text to teach with it?


Laura Callen 18 May 2017 - 19:20

OR Persepolis and Fahrenheit 451 for Part 3...?

Laura Callen 18 May 2017 - 20:09

OR One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich with Snow Falling on Cedars - for Part 3?

Laura Callen 18 May 2017 - 20:36

Hi Tim,
Sorry for all the messages. If you would kindly just respond to this one. After careful consideration, I am deciding between:
PLT: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Choice: Snow Falling on Cedars
PLT: Persepolis
Choice: Fahrenheit 451 OR 1984
Please let me know if these work, and if so, which combination you think would be best to teach.
Thank you kindly for your time. And again, I apologize for all the messages... Just need to get this figured out asap.

Tim Pruzinsky 19 May 2017 - 00:51

Hi Laura,

I think it's key to think about your students, demographic, and particular context when selecting texts. I don't have that information or that knowledge of teaching in your community.

I think the more bold choice is teaching "Snow Falling on Cedars." I loved it myself and I think it would work in combination with "One Day." If you want the more traditional route, go with "1984" and "Persepolis."

Because I rarely see "Cedars" being taught (although I'm sure it is), I would say go with that one. It could be quite exciting to teach!


Laura Callen 19 May 2017 - 19:23

I'm still waffling because I'd really like to teach the Great Gatsby. Should I decide to teach the Great Gatsby (novel/C20/USA) in Part 3, can you suggest a PLT that would go well with it? I am likely teaching The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (SS, C20, USA) selected short stories (5-10), Ernest Hemingway & The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (novel, C20, Canada) for Part 4. So, I'll need something from a different time and place.

Thank you,

Laura Callen 19 May 2017 - 19:48

Is The Stranger a PLT? I can't find it on the list?

Tim Pruzinsky 21 May 2017 - 11:31

Hi Laura,

Yes, "The Stranger" is on the PLT. But you will most likely need a play from the 19th century if you are going with the list in the previous post. Ibsen works well ("A Doll's House" or "Hedda Gabler" both come to mind).

I'm not sure how well it pairs with "The Great Gatsby" and you might decide to teach "Gatsby" in Part 4 (a common option) and put "The Handmaid's Tale" in Part 3 which will work with "A Doll's House" nicely. That decision is up to you though, of course.


Fiona Macleod 2 June 2017 - 14:29

Dear Tim, could you just confirm to me that neither Sebastian Faulks nor Robert Harris are on the PLA? Eveery time I go into the list it boots me out. Am assuming they are not! With this in mind, would you mind telling me if the following works? Part 3 The Kite Runner, Persepolis, HL free If this is a man and Part 4 For whom the Bell Tolls, A tale of two cities and various Owen poetry - guess the link!! Ideally I didn't really want to do TKR again, but am struggling to find something about War which isn't in translation (like the Sorrow of war for eg); Any suggestions gratefully received. Kind regards, Fiona

Fiona Macleod 2 June 2017 - 14:38

Also another question, sorry! What happens if some of the poems fall short of 40 lines re the IOC - presumably one has to provide a poem of at least 40 lines for the student to analyse?

David McIntyre 2 June 2017 - 15:21

Hi Fiona,

You have have a few questions here. Let me see if I can take them in turn:

1. Faulks and Harris are not on the PLA - you are correct.

2. For your part 3 works at HL you require one text from the PLA. I don't see it. Am I missing something?

3. For the IOC, the maximum number of lines is 40. In many instances, texts and extracts significantly less than 40 lines work very well.

So, let's talk about your second point (2, above). You have Persepolis, If This is a Man, and The Kite Runner as possible options. The first two of these can work as your PLT choice and/or free choice at HL. At SL you need a text that is originally written in English. That could be The Kite Runner, and you can choose either Satrapi or Levi as the other text. However, you require a text from the PLA for HL, and you don't currently have that.

You seem fine with regard to other prescriptions.If you tell me what kinds of connections you want to make in Part 3, Tim and I can probably pitch a few suggestions your way.



Fiona Macleod 2 June 2017 - 21:01

Hi D

Fiona Macleod 2 June 2017 - 21:09

Hi David, clearly I am a little confused. I was under the misconception that I could choose, as a free HLchoice, a text from either the PLA of PLT, hence why I have Persepolis and If this is a man. Troubles was my second choice, but having studied it this year, my class found it rather a 'trudge'. I love it and though very little is written about Farrell or the book, I nevertheless feel it is a fabulous read. If you could offer an alternative, I would love help. The PLA list with Owen, Dickens and Hemingway all fine? The theme is War. I am passionate about it and feel there is so much more than 'just literature' the students can get out of it. I am fairly well read but there are so many texts, having read your and Tim's input that I realise I don't know,so if you could offer me an alternatives I would be very grateful.Many thanks

David McIntyre 5 June 2017 - 03:56

At HL, Fiona, you could have both Satrapi and Levi, but you also need a text from the PLA - and it is that I don't see. Given your selection in Part 3, you can pretty much choose any text from the PLA. You don't need a connection between the texts, but it can often be a useful fulcrum if they do cohere at some level. Thus, if you do choose both Persepolis and If This is a Man, what is the connection? What 'third' text connects with the first two? Many things can influence your decision; not least your local circumstance and your own student body - what are their abilities and potential interests? You already have a very lengthy text (Dickens), so possibly you do not want an additional house brick sized text. What will you study in Parts 1 and 2? Can your Part 3 PLA text segue with this? At present, 4 of 5 texts are written by men; do you want to include another woman? Would/should you teach a text from another part of the English-speaking world such as, say, India or Australia? Do you want to include a writer with a different ethnicity, sexual orientation, or world view?

In short , I think, you are looking for a text from the PLA, and there are many, sometimes competing, considerations to make. Feel free to ask for further advice or opinion as you continue to develop your ideas.

Kind regards,


Fiona Macleod 6 June 2017 - 21:16

I thought Hosseini was on the PLA, my mistake. Will sort, many thanks.

Fiona Macleod 6 June 2017 - 22:02

Part 3 PLA Things Fall Apart, Persepolis and If this is a man (HL free choice). Part 4 poems by Owen, A Tale of two cities and In the Shadow of War. Hopefully this makes more sense. It ties in with several topics in parts 1 and 2 (persuasive language/language and power/ British Empire) and though I've chosen predominantly male authors, have nevertheless considered texts from other English-speaking continents. Many thanks for the advice.

David McIntyre 7 June 2017 - 07:19

That looks just fine, Fiona :)


sebastian wierny 12 June 2017 - 11:05


I will be teaching English A Language and Literature for the first time and I think it would be best if I teach texts that I am well acquainted with. Could you tell me what are your thoughts on the following list?

Part 3:
SL-HL Jorge Luis Borges's short stories (PLT) 20thC
SL-HL "Waiting for Godot" (PLA) 20thC (two authors from the same century... shall I change one?)
HL- "Don Quijote" (PLT)

Part 4:
SL-HL "The Tempest" (Shakespeare) (PLA)
SL-HL William Shakespeare: Selected Poems (PLA)
HL- Robert Frost: Selected Poems (PLA)

Thanks in advance,


Tim Pruzinsky 12 June 2017 - 11:47

Hi Sebastian,

Because I don't know your students or your context, I find it a bit difficult to provide specific and concrete advice about your syllabus selection. With that said, I will take you through some thoughts and then end with some requirements by the IB.

I know, for example, HL L/L students at my school would struggle under the weight of the texts you propose and I'm not sure many of my students would get through "Don Quixote." That's not a reason not to teach a seminal text! I just point it out as a potential area of concern moving forward. The same could be said for the very difficult short stories of Borges. Again, this is not a reason not to teach him. It's just something I want to mention, especially since I don't know your SL cohort of students. I think teacher enthusiasm for a text trumps most pitfalls students may encounter and if you enjoy getting teens to read/analyze/interpret these texts, I'm all for it!

On more practical matters, you can't have two Shakespeare texts in Part 4 even if they are different genres. One will have to go and be replaced by something else from the PLA.

For Part 3, it looks like "Waiting for Godot" is your PLA text, and so you are not teaching it as a text in translation (know that it is possible to do so here). That might help if you change your mind and want to add a 19th century text in there, but you have covered your time period requirement so know that it's not necessary in the eyes of the IB.

David and I both love teaching this course and we hope you have a great experience with it too!


sebastian wierny 12 June 2017 - 15:33

Hi Tim,

Thanks a lot for your detailed response.

The reason I have chosen "Don Quixote" has to do with the fact that I am doing my PhD on the novel, but even more importantly, that it is considered "the best novel ever written and I truly believe that. Also, I am convinced that it is the most readable of all classic novels.
( ).

However, I completely agree with you that teaching the whole novel (two novels in one actually: part 1 and 2) could be burdensome for DP students.

For that reason there are parts of the book that I would most likely skip due to the length of the novel and the relative difficulty of some of the chapters. Thus, my question: "can one teach parts of a book, that is,
assign specific chapters (related to the predetermined themes)?

With regards to the short stories of Borges, I am not even dreaming of teaching the metaphysical ones in the "Aleph" (Which are probably the most well-known ones), but rather, the more accessible ones that Borges wrote in his old age ( )

Each of the stories can be read in 15 minutes....

Also, as a native of Argentina, I could provide useful contextual information for each of the stories as well as refer to the original Spanish versions...

On another note, my only experience as a English A teacher was when I did a paternity cover in Germany. I really had a difficult time having to teach books that seem "popular" in IB courses but focus on somber and depressing themes: "The Road", Sylvia Plath, "Waiting for Godot"... I would enjoy teaching Beckett's play again, as long as not ALL the other texts deal with suicide, existential angst, so explicitly at least...

The only other books that I have taught before are "Candide" and "The Pearl"(Steinbeck) (not too crazy about this one).

So basically what I would like to know is whether I can assign parts of a long book and if I can teach an author like Borges as long as I select student appropriate stories.

Thanks so much for your valuable advice,


sebastian wierny 12 June 2017 - 15:38

As for the Part 4 texts, I will need to replace Shakespeare as I have him twice in the list...

Is it possible to choose Robert Browning even though his dramatic poems are too long for IOCs?


Tim Pruzinsky 13 June 2017 - 14:43

Hi Sebastian,

I think you'll have to assign the whole novel to be read. However, that doesn't mean you have to cover/teach/analyze all aspects of the novel. You obviously have a passion for it and I think it will pay off with your students. You also have completely valid reasons for teaching Borges's short stories. I say go for it!

As for Browning, it is possible to choose his dramatic poems, even if they are too long for the IOC. However, I would recommend that you preview them first. Can you cut the poems down to 30-40 lines for the IOC assessment? Will students still be successful with them even if they are cut? I don't have the answers to these questions. But, if you think you can teach them as they were originally written and you can cut them down to 30-40 lines for the assessment, then by all means proceed. I will mean you will have both Frost and Browning for HL IOCs and that may be a lot of poems/poetry for your students. I don't think that's a problem, but rather just something to be aware of when constructing the syllabus. Do you want a novel there instead? Again, the IB will be okay with whatever you choose as long as you choose something from the PLA.

I also appreciate you thinking about not depressing the students and I bet it will be something they appreciate as well!


sebastian wierny 16 June 2017 - 13:26

Hi Tim,

Many thanks for your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

I will definitely select one text for poetry: Browning.

As for teaching "Don Quixote", the problem is that it consists of two books and 992 pages. Any practical suggestions on how to deal with such a long book? Maybe do Part 1 the first year and part 2 the second?

After taking into account your thoughts and suggestions, here is another tentative list:

part 3:

Borges's short stories (PLT) SL/HL
Waiting for Godot (PLA) SL/HL
Don Quixote (PLT / free choice) HL

part 4:

The Tempest (Shakespeare) SL/HL
A novel? a play? SL/HL
Robert Browning's poetry HL

And finally, would you have a tip on how to be sure that (most) students actually do the assigned readings for each class?

Thanks again,


Tim Pruzinsky 17 June 2017 - 09:52

Hi Sebastian,

Unfortunately, I don't know "Don Quixote" well enough to advise you. I'd say this though: you know the text and love it. Trust your gut about where students should spend their time and energy in the novel.

I would advise that you teach the entire book at once. Since this is their Paper 2 exam text, it makes sense to teach it in Year 2 in my eyes. Finally, think about what novel you might want to compliment the other texts. A female novelist perhaps makes sense here as that is missing right now (although not a requirement by the IB). "The Handmaid's Tale" is a popular choice as is "The God of Small Things." You might choose something by Toni Morrison. It's really up to you.

As for getting students to read, that's a constant battle. Oddly enough, I think if you develop a respectful rapport with your students, they tend to mimic that treatment back and do the work. I tend to use this route.

If need be, many teachers quiz students when they need to check for understanding. Finally, I think if you love the texts, and sing their praises, they will want to see why.


sebastian wierny 19 June 2017 - 13:16

Thanks a lot Tim for the comments and suggestions.

I will definitely take a look at the suggested novels by female authors and see if I can add them to my list.



Noah Mass 19 June 2017 - 05:54

Hi Tim:

If I choose a book of short stories as one of my Part III texts, such as Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, will the student be choosing one of the stories from the collection to write about alongside another one of the texts--the others will be a novel and a play--in her response to the question for Paper 2, or will she be responsible for multiple stories from that collection?



David McIntyre 19 June 2017 - 06:57

Hi Noah,

The IB, as far as I know, have no clear directive on this. You are given guidance (in the PLA) on how many short stories constitute a work, but you are not given guidance on how to apply this in Paper 2 responses.

Over many years, and having read thousands of Paper 2 responses, I have seen approaches where one short story is discussed, and I have seen approaches where two or more are discussed (within the same work). I have to say - and this is just personal opinion - that neither approach has seemed particularly successful. With one short story, there is insufficient material to write about, and discussing two or more inserts some imbalance into the essay.

This is not to say that writing a Paper 2, and including detail on one or more short stories cannot be successful; I'm only relating an idiosyncratic observation.

I don't want to tell you what you should or should not do (that would be arrogant), but I do suggest you think about how students will/can handle one or more stories in a Paper 2 response.

I hope this helps,


Hunter Minks 26 June 2017 - 06:34

Hi Tim and David,

Is it possible to have my PLT choice as an originally English text IF my free choice is in translation. Here's what I'm thinking:

Aidoo, The Dilemma of a Ghost (on the PLT and the PLA, but in English)
Kundera, The Joke (Kundera has other texts on the PLT, but not this one)
HL - Nie, Mulberry & Peach

Also, I feel like Mulberry & Peach is somewhat of an obscure selection. Is this to the students' disadvantage? I lived in China for quite some time, and am familiar with 20th century Chinese history and culture, so I wanted to work that into my course, but would be better to select a more widely known text? The other option is to switch either Mulberry & Peach or The Joke with The Kite Runner (it would become the HL work).

For reference, my Part 4 selections are Macbeth, 1984, and Welcome to the Monkey House

Hunter Minks 26 June 2017 - 06:50

Looking at this again, I realize an easy fix is to switch The Joke as the HL text. Then Mulberry & Peach is the translation text for both groups.

However, the same question applies if I did The Kite Runner in place of M&P. I would still have a translation and a text from the PLT, but the PLT text is originally in English.

David McIntyre 3 July 2017 - 18:52

Hi Hunter,

Apologies for a delayed response. I am currently on holiday and have very limited access to Internet. You require a text from the PLT. Your 'free choice' can, of course, be in translation, but if it is not on the PLT, you are not fulfilling course requirements (if you have no PLT text in translation selected). I'm afraid I am not familiar with 'Mulberry and Peach'. You are, and that familiarity is not unimportant. However, I think your most significant concern is the students you teach. Is the text accessible enough, of interest, and does it build into your course as a whole? That it is an 'obscure' selection is, to my mind, neither here not there.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,


Noah Mass 24 July 2017 - 14:51

I've settled on a somewhat idiosyncratic list for my Part 3: Ibsen's A Doll's House (from PLT) O'Brien's The Things They Carried (from PLA), and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake (as a free choice). My question is more about mixing genres than about the choices themselves: unlike Paper 2 for the Literature course, Lang and Lit's Paper 2 doesn't require that the texts from Part 3 be of the same genre. How conscious of genre differences should the students be in their written response to the question that they choose?

Tim Pruzinsky 25 July 2017 - 14:56

Hi Noah,

It really depends on the question. If it is a question about setting, then genre differences would most likely be a part of the response. There are drama specific conventions that would allow the student to show explicit knowledge about the dramatist's choices in contrast to how O'Brien constructs the setting in "The Things They Carried." Yet, as you mention, it's not a specific requirement because the question might not lend itself to genre specific techniques (and Part 3 texts may mix and match genres).

When and if it is appropriate, I encourage my students to discuss genre specific techniques, but all questions do not lend themselves to it and so it's not necessary.


-- This comment has been deleted --

Maha abou chaar 29 July 2017 - 10:45

Hi Tim,
Thank you for the suggestions.
I am thinking of teaching The Merchant of Venice, Collection of Stories for Edgar Allan Poe and Animal Farm for part 4.
Regarding part 3, I am thinking of Persepolis, The Crucible and Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde(HL). Do you think this is a good choice?

Thanks again

Tim Pruzinsky 29 July 2017 - 13:40

Hi Maha,

Thanks for the more detailed information. It helps in advising you. You have chosen two novellas in two different sections of the course. The PLA stipulates that you must teach two novellas (so four in your case) if you go down that genre route. But the PLA is also a bit unclear about it as well. It's not clean cut. For that reason, I am hesitant to give you the "all clear" sign for your syllabus.

I just advised another subscriber to go through IB Answers (on the OCC, the IBO's website for teachers) for novellas. They can give you a definitive answer about "Jekyll and Hyde" as well as "Animal Farm."

If they come back and say it's fine to teach just "Jekyll and Hyde" in Part 3 (and just "Animal Farm" in Part 4) and you don't need to pick up a second novella, then you are all good and your syllabus fits the requirements.

Do let me know their response when you find out. I don't want to advise you and be wrong in this very gray area that the IB has not made clear.


Maha abou chaar 25 July 2017 - 11:06

Hi Tim and David,
I have chosen Pygmalion, Collection of stories (Edgar Allan Poe) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for part 4.
I also chose Persepolis for part three. Can you please suggest two more titles for part 3?
Thank You

Tim Pruzinsky 29 July 2017 - 13:40

Hi Maha,

Unfortunately, you can't choose "Jekyll and Hyde" for Part 4. It's not on the PLA. You could for Part 3 for your free choice text. If that happened, I would suggest a poet for Part 4 - Duffy, Atwood, Frost, or Heaney maybe.

You might also want to teach a novel for Part 3. 1984, A Handmaid's Tale, The Road, The Things They Carried, The Remains of the Day are all possibilities among other great options out there. You'll then have to decide if you want to teach a 2nd novel or a mix of genres. Perhaps a play by Williams, Miller, Pinter, or Shaeffer.

When you get a chance, let me know what you have narrowed it down to and I can help you from there.


Maha abou chaar 30 July 2017 - 18:01

Hi again Tim,
I submitted the question and waiting for a reply from the OCC. However, to be on the safe side, I reconsidered my choices and will do Persepolis, the Black Boy for SL and Great Expectations for HL. This is regarding part 3.
As for part 4, The Merchant of Venice, Collection of stories for Edgar Allan Poe and The Crucible
Can I do two plays in Part 4?
Thanks again,

Dorcas Tirhas 3 August 2017 - 04:20

Hi Tim and David,

I think my comment disappeared or I can't find it. Could I ask your advice on the following:
Would this be an appropriate choice of text For Part 3, especially with the HL selection?
- "The Bloody Chamber"
- "A Doll's House" (or Miss Julia)
- "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (for HL)

Appreciate your thoughts.

Tim Pruzinsky 3 August 2017 - 13:40

Hi Dorcas,

Here was what I wrote about "Jekyll and Hyde" on July 27th: (scroll to the bottom)

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.


Dorcas Tirhas 14 August 2017 - 02:15

Thanks Tim,
We haven't chosen the texts yet for next year's batch, however, we were looking at:
1) A Doll's House
2) The Bloody Chamber
3) Picture of Dorian Gray (for HL) - we felt that this was too big for them to complete in the time given and might be able to swap it out for a smaller text (J&H if possible)
But, we've decided to swap it for Larkin's "The Whitsun Weddings".

You are right in saying that we probably have to think about that the IB requires and that some shorter texts are not necessarily easier. And, "A Doll's House", although a play, for example is also a very short text. So the criteria is rather nebulous to be honest!

Thanks for your clarifications!

Sheila MacDonald 11 August 2017 - 12:34

Hi Tim
It's Jen Root. Remember me? madrid and student teaching. Hi!!!
I'm planning to teach Part 3 next semester and I have an SL class. I was planning to do A Doll's House as my WL text and then I'd like to give students a choice of 1 of 3 texts. Is that allowed? I have such varying levels that I think this might benefit the kids.

David McIntyre 11 August 2017 - 12:49

Hi Jen,

Allow me to respond...

This would be fine as long as you are meeting all the criteria for selection of texts. I guess this is one way to differentiate, but you could also differentiate in other ways whilst teaching the same class text(s). I'm not going to say 'don't do this', although I wouldn't. There are many reasons I would suggest, but in the main teaching towards important summative assessment (Paper 2 in particular) is, I think, more easily managed where students read the same text. And, of course, you are not the only teacher in the class, the kids learn a great deal from one another; this opportunity is possibly diminished with the many texts approach.

In the end, it's your call, and I'm happy to give additional suggestions, or simply throw the argument around, if you like.



Tim Pruzinsky 12 August 2017 - 23:36

Hi Jen,

Of course I remember you, Madrid, and student teaching! It was unforgettable! I was travelling and so I see that David sorted out your question. I just wanted to chime in to say hi!


Elaine Penstone 24 August 2017 - 05:15

Does the Kite Runner as a Free text come under Afghanistan or USA as a country? I know the Auther is considered Afghan-American but his perspective is definitely Afghan.

Tim Pruzinsky 25 August 2017 - 00:33

Hi Elaine,

That's a tough one. I don't know how the IB classifies it. For a technical answer, you'll have to ask "IB Answers" on the OCC. I don't know your entire syllabus and if you need this to get the "two places" requirements. If you already have two places, then the answer doesn't matter as you have fulfilled the requirements.


Elaine Penstone 25 August 2017 - 03:46

Yep its to get a two places. Ill check with OCC. Thanks

Ma Luisa Castro 16 September 2017 - 16:53

I am a new IB Lang & Lit teacher. I really need guidance on my choices for Part 3. Here is what I have come up with:

PLT If this is a Man
PLA 1984
Free choice The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

What do you think?

Tim Pruzinsky 17 September 2017 - 04:18

Hi Ma Luisa,

I wouldn't do two non-fiction texts. I love "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind." I think though it would be tough to use it in a Paper 2. You might think of another novel or play that would pair well with your other two choices. I might be wrong and you can, of course, disregard what I'm advising, as it is your right to teach what you want for your free choice text. I'm just worried about how it will be used with the other two.


Ma Luisa Castro 21 September 2017 - 11:38

Thanks, Tim. do you have any suggestion of what I can use to pair up with the two texts? Why won't you do two non-fiction texts ?

while reading "If this is a man," my students came up with the theme surviving vs living. Would that be appropriate to hook all three books. In the beginning, I was thinking of political leadership and power.



Tim Pruzinsky 22 September 2017 - 00:24

Hi Luisa,

Of course you can use two non-fiction texts! I'm suggesting that for me, I would find it difficult. If you want to, go ahead and see what happens! I'm all for experimenting and trying things out.

I think there are many ways to connect the texts, and the theme you present is one of them. You might think about "The Kite Runner" or "The Handmaid's Tale" or "Master Harold and the Boys" as possible other choices. However, do what you think will work best for you and your students.


Mohammed Bhuiya 25 September 2017 - 07:09

Hi Tim, I am new to the IB Lang and Lit, having a background in the UK GCSE system. For Part 3, I have inherited a Grade 12 class who've started 1984 which I am currently teaching. For my second, freely chosen text, I'd like to choose 'Of Mice and Men' as there is plenty of contextual issues and themes and - mainly - as it's a text I am very confident with. Would this be okay? For PLT - given that I have never taught a foreign language translated text before - what would you suggest, in terms of something easy for me as a teacher to pick up and learn in order to teach? I believe, last year, they read 'The Great Gatsby' and short stories from Edgar Allen Poe and something else. In choosing the Part Three texts I know I have to keep the Written Tasks in mind and Paper 2. Any advice and comments would be much appreciated. Mohammed

Tim Pruzinsky 25 September 2017 - 08:44

Hi Mohammed,

A lot of teachers pick a play for their PLT text: "A Doll's House" here is very popular. So too is "Death and the Maiden." Ibsen I think is easy enough to teach and students tend to understand the text well enough. I think you might have to have a play here as the rest of what was read is prose. You need to have at least 2 genres.

Technically, "Of Mice and Men" as your free choice works, although I do know some examiners think it is too "easy" of a text and they prefer it gets taught at younger grades. I'm more indifferent to the argument, but I wanted to make you aware of it.

Other than that, it looks like you are good to go.


Mohammed Bhuiya 25 September 2017 - 13:31

Thanks for the speedy response! Just a couple of follow-up questions. a) The 2 genre requirement is across Parts 3 and 4, right? So if they did Shakespeare's 'Midsummer's Night Dream' I would have the choice to do another prose text at PLT if I so wished? b) In the PLA, why does it stipulate that HL students have to do 13 works, including for Part 3: 'four works of the same genre, chosen from this PLA' and a Part 4: Options of three freely chosen works? This is contrary to the 6 texts mentioned in the updated Guide and this website. Has the PLA guidance (Page 1) not been updated? Many thanks in advance for your advice, hard work and this very professional and useful website.

Tim Pruzinsky 26 September 2017 - 00:43

Hi Mohammed,

As long as you satisfied the two genre requirement (between Parts 3 and 4), you are fine. Because you hadn't listed it earlier, I was being overly cautious. But yes, you have studied a play and therefore can choose all prose texts in Part 3.

As for your other question, it refers to the Literature course, not the Language and Literature course. Just ignore it. What you've done is correct and will be okay.


Mohammed Bhuiya 28 September 2017 - 09:53

Hi Tim
I've just been told that the Ministry in the country I work in has banned 'Of Mice and Men'! (Highly ironic given I'm teaching 1984!). I am exploring the following texts as alternatives. Could you confirm whether they'd be an appropriate free choice Part 3 work alongside 1984. The are in order of my preference:
'Farenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury
'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller
'Heart of Darkness' by Conrad
'The Kite Runner' by Husseini
Which do you prefer? Any other suggestions? Also, bear in mind that brevity and ease of coverage is a huge bonus at this late stage.
Many thanks,

Tim Pruzinsky 28 September 2017 - 15:17

Hi Mohammed,

It's "Banned Books Week" in the United States, a week where the American Library Association celebrates, promotes, and encourages people to read books that have been banned for one reason or another. I'm sorry to hear that "Of Mice and Men" has been banned in your case. Let's see if I can help sort you out of this jam.

If this is a SL class, you must choose a text from the PLT. It has to be a text in translation. Perhaps "A Doll's House" would work or "Chronicle of a Death Foretold." Whatever you choose, it needs to be in translation as that is an IB requirement.

However, if this is HL, and you already have studied your PLT text, I think your first two choices work best - based on the need for brevity and ease. "Heart of Darkness" is dense and "The Kite Runner" is longer than the other two texts. I prefer "The Kite Runner" myself, but given your situation, I think I would go with "The Crucible." However, I could see why you would choose "451" and either work well.


Maha abou chaar 19 October 2017 - 08:18

Hi Tim,
Is Harry Potter the Sorcerer's Stone accepted alone as a free choice for part 3? If not, can the students read with it Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets?

David McIntyre 19 October 2017 - 11:34

Hi Maha,

It is acceptable as a free choice. However, I would recommend against it. Arguably, it is a book for children and doesn't have the kind of 'literary qualities' to be found in the the PLA/PLT.

I think you need to use your professional judgment. If it matters, I would certainly not teach it.

Kind regards,


To post comments you need to log in. If it is your first time you will need to subscribe.