H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

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H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby slmkhoo » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:55 pm

Can I find out which texts are being studied for H2 Lit in the various JCs? Does MOE have a longer list from which the schools select, or do they require all schools to study the same texts? I am a little disturbed by the texts that my daughter will be studying:

The Age of Innocence
The Scarlet Letter
A Streetcar Named Desire
Othello

I feel there are too many unhappy/sordid themes. At their age, I think they should have at least one or 2 'happier' books!

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby wonderm » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:17 pm

http://www.seab.gov.sg/aLevel/syllabus/ ... GCE_A.html

Can check the syllabus here. There is a list of books to choose from.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby slmkhoo » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:22 pm

Thanks! What a terrible list! I wonder why they need to choose books that have such dark themes for teenagers? Well, I guess the school didn't have much of a choice and I should blame SEAB instead! I would have preferred them to choose the Victorian paper, but I suppose the language there might be harder to understand.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby havok_ex » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:53 am

In my time, we studied Richard III ,lots of death, and Wide Sargasso Sea, story about a woman's descent into madness. Also has a bit of sex and parental rejection in the book. Its pretty normal. Not sure what you mean by 'happier' books. Literature texts aren't usually happy, not meant to be anyways. There is always a range of emotions that we deal with in the characters. Loss, rejection, jealousy, pain. These are sometimes analysed, and these are also often what we face in the real world. If students were to only analyse fairy tales and happy endings, its merely a facade of what the real world is like. In any case, I doubt there are any schools overseas that do 'happy' texts either, because texts like these are pretty hard to come by in the first place.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby slmkhoo » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:10 pm

havok_ex wrote:In my time, we studied Richard III ,lots of death, and Wide Sargasso Sea, story about a woman's descent into madness. Also has a bit of sex and parental rejection in the book. Its pretty normal. Not sure what you mean by 'happier' books. Literature texts aren't usually happy, not meant to be anyways. There is always a range of emotions that we deal with in the characters. Loss, rejection, jealousy, pain. These are sometimes analysed, and these are also often what we face in the real world. If students were to only analyse fairy tales and happy endings, its merely a facade of what the real world is like. In any case, I doubt there are any schools overseas that do 'happy' texts either, because texts like these are pretty hard to come by in the first place.

I agree that we should not restrict ourselves to 'happy' texts, but our world is not all doom and gloom. A balance is what I ask for. FOr my A levels, I did Austen, Dickens, Swift, Milton - at least they didn't have such a negative view of life and humanity. I also have a concern is the incidence of philandering and adultery in the chosen texts as I see no reason why all the books available for this paper have such themes.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby havok_ex » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:10 am

slmkhoo wrote:I agree that we should not restrict ourselves to 'happy' texts, but our world is not all doom and gloom. A balance is what I ask for. FOr my A levels, I did Austen, Dickens, Swift, Milton - at least they didn't have such a negative view of life and humanity. I also have a concern is the incidence of philandering and adultery in the chosen texts as I see no reason why all the books available for this paper have such themes.


Well, its not uncommon to find such themes in works of art and literature. To me, the descriptions on such themes in the books are not very vivid in the first place. One can't insulate the teenager from such things either. Think about the H2 literature subject as a preview of what the university Literature course is going to be like. Wont it be a little weird that as an adult undergrad, your son/daughter would feel weird and 'out of place' in university when studying texts like these. Texts which will be way more vivid than this actually.

Additionally, I think as a literature student, one must analyse texts objectively. It doesn't matter what the content might be, the student must stay composed and look at it in an objective manner. In any case, I find that all human actions are worth taking a look at. Just because it is 'immoral' in your eyes doesn't mean it actually is. Sex is merely human nature. And who's to say that your moral compass is perfect? Morality is subjective and it shouldn't be imposed on the general population like that.

The best way forward is through education. You son/daughter must have realised what sex and adultery is by now. God knows the theme is much more prevalent on television than it is in books. We can't hide from it. The best way is to teach your child that yes these things do exist. It is part of life. But that does not mean that its good or right. Instead of hiding from it, one should teach between what is right and wrong.

(As a side note, I think the mass media is way more vulgar than whatever is written in those books. If you have an issue with sex and adultery, maybe you could take it up with MDA first before going after MOE/SEAB. Words can only tell so little. But a picture or an intimate scene surely must say much more.)

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:53 am

havok_ex wrote:
slmkhoo wrote:I agree that we should not restrict ourselves to 'happy' texts, but our world is not all doom and gloom. A balance is what I ask for. FOr my A levels, I did Austen, Dickens, Swift, Milton - at least they didn't have such a negative view of life and humanity. I also have a concern is the incidence of philandering and adultery in the chosen texts as I see no reason why all the books available for this paper have such themes.


Well, its not uncommon to find such themes in works of art and literature. To me, the descriptions on such themes in the books are not very vivid in the first place. One can't insulate the teenager from such things either. Think about the H2 literature subject as a preview of what the university Literature course is going to be like. Wont it be a little weird that as an adult undergrad, your son/daughter would feel weird and 'out of place' in university when studying texts like these. Texts which will be way more vivid than this actually.
I think there is an appropriate time to be exposed, and I think 17 is too young. I know I am old-fashioned in this, but I can't see that exposing them young helps them. I would prefer her to encounter such themes in university, not now. If early is always better, then our sec 1 kids should also read them.

Additionally, I think as a literature student, one must analyse texts objectively. It doesn't matter what the content might be, the student must stay composed and look at it in an objective manner. In any case, I find that all human actions are worth taking a look at. Just because it is 'immoral' in your eyes doesn't mean it actually is. Sex is merely human nature. And who's to say that your moral compass is perfect? Morality is subjective and it shouldn't be imposed on the general population like that.
Neither should the 'general population' (or SEAB) impose such things on individuals.

The best way forward is through education. You son/daughter must have realised what sex and adultery is by now. God knows the theme is much more prevalent on television than it is in books. We can't hide from it. The best way is to teach your child that yes these things do exist. It is part of life. But that does not mean that its good or right. Instead of hiding from it, one should teach between what is right and wrong.
Again, I agree in principle, but disagree that 17yo is the right time to spend so much time and effort analysing these themes. I'm all for awareness, just not dwelling on it.

(As a side note, I think the mass media is way more vulgar than whatever is written in those books. If you have an issue with sex and adultery, maybe you could take it up with MDA first before going after MOE/SEAB. Words can only tell so little. But a picture or an intimate scene surely must say much more.)
I agree with you. We avoid a lot of mass media because of that. I won't take it up with MDA as we have a choice to watch or not, but SEAB is not giving students a choice as there is only 1 list of books for this A level paper. Anyway, I won't take it up with SEAB as it's too late to change anything anyway and I have no energy. Doesn't mean I approve.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby havok_ex » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:20 pm

Ahh, but therein lies the fact that these are choices. You should have been prepared and checked on the curriculum if you were really opposed to these themes. With the information that you had, you would have known that SEAB actually provides a long list of books to choose from. If you had issues with some books, you should have ensured that you sent your child to a school that does not study these books. If you really could not find a JC out of the 20 odd that offered the books that you wanted your child to study, you could have opted for a private A-level route or not allowed your child to take up the subject in the first place. SEAB does not impose these themes on the general population. It is in fact, up to you if you want to take up the subject or not. No one is actually forcing you. I believe the child education act states that education is only compulsory up until secondary school. Anything after that is purely your own choice.

And no, I don't always think 'earlier is better'. But I believe JC is an appropriate enough time for a student to be exposed to such themes. But then again this is merely my opinion, you are entitled to yours. You are also entitled to have a choice, but don't blame the system when you did not make the appropriate choice.

Anyway, here are the list of books to choose from, they are pretty extensive:

choose 3 from the following:

** CharlesDickens:GreatExpectations
** George Eliot: Silas Marner
** Thomas Hardy: Far From the Madding Crowd
** Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
** LordAlfredTennyson:SelectedPoems
** Robert Browning: Selected Poems
** Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected Poems
** G.B. Shaw: Mrs Warren’s Profession
** Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan

OR choose 3 from this following set:

** Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
** Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels
** Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior
** Philip Larkin: Selected Poems
** Margaret Atwood: The Journals of Susanna Moodie
** Boey Kim Cheng: Another Place
** Tennesee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
** William Shakespeare: Othello
** Wole Soyinka: Death and The King’s Horseman

Choose one of the following:

** Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence
** Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
** Jane Austen: Mansfield Park
** Graham Swift: Waterland

Choose another one from the following:

** John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi
** William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night
** Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
** Arthur Miller: All My Sons


Source:
http://www.seab.gov.sg/aLevel/2013Sylla ... 8_2013.pdf

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:01 pm

havok_ex wrote:Ahh, but therein lies the fact that these are choices. You should have been prepared and checked on the curriculum if you were really opposed to these themes. With the information that you had, you would have known that SEAB actually provides a long list of books to choose from. If you had issues with some books, you should have ensured that you sent your child to a school that does not study these books. If you really could not find a JC out of the 20 odd that offered the books that you wanted your child to study, you could have opted for a private A-level route or not allowed your child to take up the subject in the first place. SEAB does not impose these themes on the general population. It is in fact, up to you if you want to take up the subject or not. No one is actually forcing you. I believe the child education act states that education is only compulsory up until secondary school. Anything after that is purely your own choice.

I guess I overstated the 'no choice' part, but my daughter is in the 1 school that offers a 3-year programme, and I don't think the school will allow much flexibility! And Lit is her most preferred subject. I agree that I did have choices, but not a great deal.

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Re: H2 Lit - what texts are being used this year?

Postby havok_ex » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:11 am

slmkhoo wrote:I guess I overstated the 'no choice' part, but my daughter is in the 1 school that offers a 3-year programme, and I don't think the school will allow much flexibility! And Lit is her most preferred subject. I agree that I did have choices, but not a great deal.


Best thing you can do now is ask the school if they will allow your daughter to study a different set of books. Poetry is still same so she can still go for some classes. But she can study her own books instead privately, engage a private tutor. I had a classmate who retained in my year. So he had a separate set of books to study from the previous year while we all had different books, for his case though, the school was responsible to give him one-on-one sessions with the lit teacher to teach him his books. Because the PAPER itself is all the same. Just that we get to choose which questions we want to answer. Of course, we answer the questions from books that we've studied. But yes, since she is in a 3-year course, as long as she is not in her final year already, I believe there is ample time for her to make the switch. I don't think the school would go to great lengths to not allow her to study her own separate set of books. The only problem I foresee is that they might not be able to set and mark papers according to the books she takes up. So she might not be able to gauge where she herself stands. But that can be left to the private tutor.

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