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English literature as an optional, a good choice ?

edited March 2013 in Miscellaneous
Hi all.
Looking at the reverting back of various good changes which was earlier done to the mains pattern, I was having a doubt on my optional subject.
I wrote mains 2012 with pub ad and socio as optionals. I do like socio a lot but looking at people scoring very well in literature subjects I was in two minds.
Is anybody here with English literature as optional ? I would like all your views on this. Thanks.


  • I am just thinking to choose eng. lit. as my optional subject. I have not finalised it yet.
    did u have eng. lit. as your graduation subject ?
  • edited March 2013
    No no .. I'm an engineer. I'm not sure where I went wrong in my 1st attempt..( I prepared seriously for 3 months ) will have to wait for results to find out. But ya this came as a passing thought, looking at all the people scoring high marks in literature. @sheen, what bout you ? Also have you looked at the syllabus ? It looks quite vast at a first look.
  • edited August 2013
    my friend @skyhook 's suggestion

    English is an easy optional, actually. The syllabus is tiny and not hard to understand.If you look at the syllabus, you can see that it can be broadly divided into poetry & drama, prose and theory. In the papers, one section is devoted to prose & drama, another to prose and theory can come in either section [generally, but the order can sometimes change with theory, poetry and drama in section 1 and only prose in section 2]. You'll also have an unseen poem in paper 1 and an unseen passage in paper 2 that you'll have to analyze. Unseen poem can pose some problems, but the passage is quite easy, generally.

    So far, so good. The problem is that the questions are never straightforward. You'll get asked stuff like 'Apply the situation of upper class England as represented by Jane Austen to today's gender roles'. Now if you have read the book and analyzed it and have a fair knowledge of social issues, you can do that easily, but just knowing the summary of the book isn't going to help much. Similarly for theory of literature. You won't be asked to write about the evolution of, let's say, feminism, but you'll get questions relating the theory to present situations. Some questions will be easy, but most will require analysis and application.

    So, pros - tiny syllabus, fun to read, easy to manage if you have a reading habit and cons - you can't skip anything in the syllabus, you'll have to analyze everything, unseen poem/passage (mostly fear of the unknown), you will have to learn to tailor your answer to the question on-the-spot.

    I would suggest that you look at the previous papers before you take a final call. And don't listen to people who say you need to have a background in the subject; I don't and I scored very well :-) I hope this helped. Do let me know if you want to know anything else :-)
  • @Cyrus_A .. Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I wanted to know if its doable in the time after prelims for a newbie ? Also could you plz tell about the book-list .. Thanks again .
  • hey @Ramesses , it's one of my friend optional mate , i really thought of picking it up before the "change" .
    so i can only give you an advice as an outlier .
    I used IGNOU materials and a book called 'A Background to the Study of English Literature' by B. Prasad, in addition to the actual texts prescribed.

  • edited March 2013
    @Ramesses @Cyrus_A
    I had English Literature as my graduation subject and I must say it was highly subjective.
    Questions in the graduation were like " Critically analyse a character/whole chapter". "Critically appreciate". "Translate the old english poem into modern english" . "Write a note on characters in your words and such."
    Before I took up Engli. Literature, I had science (maths) background so initially the subjectivity of literature troubled me but I managed it well later and score well.
    But I don't know much about UPSC syllabus of English literature.
    Anyone having science background can do really well in literature too.
  • @Cyrus_A
    Can you please ask your friend about the book list for English literature ? Any materials ?
    I will try my hand on trial basis on a book for my self-guidance.
    Then, I will choose Eng. Literature or Maths.
    Thanks in advance , bhai.
  • @sheen @Cyrus_A. Thank you both for your suggestions. I will've to give a proper thought and choose English lit or sociology.
  • edited March 2013
    If you do a research or find something useful in Eng. literature on books or strategy then please do share it here later. It will be nice of you if you do that.
  • @sheen . I just googled for this, read a few interviews by people who got good ranks with English lit. I noticed that all of them had done their graduation/post grad in English lit. Now, I am not sure about taking this optional. Also, a lot of GS needs to be covered this time.
  • @Ramesses @sheen
    I am also in the same dilemma regd my optional. Have you guys made up your mind on taking english literature ? Any updates on the above thread ?
  • edited May 2013
    I am not going for Eng. Lit.
    I had Eng. Lit. as my grad. Subject though.
  • @aahias @sheen .. Hi.. Sorry for the late reply. I'll be dropping English Lit. I'll go ahead with Sociology. After seeing my mains marks I think i'll be able to do better here with proper revision.
  • Any one opted for english lit after this discussion?? can u suggest me some of books?? and what are the pros nd cons of taking that subject!!!!!
  • Hi.. cud any provide me a link to download 2014 eng literature optional question papers. .. I searched every nook n corner of d net.. but failed to get ...
    Towards perfection...
  • Hi.. cud any provide me a link to download 2014 eng literature optional question papers. .. I searched every nook n corner of d net.. but failed to get ...
  • @swatiychaurasia.. thank u dear..
    Towards perfection...
  • Happy to help :-)
  • i'm planning to take English optional for 2016. degree in engineering. I'm happy they got rid of the rule requiring candidates to have literature degree in order to pick that optional; that was really stupid. its not like everyone taking pubAd and sociology have degrees in it. L-)
  • Is there any institute for English literature coaching? Pls help
  • abhi501 said:

    Is there any institute for English literature coaching? Pls help

    No there isnt.You need to prepare by yourself.Also, there is a kind lady /gent here who teaches/guides people for free.Look around.
    One step,One Punch,One Round At a Time.
    How you do anything is how you do everything.

    PSIR Optional. Aspiring Diplomat.
  • Anyone having Pdf of play "Tara" by Mahesh dattani?
    Still Learning
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