Literature in English

Curriculum Objectives

The aims of the Literature in English curriculum are to enable learners to:

  • appreciate and enjoy a wide range of literary or creative texts and other related cultural forms;
  • develop their capacity for critical thinking, creativity, self-expression, personal growth, empathy and cultural understanding;
  • enhance their awareness of the relationship between literature and the society;
  • develop a greater sensitivity to the nuances of the English language; and
  • be adequately prepared for areas of further study or work, where qualities promoted in the study of literature, such as creativity, critical thinking and inter-cultural understanding, are highly valued.

Curriculum Framework

The syllabus is based on the study of one set of texts, which will vary over time. The set offers a choice of one of two novels, one of two plays, one of two films, a set of short stories selected from a given volume and a set of poems selected from a given volume. The texts will be examined as follows:

Genre Paper(s)
Novels 1 Part I Section A, Part II & 2 Section A (text analysis)
Plays 1 Part I Section B, Part II & 2 Section A (text analysis)
Films 1 Part I Section C, Part II
Short stories 1 Part I Section D, Part II
Poetry 2 Section B (comparison of works by one or more poets)

Set texts (HKDSE 2020)


  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee OR The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald


  • The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare OR The Crucible, Arthur Miller


  • The Remains of the Day (1993) Dir: James Ivory OR Vertigo (1958) Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Short stories

  • Fiction: A Pocket Anthology (7th Edition) ed. R.S. Gwynn. Penguin Academics (2014).
  • Raymond Carver: ‘Cathedral’
  • Alice Walker: ‘Everyday Use’
  • Alice Munro: ‘The Bear Came over the Mountain’
  • Margaret Atwood: ‘Happy Endings’
  • Washington Irving: ‘Rip Van Winkle’
  • James Joyce: ‘Araby’
  • Eudora Welty: ‘A Memory’
  • Gish Jen: ‘In the American Society’


  • From The Rattle Bag ed. S. Heaney & T. Hughes, Faber and Faber
  • John Keats: ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, ‘To Autumn’
  • Sylvia Plath:‘Crossing the Water’, ‘Mushrooms’, ‘Poppies in July’
  • Dylan Thomas:‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, ‘Poem in October’, ‘The hand that signed the paper felled a city’
  • Wallace Stevens: ‘Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock’, ‘Earthy Anecdote’, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’
  • William Carlos Williams: ‘Flowers by the Sea’, ‘The Last Words of My English Grandmother’, ‘Raleigh Was Right’