Module B: Syllabus Breakdown

Before we can even begin to talk about the prescribed text we have to understand what we’re looking for in a Module B study. The relevant bits of the module with key words bolded are:

This module requires students to explore and evaluate a specific text and its reception in a range of contexts. It develops students’ understanding of questions of textual integrity.

Students explore the ideas expressed in the text through analysing its construction, content and language. They examine how particular features of the text contribute to textual integrity. They research others’ perspectives of the text and test these against their own understanding and interpretations of the text. Students discuss and evaluate the ways in which the set work has been read, received and valued in historical and other contexts. They extrapolate from this study of a particular text to explore questions of textual integrity and significance.

From the looks of it there’s a lot there that’s important. But really, it’s only two things:

  1. Textual integrity, and

  2. Reception.

The entire module can be fit underneath those two headings. Let’s explore them in more detail.

Textual Integrity

Textual integrity is a deceptively simple idea that only becomes complicated when applied to complicated texts. At some point in the module you’ll begin to doubt everything you thought you knew about ‘textual integrity’ but you’ll be able to get over this if you keep firmly in mind the basics and proceed through it step by step.

First, the Board of Studies gives us the definition of textual integrity as “the unity of a text; its coherent use of form and language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value”.

So what does this mean? We know from the module outline that we’re interested in “construction, content and language”. This is your usual English stuff: techniques, structure, narrative voice, motifs, etc. Usually in English we simply ask “how do all those things create meaning?” For example we might recognise that a poet uses the motif of flowers. We might also know the flower is a symbol for a lost lover. We thus infer that the poet uses the recurring motif of flowers to signal that he or she is still hung up on this lost lover.

Click here to download the full module breakdown.