How to Write a Thesis in Classic English Literature: High or Low-Difficulty Task?

Writing guide
Posted on November 16, 2020

Whenever students are about to finish their university degrees or graduate from college, a thesis paper is the one crowning all their educational achievements. For some reason, they still tend to leave this task for the last moment and compared to writing essays or projects, there is one result – missed deadlines and a complete failure. Usually, experienced students start thinking about this paper at least one or half of the year in advance. But, what makes this work slightly different from other papers is that a thesis allows you to gather ideas and recommendations from the faculty adviser. Most commonly, he will direct you or tell what is worth researching. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to write it independently as much as possible.

Depending on the educational institutions, this work is considered one of the high-difficulty ones, especially regarding the requirements. Dipping into the future, there is no exact predetermined length of the thesis. Some colleges expect you to submit 30 pages, while some universities do not accept works shorter than of 200 pages. However, your forehanded investigation on hidden pitfalls will save your patience and you will successfully cope with such a final assessment.

How to Write a Thesis in Classic English Literature: What Is it For?

It is high time to reveal another difficulty in this paper. Once you type in the search engine, thesis, you will come across nothing but tips, guides, advice, instructions on how to write a thesis statement. Of course, this information strange though it might sound is helpful because a thesis contains a thesis statement. But, what you really need is a thesis that is else called dissertation paper. So, what is it?

The thesis or dissertation is a document that represents the achieved knowledge in the degree and shows how you delivered the hope of examiners when they enrolled you. Besides, it can be used as a qualification assessment to understand whether your knowledge, research, and analytical skills are enough to pursue the career. So, roughly speaking it is a work you should spend much time on and is a paper that wastes students’ nerves the most. Thus, whenever you reach the graduation year in your institution, think of topics, methods of analysis and literature to base your thesis on to avoid missed opportunities.

How to Write a Thesis in Classic English Literature: Preparation Stage

Classic English Literature is a subject that requires from students not only profound reading of the obligatory list of literature but a skill to analyze literary patterns, orientation in the representatives of styles, time frames, and of course knowledge on how to research the influence of classic masterpieces on a modern world. However, the first mistake they do is a following of the path of the least resistance. For instance, Shakespeare being one of the most popular representatives is a kind of the wrong choice for the dissertation. And, here are the reasons why:

  • When choosing the topic, a student has to pay attention to its researched level. If you still find questions that are not yet researched concerning your studying objective, you can focus on writing. Once, such a topic as tragic love in Shakespeare works is an easy selection because you will not impress the professor with unique research;
  • You have to find out the purpose of your writing. There should be no personal opinions such as It is my favorite book, I find it the best that’s why I research it. It is too banal, and a faculty adviser will basically ban such intentions. Choose the purpose that will help, for example, to demonstrate the significance of the author and explain how he influenced the literary course of nowadays;
  • After preparing the sample of your future work, it is necessary to meet with the advisory committee. It helps to summarize and receive approval of your thesis. If you have not done it yet, do not skip it. Doctors have this stage as a part of their examinations but if your graduate school is more flexible about such discussions, you can work on your own;
  • Surf the Internet or visit the library to find all the literature that may somehow touch your topic. Note, the more books you use in research over Internet sources, the more probability of making it unique and unbiased.

Actually, now you can start writing but if possible, check the materials from a syllabus that should be available for students who graduate.

Classic English Literature Topics for your Thesis

For your convenience, let’s list the most interesting topics both suitable when you have a lot of time in stock and when the deadline is closing in.

● The Ideology of Portraying Women Role in Classic Literature

Here comes the most prominent work of Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre. Along with analyzing the burden of girls who have been orphaned, think of researching what destiny was predetermined for them. Try to research how those ladies would get used to modern times.

● Film Adaptations on the Classic Literature Masterpieces

For instance, you can choose the overall directors’ experience of adapting literature, or you can take one movie and compare it to the original version of the book. Define how the author portrays the characters, and what are their inherent features concerning the classic ages.

● Slavery in Literature

For this topic, it is highly recommended to include psychology researches and feedback of critics who worked on one’s author work. However, make sure you come up with an idea of slavery purpose instead of criticizing its occurrence.

● Role of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Again, investigate the motives of getting married in those times, how the inheritance was one of the most crucial factors when selecting the partner. For more research, learn the works based on Pride and Prejudice or that was inspired by Jane Austen’s style of writing.

● The Universe of Charles Dickens

Analyze his literature styles such as melodrama, picaresque and sensibility novels. Who were his favorite characters and which one gained the most popularity within the audience? How did he contribute to the literary society?

● Dracula by Bram Stoker

Your research will be focused on analyzing the mystical literature, its characteristics, and its features. For more effect, attach your investigation on movie adaptations.

Besides, you can always refer your work to such topics as History Accuracy in Novels, Philosophy Course in Literature, Role of Religion in Classical Works, Homosexuality, and Feminism, and so on. The one rule is to find the work where you can demonstrate the most skills obtained from your course or degree.

How to Write a Thesis in Classic English Literature: Requirements

Now, when you have a basic idea of topics, you should move to the composition of your thesis. If you do not have any syllabus or precise requirements, first ask your faculty advisor or find the standard rules from other educational establishments.

This is how your outline should look like:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content or Outline
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology or Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Reference List
  • Appendices

Regarding your title format, make sure to learn what is the citation format. There are events when professors may lower the grade if it is wrongly composed. But, your committee meeting will be a perfect solution to find out such small details.

1. Abstract

Or, else called the significance of your work serves an explanation to the purpose of your study. Explain to a reader how your topic emphasizes the theoretical significance of obtained knowledge or address how your research contributes to the practical skills gained during the semester. All in all, show why you wrote it, why you chose this topic, and what you will speak about but do not reveal the body of the thesis.

2. Table of content

List all the parts of your work.

3. Introduction

As per the students’ experience, it is better to write it at the end of the whole work. Such an approach helps students to analyze what they spoke about in their thesis, and after they have a clear idea of how to format the main details. In this part comes another helper, a hook. Trigger your readers with an engaging idea or provoke some food for thought.

4. Literature Review

The purpose of this part is to demonstrate what is known and not about the topic. For example, collect all the critics, or other authors’ visions who have had their opinion about your selected work, and summarize their points. Divide them into independent paragraphs. This part may somehow look like a bibliography.

5. Methodology

Justify all the data by used methods. Here you can outline what were the ways of analyzing and researching points. Start this chapter by describing in detail what is the method used and how popular it is in producing literary research. If possible, cite additional literature that deals with this method. In the modern methodology, writers encompass the next techniques: coding of data, description of data analysis, tests, reliability of the method, and historical research of themes or subjects.

6. Discussion

Basically, it is the heart of your work. Discuss what your findings mean to the degree or knowledge you obtain. Whenever you write any part of this chapter, ask yourself one question – So, What? It will help to understand the researched results. If you can find the pitfalls or areas that are not researched well, you may underline your propositions to work on them for future researchers.

It should be finished with a strong final sentence otherwise a reader will again provoke So, What? question.

7. Conclusion

The same as with other papers here is one simple rule. Do never add any new data. It is a kind of summarization of all the points discussed and researched above. If a student wants, he may end it up with a rhetorical question or provoke again some food for thought. But, make sure, you ended up your dissertation with some significance and results.

8. Acknowledgment

Some colleges allow students to skip this part but if you want to thank and mention the names of people who contributed to writing your thesis, it is appreciated. However, if you do it, do not forget to mention your faculty advisor or professor.

9. Reference List

All the sources taken for work or mentioned in the thesis should be structured in alphabetical order. Create a separate entry for every work, and do not forget about citation style. There are plenty of online services that will do it for you.

10. Appendices

If you used tables, or figures, this is the appropriate chapter to allocate them.

Final Observations on How to Write a Thesis in Classic English Literature

When you think to submit your thesis for evaluation, do not hurry up and spend some time on a revision and proofreading. The same concerns the preparation stage where you do not need to rush but follow life-saving tips. Here is the list of the most common helpful observations to get an A-grade:

  1. Do not expect to finish your thesis within a week or a month. You must make significant research that includes collecting necessary data, identifying the methods, and gathering literature;
  2. Do not think your faculty advisor or professor will edit your work before its submission. They both only advise and show direction. So, independent writing is highly recommended;
  3. Pay attention to the sentences and content structure. Check grammar tenses and spelling of the words. For this purpose, you can again refer to online editors or services that without any fee will do it for you;
  4. Leave your thesis for a few days after completing it. Only after, you can read it and spot mistakes faster. Your mind is fresh and you can even notice the lack of sense in paragraphs.

At last, do not forget that thesis or dissertation will significantly define how you will pursue your career. It is a kind of measurement that shows how much knowledge and skills you have after completing the degree. Thus, follow the above-mentioned tips and forget about failure.


  1. (2020). Guidelines on Dissertation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jan. 2020].
  2. Kastan, D. (2006). The Oxford Encyclopedia of British literature. Oxford [etc.]: Oxford University Press.
  3. Swetnam, D. (2001). Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present successful work. U.K: How to Books.
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