World Literature Assignments

You have already prepared the first draft of your world literature assignment. Now it’s time to plan and draft your second task.

First watch this presentation which outlines the requirements of the three tasks:

Assignment Two Options Presentation

You probably already have a pretty good idea about which task is best suited to you. A word of warning: the creative option is not an easy option. If you think about it, whereas all the other formally assessed IB tasks ask you to identify features, this one asks you to create them. Examiners expect a fair degree of sophistication as you attempt to imitate a particular text and style.


For each of the three options, list the text combinations and potential topics that are available to you. Actually WRITE THESE DOWN so that you can see the options.

Details of the Assignments

2a Comparative study

Assignment 2a is a comparative study based on an aspect of one World Literature work and one Language A1 work, chosen from any part of the schoolís syllabus. The assignment must focus on some pertinent link between the two works.

Candidates may choose to explore, where appropriate, any cultural similarities and differences represented by the works. However, making generalizations about cultures is not the purpose of this exercise.


The assignment must be a cogent piece of writing. It should include some introductory and concluding remarks consistent with the conventions of writing in the Language A1 studied.

Although the main body need not be a formal exposition and development of ideas, it should constitute a reasoned argument.


The introduction could be, for example, a brief statement of the aims of the assignment.

The main body should reveal the candidateís insight into the works and the candidateís appreciation of the chosen link between the works. A variety of methods is acceptable including, for example, Socratic Dialogue, interview, or a formal development of ideas as in an essay.

The conclusion could be, for example, a brief summary and personal evaluation of the discussion.

2b Creative or Imaginative Assignment

Assignment 2b is an imaginative or creative piece of writing based on one World Literature work or a combination of a World Literature work and a Language A1 work, chosen from any part of the syllabus.

An imaginative or creative assignment is defined as an assignment, other than a conventional critical essay or commentary, which allows the candidate to apply the principles or techniques of literary criticism or appreciation in an informed, imaginative manner.

Assignment 2b: The Statement of Intent

  • A statement of intent must immediately precede the body of this type of assignment and must include a brief explanation of all of the following:
  • the work(s) on which the assignment will be based
  • the nature of the task to be engaged in, including considerations such as audience, register, form
  • the aspects or elements of the work(s) on which the candidate intends to focus
  • how the candidate intends to explore these aspects or elements.

The statement of intent must be included in the wordcount. The length of the statement will depend on the nature of the piece attempted and should, normally, not exceed 500 words. However, where the assignment takes the form of a single piece of writing, such as a short poem, the statement may be longer than the body of the assignment and longer than 500 words. Whatever the length of the assignment itself, the total number of words must be between 1000 and 1500.

WL Assignment 2b: Suggestions

There are many possibilities for creative approaches to World Literature assignments which, while giving the candidates an opportunity to exercise imagination and ingenuity, bring them to a deeper understanding of the work(s) being explored and to an increased appreciation of the writer. The following list of suggestions, while not exhaustive, provides some ideas for assignments.

  • The diary of a character accompanied by critical comment by the candidate.
  • A directors letter to the actor playing a particular role or scene.
  • An exercise in which the candidate turns the story or a portion of it into another form such as dramatic monologue, biblical parable, folk tale or myth.
  • A critics review of a dramatic interpretation/performance.
  • An editorial objecting to censorship or exclusion of a work from a school syllabus.
  • A letter to a publisher outlining the merits of a work to be published and reasons for publication.
  • The creation of dramatic monologues that play the self-perception of the characters against the view of other characters or the author.
  • A transcription either of an imaginary interview with the author about the work in question or of a conversation between two authors about their respective works.
  • A postscript to a novel, or an extra chapter.
  • An additional scene for a play.
  • A pastiche (an imitation or re-creation of an already published work). In this assignment, candidates are encouraged to demonstrate their sensitivity to, and understanding of, a work by providing an original composition after the manner of that work.

2c Detailed Study

Assignment 2c is a detailed study based on an aspect of one of the World Literature works studied in Part 1, Part 3 or Part 4 of the syllabus.

If extracts are chosen for analysis or commentary they should not be included in the word count, but copies must be attached to the assignment when submitted for assessment.


There are a number of possible approaches to this type of assignment:

  • A formal essay A formal piece of writing which follows a logical sequence.
  • Analysis of a key passage. The most important word here is key. The passage for study, whether a paragraph, a page, a chapter, or an extract from a poem, should have major significance for any of a variety of explorations that the candidate might choose to make, for example, prose or poetic style, character study, plot development or theme. The reason why the candidate has chosen the passage should be briefly explained and the body of the assignment should explain the significance of the passage to the larger work from which it has been taken.
  • Analysis of two key passages Two significant passages from the same work could be selected in order to explore, for example, contrasting prose styles, descriptive method, character presentation and a range of other aspects. The candidate needs to justify briefly the pivotal nature of the passages chosen, and to demonstrate their particular similarities and differences which the candidate considers interesting.
  • Commentary on an extract In this exercise an extract, of approximately 30 lines of prose or the equivalent in drama or verse, is taken from a work for an in-depth analysis. Candidates should justify briefly their selection of the particular extract; the body of the assignment should explore how language, imagery, organisation of ideas, and stylistic and thematic aspects work in the passage.

Source: IB Diploma Program Language A1 Guide 2001

Image: ‘Pierced Nose

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