Iago gets to Othello because the eponymous ‘hero’ has got a head full of voices. The men in charge of Gilead are absolutely ruled by the chattering that only they hear. Blanche is alone and yet she’s NEVER alone…

There’s every chance you’ll be asked to explore the problems your favourite characters face because of their poor mental health.

So, which quotes will help you write about that mental struggle?


Choose a text that’s relevant to you and make a list of ten quotes you think feel relevant to the theme of mental health (you might consider quotes that revolve around a character’s anxiety, paranoia etc.)


Listen to this playlist!

(You can carry on with the next tasks while the music’s playing! Joy!)


Look at the ten quotes below (1 quote from each song on the playlist). What do you think each quote tells us about mental health and related issues? What techniques does each writer make use of? Spiderdiagram, or make a list of, ideas.

I‘ve dwelled so long in the ocean’s depths (Our Hollow, Our Home: Hartsick)

Never leave my head (Nervous Dater: Bad Spanish)

Yell, ‘How do I stop this?’ (Sincere Engineer: Trust Me)

On Mars (YUNGBLUD, mars)

Up on screens again (twst: sad girls but u gotta be cute)

Rollercoaster (Joy Oladokun: look up)

Head’s chained down by the voices (Against The Current: Voices)

Every day when you get up and think you’ll never be great /
You’ll never be great (NF: The Search)

A chemical affecting all our minds (girlfriends: Where Were You)

Drown the sirens in your head (The Young Hearts: Still Wander)


I’m sure you spotted the acronym! Now have a look at those quotes you picked out during Task 1. Analyse them in the same way you analysed those song lyrics. Hopefully lots of the ideas you came up with in relation to the music of Against The Current, The Young Hearts and the others will fuel some new thinking when digging into the quotes from your A-Level text. Create 10 spiderdiagrams/lists – 1 per quote.


Come up with your own mental health quote ‘poster’. You’ll need an acronym – you can use INYOURHEAD or come up with your own. Obviously your quotes will need some tweaking; you might need to cut out a word or two to ensure it fits the acronym. You may even want to look again at the text for further quotes. But this process will be useful: either it will prompt you to think more carefully about key words, thus developing your ability to zoom in OR it will expand your bank of relevant quotes.

Your poster might end up looking something like the below. Or maybe you’ll use your pencils and paints:


Pin your final acronym work up on your bedroom wall. It is now an amazing revision resource. By working so hard on a small selection of quotes – and really considering the thread that joins them together – you have already enhanced your chances of writing an exciting and original essay. Glancing at the quotes each day will help you to embed that learning.


Send us a picture of your acronym work! We would love to publish it!

If you want to start thinking about women in literature, you can do that here!

Main image by Elina Krima.