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Modern Languages Study Guides: L'Étranger

Author: Hélène Beaugy
Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 9781471890048
Reviewer: Isabelle Jones

This guide is a welcome support for the delivery of the new AS/A-Level French specifications.

It will enable your students to gain useful background knowledge to understand the historical and social context of L’étranger as well as develop the critical and language skills needed to critique the work effectively and write a successful essay.

The guide includes useful features such as synopsis in English and mind maps to help students grasp the sequence of events and main features of the novel, chapter summaries in French, studies of the main themes, characters and narrative technique as well as examination advice, sample essays and key quotations from the book.

The summaries in French are complemented by useful grammar activities, vocabulary and writing exercises that will strengthen students’ language skills and build their confidence.

The themes and the characters are discussed in an appropriate mix of French and English aiming to increase depth of knowledge as well as to build up the specific language needed to analyse the work and justify the points put forward.    

The guide is particularly useful to introduce the standards required for the exam. The exam advice provided for students is insightful and addresses the slight differences between examination boards. The essay phrases and sample essays are also good to show students what constitutes a strong essay in terms of vocabulary and structure. The criteria for the AS and A-Level essays are presented clearly and supported by the marker’s comments.

The guide is also an effective revision tool, providing students with a bank of textual examples and quotes to enhance exam response.

I would highly recommend the use of this guide in class or to encourage independent studies as answers to every activity, task and critical skills question can also be found online at