General Forms and Types of Literature

Categories: CultureLiterature

Literature (from Latin litterae) is the art of written work. The word literature literally means “things made from letters”. Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), a category that may also include polemical works, biography, and reflective essays, or it may consist of texts based on imagination (such as fiction, poetry, or drama).

Major Forms of Literature

  • Fiction – is the form of any work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not real, but rather, imaginary and theoretical—that is, invented by the author.

  • Non-fiction ornonfiction – is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be factual. Essays, journals, diaries, documentaries, histories, scientific papers, photographs, biographies, textbooks, travel books, blueprints, technical documentation, user manuals, diagrams and some journalism are all common examples of non-fiction works

Major Techniques of Literature

  • Literature written in poetry emphasizes the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as sound, symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, ordinary meanings.

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  • Literature written in prose applies ordinary grammatical structure and the natural flow of speech. * Literature can also be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences.


“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

C.S. Lewis, a British scholar and novelist

It has significance because literary works are portrayals of the thinking patterns and social norms prevalent in society.

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They are a depiction of the
different facets of common man’s life. They help a person take a closer look at the different facets of life. In many ways, it can change one’s perspective towards life.


Fiction (novel and short story)

It portrays people in a certain setting and situation.

Elements of Fiction

  • Character – set of people who find themselves in a particular kind of situation.
  • Plot – consists of events which are arranged in a meaningful sequence
  • Setting – refers to the time and location of the action.
  • Theme – the fundamental issues which the story deals with.
  • Language and style – the habitual manner in which a person expresses himself.
  • Point of view – the vantage point from which characters, actions and events are seen

Types of point of view

  • First person
  • Third-Person Objective
  • Third person limited
  • Omniscient


have a discernible story or situation.

Elements of Poetry

  • Connotation – addition meaning of a word which have emotional significances.
  • Figurative Language – poetry uses word in such a way that they mean something other than what they mean.
  • Imagery – an element that distinguishes poetry from other literary types.
  • Sound and rhythm – part of the meaning of the poem is carried by the sound of words.


composition which discusses a single topic.

Elements of Essay

  • Theme or Content – may have as the topic those experiences and events which the author want to recreate or interpret for his reader.
  • Style – is limited only by the writers personality and the topic he is writing about.
  • Forms and Structures – refers to the way in which all parts of the essay are connected to one another to achieve a certain impression of effects.


may be read and enjoyed as literature.

Elements of Drama

  • Plot – the movement in a story towards the resolution.
  • Character – who cause the events to happen, the one’s to whom the event happen.
  • Conflict – the primary ingredient of his play.

Discovery ,reversal , and dramatic

  • Discovery – an event over, which the audience may have, but which the character on stage do not have.
  • Reversal – occurs when the event or action of the play seem to be going in a certain direction but suddenly change to another direction.
  • Dramatic irony – build up tension and suspense.
  • Language and Idea – it is the thought-content of the play which is given importance by the author .


  1. William Shakespeare
  2. George Orwell
  3. J.K. Rowling
  4. Kurt Vonnegut
  5. Virginia Woolf


  • Rhetorical modes

Rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse) describe the variety, conventions, and purposes of the major kinds of writing Exposition
Expository writing is a type of writing where the purpose is to explain, inform, or even describe.

  • Reports
  • Business letters
  • Textbooks
  • Argumentation

The purpose of argumentation (also called persuasive writing) is to prove the validity of an idea, or point of view, by presenting sound reasoning, discussion, and argument that thoroughly convince the reader.

  • Critical review
  • Résumés
  • Description – The purpose of description is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that which is being described.
  • Journal writing
  • Poetry
  • Narration – The purpose of narration is to tell a story or narrate an event or series of events
  • Short story
  • Novels




Poetry is the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you


Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance

Story Telling

A person conveys events in words or images


Contention or Argument

Visually Presented

  • Comics
  • Film – A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still images which, when shown on a screen, creates the illusion of moving images.

Cite this page

General Forms and Types of Literature. (2016, Mar 28). Retrieved from

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