Literary Genre Essay
Literary genres are determined by literary technique, tone, content and by critics’ definitions of the genres. A literary genre is a category, type or class of literature. Major forms of literature The major forms of Literature are: * Novel * Poem * Drama * Short story * Novella Various forms of literature are written in and further categorized by genre. Sometimes forms are used interchangeably to define genre. However, a form, e. g. , a novel or a poem, can itself be written in any genre.
Genre is a label that characterizes elements a reader can expect in a work of literature. The major forms of literature can be written in various genres. Classic major genres Genre is a category characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter. The classic major genres of Literature are: * Drama * Romance * Satire * Tragedy * Comedy * Tragicomedy Genre categories: fiction and nonfiction Genre may fall under one of two categories: Fiction and Nonfiction.
Any genre can be either: a work of Fiction (nonfactual descriptions and events invented by the author) or a work of Nonfiction (a communication in which descriptions and events are understood to be factual). Common genres: fiction Subsets of genres, known as common genres, have developed from the archetypes of genres in written expression. The common genres included in recommended Literature from kindergarten through Grade Twelve by the Californiaю
Department of Education are defined as: * Drama – stories composed in verse or prose, usually for theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue and action * Fable – narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans; legendary, supernatural tale * Fairy tale – story about fairies or other magical creatures, usually for children * Fantasy – fiction with strange or other worldly settings or characters;
fiction which invites suspension of reality * Fiction narrative – literary works whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact * Fiction in verse – full-length novels with plot, subplot(s), theme(s), major and minor characters, in which the narrative is presented in (usually blank) verse form * Folklore – the songs, stories, myths, and proverbs of a people or “folk” as handed down by word of mouth * Historical fiction – story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting * Horror – fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread and sometimes fear in both the characters and the readerю
* Humor – Usually a fiction full of fun, fancy, and excitement, meant to entertain and sometimes cause intended laughter; but can be contained in all genres * Legend – story, sometimes of a national or folk hero, that has a basis in fact but also includes imaginative material * Mystery – fiction dealing with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secretsю
* Mythology – legend or traditional narrative, often based in part on historical events, that reveals human behavior and natural phenomena by its symbolism; often pertaining to the actions of the gods * Poetry – verse and rhythmic writing with imagery that creates emotional responses * Realistic fiction – story that is true to lifeю
* Science fiction – story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in the future or on other planets * Short story – fiction of such brevity that it supports no subplots * Tall tale – humorous story with blatant exaggerations, swaggering heroes who do the impossible with nonchalance Common genres: nonfiction
* Biography/Autobiography – Narrative of a person’s life. A true story about a real person. * Essay – A short literary composition that reflects the author’s outlook or point. * Narrative nonfiction – Factual information presented in a format which tells a story.
* Speech – Public address or discourse. * Textbook – Authoritative and detailed factual description of a topic. Literary fiction vs. genre fiction Literary fiction is a term used to distinguish certain fictional works that possess commonly held qualities that constitute literary merit. Genre works are written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre.
Literary fiction may fit within a classification of market fiction, but also possesses generally agreed upon qualities such as “elegantly written, lyrical, and … layered” that appeals to readers outside genre fiction. Literary fiction has been defined as any fiction that attempts to engage with one or more truths or questions, hence relevant to a broad scope of humanity as a form of expression.
There are many sources that help readers find and define literary fiction and genre fiction. Literary element A literary element is an element found in the whole works of literature. Literary elements are not “used” by all authors; instead, they exist inherently in forms of literature and are derived by the readers of a work in question.
 This distinguishes them from literary techniques, which are less universal and are used intentionally rather than being emergent characteristics of a literary work. For example, characterization, conflict, setting, and point of view would be considered literary elements, whereas irony or foreshadowing are considered literary techniques. Literary elements are most frequently used to help discussion on a work or better understand a work of literature.
For instance, the New York State Comprehensive English Regents Exam requires that students utilize and discuss literary elements relating to specific works in each of the two essays, much like many other state-level high school exams nationwide. Literary elements * antagonist * archetype (prototype/original/classic/model) * characterization * climax * conflict * dialogue * diction * denouement (resolution) * dramatic structure * falling action * language * mood * moral * motif (feature/recurring design) * narrative mode (point of view) * narrative structure * Peripheral (minor/not a central important)ю
* plot * protagonist * rising action * setting * speaker * syntax * theme * Tone * Literary Analysis: Using Elements of Literature Students are asked to write literary analysis essays because this type of assignment encourages you to think about how and why a poem, short story, novel, or play was written.
To successfully analyze literature, you’ll need to remember that authors make specific choices for particular reasons. Your essay should point out the author’s choices and attempt to explain their significance. Another way to look at a literary analysis is to consider a piece of literature from your own perspective. Rather than thinking about the author’s intentions, you can develop an argument based on any single term (or combination of terms) listed below. You’ll just need to use the original text to defend and explain your argument to the reader.
Allegory – narrative form in which the characters are representative of some larger humanistic trait (i. e.greed, vanity, or bravery) and attempt to convey some larger lesson or meaning to life. Although allegory was originally and traditionally character based, modern allegories tend to parallel story and theme. * William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily- the decline of the Old South * Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde- man’s struggle to contain his inner primal instincts * District 9- South African Apartheid * X Men- the evils of prejudice * Harry Potter- the dangers of seeking “racial purity” Character – representation of a person, place, or thing performing traditionally human activities or functions in a work of fiction * Protagonist – The character the story revolves around.
* Antagonist – A character or force that opposes the protagonist. * Minor character – Often provides support and illuminates the protagonist. * Static character – A character that remains the same. * Dynamic character – A character that changes in some important way. * Characterization – The choices an author makes to reveal a character’s personality, such as appearance, actions, dialogue, and motivations. Look for: Connections, links, and clues between and about characters.
Ask yourself what the function and significance of each character is. Make this determination based upon the character’s history, what the reader is told (and not told), and what other characters say about themselves and others.
Connotation – implied meaning of word. BEWARE! Connotations can change over time. * confidence/ arrogance * mouse/ rat * cautious/ scared * curious/ nosey * frugal/ cheap Denotation – dictionary definition of a word Diction – word choice that both conveys and emphasizes the meaning or theme of a poem through distinctions in sound, look, rhythm, syllable, letters, and definition Figurative language – the use of words to express meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves * Metaphor – contrasting to seemingly unalike things to enhance the meaning of a situation or theme without using like or as * You are the sunshine of my life.
* Simile – contrasting to seemingly unalike things to enhance the meaning of a situation or theme using like or as * What happens to a dream deferred, does it dry up like a raisin in the sun * Hyperbole – exaggeration * I have a million things to do today. * Personification – giving non-human objects human characteristics * America has thrown her hat into the ring, and will be joining forces with the British. Foot – grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables used in line or poem * Iamb – unstressed syllable followed by stressed * Made famous by the Shakespearian sonnet, closest to the natural rhythm of human speech * How do I love thee? Let me count the ways * Spondee – stressed stressedю
* Used to add emphasis and break up monotonous rhythm * Blood boil, mind-meld, well- loved * Trochee – stressed unstressed * Often used in children’s rhymes and to help with memorization, gives poem a hurried feeling * While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, * Anapest – unstressed unstressed stressed * Often used in longer poems or “rhymed stories” * Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house * Dactyls – stressed unstressed unstressed * Often used in classical Greek or Latin text, later revived by the Romantics, then again by the Beatles, often thought to create a heartbeat or pulse in a poem * Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
The iamb stumbles through my books; trochees rush and tumble; while anapest runs like a hurrying brook; dactyls are stately and classical. Imagery – the author’s attempt to create a mental picture (or reference point) in the mind of the reader. Remember, though the most immediate forms of imagery are visual, strong and effective imagery can be used to invoke an emotional, sensational (taste, touch, smell etc) or even physical response. Meter – measure or structuring of rhythm in a poem Plot – the arrangement of ideas and/or incidents that make up a story * Foreshadowing – When the writer clues the reader in to something that will eventually occur in the story; it may be explicit (obvious) or implied (disguised).
* Suspense – The tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown * Conflict – Struggle between opposing forces. * Exposition – Background information regarding the setting, characters, plot. * Rising Action – The process the story follows as it builds to its main conflict * Crisis – A significant turning point in the story that determines how it must end * Resolution/Denouement – The way the story turns out.
Point of View – pertains to who tells the story and how it is told. The point of view of a story can sometimes indirectly establish the author’s intentions. * Narrator – The person telling the story who may or may not be a character in the story.
* First-person – Narrator participates in action but sometimes has limited knowledge/vision. * Second person – Narrator addresses the reader directly as though she is part of the story. (i. e. “You walk into your bedroom. You see clutter everywhere and…”) * Third Person (Objective) – Narrator is unnamed/unidentified (a detached observer). Does not assume character’s perspective and is not a character in the story.
The narrator reports on events and lets the reader supply the meaning. * Omniscient – All-knowing narrator (multiple perspectives). The narrator knows what each character is thinking and feeling, not just what they are doing throughout the story.
This type of narrator usually jumps around within the text, following one character for a few pages or chapters, and then switching to another character for a few pages, chapters, etc. Omniscient narrators also sometimes step out of a particular character’s mind to evaluate him or her in some meaningful way. Rhythm – often thought of as a poem’s timing.
Rhythm is the juxtaposition of stressed and unstressed beats in a poem, and is often used to give the reader a lens through which to move through the work. (See meter and foot) Setting – the place or location of the action. The setting provides the historical and cultural context for characters. It often can symbolize the emotional state of characters.
Example – In Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the crumbling old mansion reflects the decaying state of both the family and the narrator’s mind. We also see this type of emphasis on setting in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. Speaker – the person delivering the poem. Remember, a poem does not have to have a speaker, and the speaker and the poet are not necessarily one in the same. Structure (fiction) – The way that the writer arranges the plot of a story.
Look for: Repeated elements in action, gesture, dialogue, description, as well as shifts in direction, focus, time, place, etc. Structure (poetry) – The pattern of organization of a poem. For example, a Shakespearean sonnet is a 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter.
Because the sonnet is strictly constrained, it is considered a closed or fixed form. An open or free form poem has looser form, or perhaps one of the author’s invention, but it is important to remember that these poems are not necessarily formless. Symbolism – when an object is meant to be representative of something or an idea greater than the object itself.
* Cross – representative of Christ or Christianity * Bald Eagle – America or Patriotism * Owl – wisdom or knowledge * Yellow – implies cowardice or rot Tone – the implied attitude towards the subject of the poem. Is it hopeful, pessimistic, dreary, worried? A poet conveys tone by combining all of the elements listed above to create a precise impression on the reader.