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LITERATURE

• Literature is a vital record of what men have seen in life, what they have experienced, what they have thought and
felt about these aspects. In other words, literature deals with life which does not only represent the natural world and
individual subjective, world but also reflects society.
• Literature can also mean the class of writings distinguished for beauty of style or expression, as poetry, essays, or
history, in distinction from scientific treatises and works which contain positive.

KINDS OF LITERATURE
• Poetry/ Poem
A poem is a composition written in verse (although verse has been equally used for epic and dramatic
fiction). Poems rely heavily on imagery, precise word choice, and metaphor; they may take the form of measures
consisting of patterns of stresses (metric feet) or of patterns of different-length syllables (as in classical prosody);
and they may or may not utilize rhyme. One cannot readily characterize poetry precisely. Typically though, poetry
as a form of literature makes some significant use of the formal properties of the words it uses – the properties of
the written or spoken form of the words, independent of their meaning. Metre depends on syllables and on rhythms
of speech; rhyme and alliteration depend on the sounds of words.
Poetry can be defined as ‘literature in a metrical form’ or ‘a composition forming rhythmic lines’. In
short, a poem is something that follows a particular flow of rhythm and meter. Compared to prose, where there is
no such restriction, and the content of the piece flows according to story, a poem may or may not have a story, but
definitely has a structured method of writing.
Poetry perhaps pre-dates other forms of literature: early known examples include the Sumerian Epic of
Gilgamesh (dated from around 2700 B.C.), parts of the Bible, the surviving works of Homer (the Iliad and the
Odyssey), and the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. In cultures based primarily on oral traditions the
formal characteristics of poetry often have a mnemonic function, and important texts: legal, genealogical or moral,
for example, may appear first in verse form.
Some poetry uses specific forms: the haiku, the limerick, or the sonnet, for example. A traditional haiku
written in Japanese must have something to do with nature, contain seventeen onji (syllables), distributed over
three lines in groups of five, seven, and five, and should also have a kigo, a specific word indicating a season. A
limerick has five lines, with a rhyme scheme of AABBA, and line lengths of 3,3,2,2,3 stressed syllables. It
traditionally has a less reverent attitude towards nature. Poetry not adhering to a formal poetic structure is called
"free verse"
Language and tradition dictate some poetic norms: Persian poetry always rhymes, Greek poetry rarely
rhymes, Italian or French poetry often does, English and German poetry can go either way. Perhaps the most
paradigmatic style of English poetry, blank verse, as exemplified in works by Shakespeare and Milton, consists of
unrhymed iambic pentameters. Some languages prefer longer lines; some shorter ones. Some of these conventions
result from the ease of fitting a specific language's vocabulary and grammar into certain structures, rather than into
others; for example, some languages contain more rhyming words than others, or typically have longer words.
Other structural conventions come about as the result of historical accidents, where many speakers of a language
associate good poetry with a verse form preferred by a particular skilled or popular poet.
Works for theatre (see below) traditionally took verse form. This has now become rare outside opera and musicals,
although many would argue that the language of drama remains intrinsically poetic.

• Prose consists of writing that does not adhere to any particular formal structures (other than simple grammar);
"non-poetic" writing, perhaps. The term sometimes appears pejoratively, but prosaic writing simply says something
without necessarily trying to say it in a beautiful way, or using beautiful words. Prose writing can of course take
beautiful form; but less by virtue of the formal features of words (rhymes, alliteration, metre) but rather by style,
placement, or inclusion of graphics. But one need not mark the distinction precisely, and perhaps cannot do so.
One area of overlap is "prose poetry", which attempts to convey using only prose, the aesthetic richness typical of
poetry.

Fiction
Narrative fiction (narrative prose) generally favours prose for the writing of novels, short stories, graphic
novels, and the like. Singular examples of these exist throughout history, but they did not develop into systematic
and discrete literary forms until relatively recent centuries. Length often serves to categorize works of prose
fiction. Although limits remain somewhat arbitrary, modern publishing conventions dictate the following:
• A Mini Saga is a short story of exactly 50 words
• A Flash fiction is generally defined as a piece of prose under a thousand words.
• A short story comprises prose writing of between 1000 and 20,000 words (but typically more than 5000
words), which may or may not have a narrative arc.
• A story containing between 20,000 and 50,000 words falls into the novella category.
• A work of fiction containing more than 50,000 words falls squarely into the realm of the novel.

A novel consists simply of a long story written in prose, yet the form developed comparatively recently.
Icelandic prose sagas dating from about the 11th century bridge the gap between traditional national verse epics
and the modern psychological novel. In mainland Europe, the Spaniard Cervantes wrote perhaps the first
influential novel: Don Quixote, the first part of which was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. Earlier
collections of tales, such as the One Thousand and One Nights, lorena restrepo's Decameron and Chaucer's The
Canterbury Tales, have comparable forms and would classify as novels if written today. Other works written in
classical Asian and Arabic literature resemble even more strongly the novel as we now think of it – for example,
works such as the Japanese Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki, the Arabic Hayy ibn Yaqdhan by Ibn Tufail, the
Arabic Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn al-Nafis, and the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo
Guanzhong.
Early novels in Europe did not, at the time, count as significant literature, perhaps because "mere" prose
writing seemed easy and unimportant. It has become clear, however, that prose writing can provide aesthetic
pleasure without adhering to poetic forms. Additionally, the freedom authors gain in not having to concern
themselves with verse structure translates often into a more complex plot or into one richer in precise detail than
one typically finds even in narrative poetry. This freedom also allows an author to experiment with many different
literary and presentation styles – including poetry – in the scope of a single novel.

• Drama

A play or drama offers another classical literary form that has continued to evolve over the years. It
generally comprises chiefly dialogue between characters, and usually aims at dramatic / theatrical performance (see
theatre) rather than at reading. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, opera developed as a combination of
poetry, drama, and music. Nearly all drama took verse form until comparatively recently. Shakespeare could be
considered drama. Romeo and Juliet, for example, is a classic romantic drama generally accepted as literature.

Greek drama exemplifies the earliest form of drama of which we have substantial knowledge. Tragedy, as
a dramatic genre, developed as a performance associated with religious and civic festivals, typically enacting or
developing upon well-known historical or mythological themes. Tragedies generally presented very serious
themes. With the advent of newer technologies, scripts written for non-stage media have been added to this form.
War of the Worlds (radio) in 1938 saw the advent of literature written for radio broadcast, and many works of
Drama have been adapted for film or television. Conversely, television, film, and radio literature have been
adapted to printed or electronic media.

LITERATURE GENRES
• Epic
• Lyric
• Drama
• Romance
• Satire
• Tragedy
• Comedy
• Tragicomedy

A literary genre refers to the traditional divisions of literature of various kinds according to a particular criterion
of writing. See the list of literary genres.
List of literary genres:
• Autobiography, Memoir, Spiritual autobiography
• Biography
• Diaries and Journals
• Electronic literature
• Erotic literature
• Slave narrative
• Fiction
o Adventure novel
o Children's literature
o Comic novel
o Crime fiction
 Detective fiction
o Fable, Fairy tale, Folklore
o Fantasy (for more details see Fantasy subgenres; fantasy literature)
o Gothic fiction (initially synonymous with horror)
o Historical fiction
o Horror
o Medical novel
o Mystery fiction
o Philosophical novel
o Political fiction
o Romance novel
 Historical romance
o Saga, Family Saga
o Satire
o Science fiction (for more details see Science fiction genre)
o Thriller
 Conspiracy fiction
 Legal thriller
 Psychological thriller
 Spy fiction/Political thriller
o Tragedy

THE ELEMENTS OF FICTION, POETRY AND DRAMA


• Elements of Fiction
Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, and Point of View are the main elements which fiction writers use to
develop a story and its Theme.
Because literature is an art and not a science, it is impossible to specifically quantify any of these elements within
any story or to guarantee that each will be present in any given story.
Setting might be the most important element in one and almost nonexistent in another.
Just as a Crime Scene Investigator cannot approach a crime scene looking for a specific clue (e. g., shell casings),
you as a reader cannot approach a story deciding to look for a specific element, such as Symbol. To assume could
blind you to important elements. Both the CSI team and you must examine the entire “area” carefully to determine
what is present and how it is important.
With that understanding, let’s examine the elements.
Plot
Literature teachers sometimes give the impression that plot is not important, that anyone interested in plot is an
immature reader.
Of course plot is important. It was what got us interested in reading in the first place. It was the carrot on the
string that pulled us through a story as we wanted to see what would happen next.
That said, let me emphasize that plot is rarely the most important element of a good story. As much as I’ve always
loved surprise endings, if the only thing a film or a story has is a great twist ending, it doesn’t have anything on a
second look.
And it’s worth noting that recent fiction and film have deemphasized plot, frequently stressing character or conflict
for example. In film, for example, think David Lynch or Pulp Fiction.
Setting
Stories actually have two types of setting: Physical and Chronological.
The physical setting is of course where the story takes place. The “where” can be very general—a small farming
community, for example—or very specific—a two story white frame house at 739 Hill Street in Scott City,
Missouri.
Likewise, the chronological setting, the “when,” can be equally general or specific.
The author’s choices are important. Shirley Jackson gives virtually no clues as to where or when her story “The
Lottery” is set. Examination suggests that she wants the story to be universal, not limited by time or place. The
first two stories you will read each establish a fairly specific physical setting; consider what each setting brings to
each story.
Character
What type of individuals are the main characters? Brave, cowardly, bored, obnoxious? If you tell me that the
protagonist (main character) is brave, you should be able to tell where in the story you got that perception.
In literature, as in real life, we can evaluate character three ways: what the individual says, what the individual
does, and what others say about him or her.
Conflict
Two types of conflict are possible: External and Internal.
External conflict could be man against nature (people in a small lifeboat on a rough ocean) or man against man.
While internal conflict might not seem as exciting as external, remember that real life has far more internal than
external conflict.
Film and fiction emphasize external conflict not simply because “it’s more interesting” but also because it’s easier
to write. In a film script, you merely have to write “A five minute car chase follows” and you’ve filled five
minutes.
Symbol
Don’t get bent out of shape about symbols. Simply put, a symbol is something which means something else.
Frequently it’s a tangible physical thing which symbolizes something intangible. The Seven/Eleven stores
understood that a few years ago when they were selling roses with a sign saying, “A Rose Means ‘I Love You.’”
The basic point of a story or a poem rarely depends solely on understanding a symbol. However important or
interesting they might be, symbols are usually “frosting,” things which add interest or depth.
It’s normal for you to be skeptical about symbols. If I tell you that the tree in a certain story symbolizes the
Garden of Eden, you may ask “Is that really there or did you make it up?” or “How do you know what the author
meant?”
Literature teachers may indeed “over-interpret” at times, find symbols that really aren’t there. But if you don’t
occasionally chase white rabbits that aren’t there, you’ll rarely find the ones that are there.
In the film 2001, a computer named HAL is controlling a flight to Jupiter. When the human crew decides to abort
the mission, HAL—programmed to guarantee the success of the mission—“logically” begins to kill off the
humans. Science fiction’s oldest theme: man develops a technology which he not only cannot control, it controls
him.
Consider HAL’s name. Add one letter to each of the letters in his name. Change the H to I, the A to B, and the L
to M. When you realize how close HAL is to IBM, the first response is disbelief. But clearly the closeness of the
names is either an absolute accident or an intentional choice. As much as we are startled by the latter, we probably
agree that the odds against the former—it being an accident—are astronomical.
Somebody thought that up. Or maybe a computer.
Point Of View
Point of View is the “narrative point of view,” how the story is told—more specifically, who tells it.
There are two distinctly different types of point of view and each of those two types has two variations.
In the First Person point of view, the story is told by a character within the story, a character using the first person
pronoun, I.
If the narrator is the main character, the point of view is first person protagonist. Mark Twain lets Huck Finn
narrate his own story in this point of view.
If the narrator is a secondary character, the point of view is first person observer. Arthur Conan Doyle lets
Sherlock Holmes’ friend Dr. Watson tell the Sherlock Holmes story. Doyle frequently gets credit for telling
detective stories this way, but Edgar Allan Poe perfected the technique half a century earlier.
In the Third Person point of view, the story is not told by a character but by an “invisible author,” using the third
person pronoun (he, she, or it) to tell the story. Instead of Huck Finn speaking directly to us, “My name’s
Huckleberry Finn” and telling us “I killed a pig and spread the blood around so people would think I’d been
killed”, the third person narrator would say: He killed a pig and spread the blood…..
If the third person narrator gives us the thoughts of characters (He wondered where he’d lost his baseball glove),
then he is a third person omniscient (all knowing) narrator.
If the third person narrator only gives us information which could be recorded by a camera and microphone (no
thoughts), then he is a third person dramatic narrator.
In summary, then, here are the types of point of view:
First Person Narrator
Protagonist
Observer
Third Person Narrator
Omniscient
Dramatic
Different points of view can emphasize different things. A first person protagonist narrator would give us access to
the thoughts of the main character. If the author doesn’t want us to have that access, he could use the first person
observer, for example, or the third person dramatic.
Theme
Theme isn’t so much an element of fiction as much as the result of the entire story. The theme is the main idea the
writer of the poem or story wants the reader to understand and remember.
You may have used the word “Moral” in discussing theme; but it’s not a good synonym because “moral” implies a
positive meaning or idea. And not all themes are positive.
One word—love, for example—may be a topic; but it cannot be a theme.
A theme is a statement about a topic.
For example: “The theme of the story is that love is the most important thing in the world.” That’s a cliché, of
course, but it is a theme.

• Elements of Poetry
There are several elements which make up a good poem. In brief, they are described below.
Rhythm: This is the music made by the statements of the poem, which includes the syllables in the lines. The best
method of understanding this is to read the poem aloud. Listen for the sounds and the music made when we hear
the lines spoken aloud. How do the words resonate with each other? How do the words flow when they are linked
with one another? Does sound right? Do the words fit with each other? These are the things you consider while
studying the rhythm of the poem.
Meter: This is the basic structural make-up of the poem. Do the syllables match with each other? Every line in the
poem must adhere to this structure. A poem is made up of blocks of lines, which convey a single strand of thought.
Within those blocks, a structure of syllables which follow the rhythm has to be included. This is the meter or the
metrical form of poetry.
Rhyme: A poem may or may not have a rhyme. When you write poetry that has rhyme, it means that the last
words of the lines match with each other in some form. Either the last words of the first and second lines would
rhyme with each other or the first and the third, second and the fourth and so on. Rhyme is basically similar
sounding words like ‘cat’ and ‘hat’, ‘close’ and ‘shows’, ‘house’ and ‘mouse’ etc. Free verse poetry, though, does
not follow this system.
Alliteration: This is also used in several poems for sound effect. Several words in the sentence may begin with the
same alphabet or syllable sound. For example, in the sentence "Many minute miniature moments," the sound of the
alphabet ‘M’ is repeated in all the four words continuously. When you say those words aloud, the sound effect
generated is called Alliteration.
Simile: A simile is a method of comparison using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. When, in a poem, something is said to
be ‘like’ another it means that the poet is using Simile to convey his feelings about what (s)he is describing. For
example, in the statement ‘Her laughter was like a babbling brook’, the poet is comparing the laughter of the girl to
the sound made by a babbling brook. Note that ‘babbling brook’ is an example of Alliteration.
Metaphor: A metaphor is a method of comparison where the words ‘like’ and ‘as’ are not used. To modify the
earlier example, if the statement used had been something like ‘Her laughter, a babbling brook’, then it would be
the use of Metaphor.
Theme: This is what the poem is all about. The theme of the poem is the central idea that the poet wants to convey.
It can be a story, or a thought, or a description of something or someone – anything which is what the poem is all
about.
Symbolism: Often poems will convey ideas and thoughts using symbols. A symbol can stand for many things at
one time and leads the reader out of a systematic and structured method of looking at things. Often a symbol used
in the poem will be used to create such an effect.

Another Theory of the Poetry Elements


1. Rhythm: The metrical flow of sound determined by the placement of stressed and unstressed syllables
in a line.
She stroked molten tones
From the heart-carved maple dulcimer.
Questions: Does there seem to be a regulated metrical pattern to the poem? If so, what? Does each line
generally seem to have the same number of stressed syllables? If so, how many? Are some lines longer
than others? Why? Are some lines shorter? Why?
Examples: In "Yonosa House," (the poem at the end of this document) the lines generally have three or
four stresses, although there is no strict metrical pattern. The shortest line is line three: "My grandma did."
The shortness emphasizes the subject (the grandmother) and her action (the verb "to do"). Through her
loving actions, the grandmother epitomizes the spirituality and customs of her people.
2. Rhyme: When the final vowel and consonant sounds of words are the same (i.e., mouse/house, low/toe).
Questions: Is there a rhyme scheme to the poem? If so, what is it? Is there any incidental rhyme in the
poem? Which lines? When you say the rhyming words together, what mood, feeling, idea, sense, etc., do
they evoke? Is there any internal rhyme? Off -rhyme? List the line numbers and jot down the feelings,
etc., the words evoke.
Examples: There is no rhyme scheme in "Yonosa House," but there is off-rhyme at lines 17-19, which are
in italics, indicating they are the words/song of the grandmother. These off-rhyming words -
rock/bark/hawk - are all words for nature. They indicate that the wisdom/the myths of the race come from
an attunement with nature. In line 24 there is internal rhyme: wore/lore. These words .imply that the
grandmother "wore" the wisdom of the tribe in her very being, that wisdom was intrinsic in her.
3. Words.
Questions: Look up and define any words you don't know. And if there are significant words that seem to
have more than one denotation and/or connotation, look up the etymologies (the roots of those words).
Examples: Line 13, lanyards = A short rope of gasket for seizing a ladder or the like or to secure rigging;
a cord worn around the neck for carrying a knife, keys, or a whistle. From OF word for thong, strap;
perhaps laz, lace + naele, string.
4. Repetitions.
Questions: Are any significant words repeated in the poem? Which ones? Why? That is, what are the
repetitions emphasizing?
Examples: The words heart, maple, and hands are repeated in the poem. They emphasize the activities of
the grandmother, who is often portrayed doing things, activities from the heart. Love in action, those
hands, those activities, her big heart are what the poet remembers most.
5. Alliteration: When two or more words have the same initial sounds (i.e., Becky bopped the baker).
Questions: What lines contain alliteration? List each line. Write out the words that alliterate. When you
say the alliterating words together what feeling, mood, idea, sense, etc., do they evoke?
Examples: Line 6 - sat/sack. The words emphasize her age. Her body no longer has a definable shape. It
is like a sack. I can see her hunched over, everything sort of falling into itself.
6. Assonance: Partial rhyme, when the internal vowel sounds of words are the same (i.e.,
cow/bound/mouse).
Questions: What lines contain assonance? List each line. Write out the words that assonate. When you
say the assonating words together what feeling, mood, idea, sense, etc., do they evoke?
Examples: Line I - stroked/molten/tones. Rich "o" sounds. Depth. Roundness. A resonance. Top capture
the tones of the dulcimer. Also the assonance emphasizes the synesthesia of the line. (Synesthesia = the
mixing of the senses.. One type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another. A color sings. A song has
color.) We can "see" and "feel" the tones, which are like the colors and heat of metal in a forge, melting.
7. Simile: a comparison using like or as.
Questions: What similes are used in the poem? List each by line number. What is being compared with
what? Why?
Examples: Line 9 - The grandmother's hair is compared to "waxed flax ready to spin." The comparison
shows the limpness of the hair, limpness caused by age. But it also shows that the body parts of the
grandmother in a way represents her people. The craftsmanship. The weaving she does comes out of her
whole body so to speak, not just her hands. I am reminded of Paula Gunn Allen's poem: "Out of her own
body she pushed/silver thread, light air. . ."
8. Metaphor: A comparison that does not use like or as.
Questions: What metaphors are used in the poem? List each by line number. What is being compared
with what? Why?
Examples: Line 20. The veins in her hands are called "slow blue rivers." The metaphor helps to show her
age, exemplified in swollen veins. But it also implies the history of her people, the long line she comes
from - as old as a slow-moving river. The metaphor also emphasizes her patience, her endurance, and her
depth.
9. Symbol: Something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention;
especially a material/concrete object used to represent something invisible/abstract.
Questions: Choose one symbol in the poem. Free associate five words for that symbol. What is the poet
doing in the poem with that symbol? How do the symbol and the free associations help you understand the
poem better?
Example: Maple: red/fall/beauty/tree/sap. The maple is a symbol from nature. In Native American lore, it
symbolizes wisdom or spirituality. It is an example of how Native Americans lived in harmony with
nature, using the wood of that tree to shape musical instruments. It also evokes the beauty of native
peoples, the color of their skin, their endurance and patience, the lasting power of their customs.
10. Theme: The message of the poem. The idea, point of view or perception embodied and expanded
upon in the poem.
Question: What is the theme of the poem (as distinct from the topic)?
Examples: The topic of "Yonosa House" is the grandmother. The theme is that the body of the
grandmother "houses" all the things that Smith believes are worth living for, the values that she and her
people taught him: artistry, craftsmanship, loving activity, attunements to nature, living out the
mythologies, being at one with one's culture, one's history.
11. Freewrite- Writing anything that comes to your mind without thinking about punctuation, grammar,
organization, etc.; free flowing. Thinking and feeling through writing.
Questions: Freewrite about the poem. Write anything you like. How do you relate to the poem: What
memories does it evoke: What feelings: Philosophies: What did you learn as you read the poem: Could
you compare it to another poem? Did you like the poem? Why? Why not?

Elements of poetry
This is a list of elements used within the writing of poems:
Alliteration
Two or more words which have the same initial sound.
Assonance
A partial rhyme which has the same internal vowel sounds amongst different words.
Metaphor
A comparison which does not use the words like or as.
Onomatopoeia
Words that sound like their meaning. For example, buzz, moo, pow.
Repetitions
The repetition of the same word throughout the poem to emphasize significance.
Rhyme
The repetition of sounds within different words, either end sound, middle or beginning.
Rhythm
The flow of words within each meter and stanza.
Simile
A comparison using the words like or as.
Style
The way the poem is written. Free-style, ballad, haiku, etc. Includes length of meters, number of
stanzas along with rhyme techniques and rhythm.
Symbol
Something that represents something else through association, resemblance or convention
Theme
The message, point of view and idea of the poem.

• Elements of Drama
Audience
The fact of a live audience also has an important impact on the way plays are created. The essential
feature of an audience involves the fact that they have, at a single instant, a common experience; they have
assembled for the explicit purpose of seeing a play. Drama not only plays before a live audience of real people who
respond directly and immediately to it, but drama is also conceived by the author with the expectation of a specific
response. Authors calculate for the effect of a community of watchers rather than for the silent response. With this
in mind, most plays written deal with topics that are timely.
Dialogue
Dialogue provides the substance of a play. Each word uttered by the character furthers the business of the
play, contributes to its effect as a whole. Therefore, a sense of DECORUM must be established by the characters,
i.e., what is said is appropriate to the role and situation of a character. Also the exposition of the play often falls on
the dialogue of the characters. Remember exposition establishes the relationships, tensions or conflicts from which
later plot developments derive.
Plot
The interest generated by the plot varies for different kinds of plays. The plot is usually structured with
acts and scenes.
• Open conflict plays: rely on the suspense of a struggle in which the hero,
through perhaps fight a against all odds, is not doomed.
• Dramatic thesis: foreshadowing, in the form of ominous hints or symbolic
incidents, conditions the audience to expect certain logical developments.

• Coincidence: sudden reversal of fortune plays depict climatic ironies or


misunderstandings.

• Dramatic irony: the fulfillment of a plan, action, or expectation in a


surprising way, often opposite of what was intended.

Stagecraft
The stage creates its effects in spite of, and in part because of, definite physical limitations. Setting and
action tend to be suggestive rather than panoramic or colossal. Both setting and action may be little more than hints
for the spectator to fill out.

Convention
The means the playwright employs are determined at least in part by dramatic convention.
• Greek: Playwrights of the this era often worked with familiar story material, legend
about gods and famous families that the audience was familiar with. Since the audience was
familiar with certain aspects of these, the playwrights used allusion rather than explicit exposition.
In representing action, they often relied on messengers to report off-stage action. For
interpretation the Greeks relied on the CHORUS, a body of onlookers, usually citizens or elders,
whose comments on the play reflected reactions common to the community. These plays were
written in metered verse arranged in elaborate stanzas. This required intense attention from the
audience.
• English Drama: Minor characters play an important role in providing information and
guiding interpretation. The confidant, a friend or servant, listens to the complaints, plans and
reminiscences of a major character. Minor characters casually comment among themselves on
major characters and plot development. Extended SOLILOQUY enables a major character to
reveal his thoughts in much greater detail than in natural dialogue. ASIDES, remarks made to the
audience but not heard by those on the stage, are common.
• Realism: Toward the end of the nineteenth century, realistic depiction of everyday life
entered the genre of drama, whereas the characters may be unconventional and their thoughts
turbulent and fantasy-ridden.
• Contemporary: Experimentation seems to be the key word here. A NARRATOR replaces
the messenger, the chorus and the confidant. FLASHBACKS often substitute for narration. Many
contemporary playwrights have abandoned recognizable setting, chronological sequence and
characterization through dialogue.

Genres
Just a there are various types of novels, i.e., western, romance, science fiction, there are different genres of
plays. While it is difficult at times to place many latter day plays into a specific genre, seeing the attributes will
enable the reader to understand the particular play better.
Tragedy: In classic tragedy and the modern problem play, tragedy is a play in which a central character faces, and
is finally defeated by, some overwhelming threat or disaster. The hero or heroine is an active participant in the
event through a tragic flaw, a shortcoming of the protagonist, i.e., pride, rashness, indecision. This reinforces the
emphasis on action derived from character, which explains the psychological and moral interest of much great
drama. Another common type of tragedy focuses not on how the protagonist brings about but on how he meets his
fate. Tragedy so defined celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over physical necessity.
Comedy: Different kinds of comedy illustrate different ways a playwright may leaven grim truth with humor or
temper the playful with the serious. Traditionally comedy is defined as a play that bestows on its characters good
fortune, or more popularly, a happy ending. It may deal with the loves and jealousies of the young, and the
reluctance other elders to give their blessings or the necessary funds.
Characterization
A playwright's success ultimately depends on his ability to create a character that an actor can "bring to
life." The playwright's ability to match the PROTAGONIST against an ANTAGONIST of some complexity and
vitality can make the difference between a success and failure. Idiom, a character' personal thoughts and feelings as
reflected through dialogue.
LITERARY THEORY OF ABRAMS AND RENE WELLEK

ABRAMS

UNIVERSE
Mimetic (duplicate)
WORK Objective Theory
Expressive Theory Pragmatic Theory
AUTHOR AUDIENCE

Literary theories, Abrams argues, can be divided into four main groups:
• Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe)
• Pragmatic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Audience)
• Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist)
• Objective Theories (interested in close reading of the Work)

Mimetic Theory
Definition:
This can be closely related to the moral / philosophical approach, but is somewhat broader. Mimetic critics ask
how well the work of literature accords with the real world. Is it accurate? Is it correct? Is it moral? Does it show how
people really act? As such, mimetic criticism can include some forms of moral / philosophical criticism, psychological
criticism, and feminist criticism.