Literature

  • Literature is different from regular fiction.  What sets it apart is it includes life lessons that can be applicable to anyone of any ethnicity, gender or background.  It contains wisdom and universal truth.  These are called themes.  In every story you read, you should be able to figure out at least one theme, what the writer is trying to teach us about life in general.  A theme can never be one word; don’t say “the theme is love.”  It will have to be a sentence, such as “The theme is never take someone for granted.”
  • Stories will contain conflicts.  By conflicts here I mean what type of situation it is.  Man vs. man means it’s about a relationship between two characters.  Man vs. machine means something created by humans that’s artificial.  Yes, it can be a robot, but it can also mean war or social class.  It can mean racism.  Man vs. nature is anything that happens randomly that no one could control.  Finally, man vs. self means the situation in the story was caused by the character his or herself.  See if you can find more than one conflict in each story and always tell me in your essays which ones you found and why.
  • Point of view is the perspective from which the author is telling the story.  If the character is speaking to you directly, it’s first-person point of view.  If instead you are only observing one or more characters it is third person point of view.  If you know their actual thoughts, not just actions, it can also be limited or unlimited omniscient.  Limited means it’s just one character whose thoughts you know; unlimited, one character.
  • Setting is the time and place.  Is it another planet, century, the future?  Did the writer provide some details?  Were you able to imagine it?  If not, say so.  Always be honest.
  • Symbolism is anything that represents something else.  Actions can be symbolic; if someone is always helping someone it could symbolize their goodness or even low self esteem.  Don’t always look to objects to be symbols.  Also, there is no such word as “symbolisms.”  🙂
  • Diction is the type of language the writer uses overall.  Is there a lot of slang?  Was it old fashioned?  Anything unique about it.

Make a LIST of the terms discussed, applying them to two stories or poems.  

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