Introduction to the Comparative Course-Literary Genre

Literary Genre refers to the style in which your text is written or presented on stage or film. It is an analysis of how the author put the story together to present the reader/audience with a compelling story. Literary Genre examines that ways in which telling a story can differ across the various genres, like novel, drama or film.

When studying a novel, you will look at various key elements that the author used in order to tell the best possible story. These include:

  • How the story is narrated, did they use a first or third person narrator and how does that impact on us as readers? If the story is narrated by a child, does it have an influence on the readers?
  • Is the title significant and does it tell us anything about what the story is going to be about?
  • Who are the main characters and how are they developed through the story?
  • Does the author use foreshadowing as a way to keep the reader intrigued and turning pages?
  • How does the writer build suspense in the story?
  • Does the writer use colloquial language and if so, what effect did it have?
  • Does the writer employ symbols throughout the text that mean something else?
  • How does the writer bring the story to its climax and conclusion?

When we look at plays, ask yourself these questions, in relation to literary genre:

  • Plays generally don’t have a narrator so how does the story progress without one(do they use props or clothing to bring the story forward?)
  • How are the characters introduced? Do we make our minds up based on their actions or the opinions of others?
  • Is the title significant and in what way?
  • In what sequence is the story told? Does the playwright use flashback as a means of progressing the story?
  • Does the playwright employ symbols to enhance the story?
  • Does the stage directions help with the progression of the story? (Lighting, clothing, furnishings?)

Lastly, we will look at film and how we analyse films in relation to literary genre:

  • Does the title have any significance?
  • Is the camera the narrator?
  • Is the story told chronologically or is there flashback employed?
  • Does the director use symbolism or juxtaposition?
  • How is lighting used to convey feeling in the film? Is pathetic fallacy used?
  • How does the dialogue help to develop the characters?

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