A. Definition of Literature
Literature is a term used to describe written or spoken material. Broadly speaking, "literature" is used to describe anything from creative writing to more technical or scientific works, but the term is most commonly used to refer to works of the creative imagination, including works of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction.
B. The Function of Studying Literature
Literature represents a language or a people: culture and tradition. But, literature is more important than just a historical or cultural artifact. Literature introduces us to new worlds of experience. We learn about books and literature; we enjoy the comedies and the tragedies of poems, stories, and plays; and we may even grow and evolve through our literary journey with books.
Ultimately, we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author says and how he/she says it. We may interpret the author's message. In academic circles, this decoding of the text is often carried out through the use of literary theory, using a mythological, sociological, psychological, historical, or other approach.
Whatever critical paradigm we use to discuss and analyze literature, there is still an artistic quality to the works. Literature is important to us because it speaks to us, it is universal, and it affects us. Even when it is ugly, literature is beautiful.
C. Advantages of Studying Literature
1. To benefit from the insight (wawasan) of others. The body of world literature contains most available knowledge about humanity--our beliefs, our self-perception, our philosophies, our assumptions and our interactions with the world at large. Some of life's most important lessons are subtly expressed in our art. We learn these lessons only if we pause to think about what we read. Why would anyone bury important ideas? Because some ideas cannot be expressed adequately in simple language, and because the lessons we have to work for are the ones that stick with us.
2. To open our minds to ambiguities of meaning. While people will "say what they mean and mean what they say" in an ideal world, language in our world is, in reality, maddeningly(menjengkelkan) and delightfully (dengan gembira)ambiguous. If you go through life expecting people to play by your rules, you'll only be miserable(tidak Senang), angry and disappointed. You won't change them. Ambiguity, double entendres and nuance give our language depth and endless (tak ada habisnya)possibility. Learn it. Appreciate it. Revel in it.
3. To explore other cultures and beliefs. History, anthropology and religious studies provide a method of learning about the cultures and beliefs of others from the outside looking in. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to experience the cultures and beliefs of others first-hand, from the inside looking out. The only other way to have such a personal understanding of others' beliefs are to adopt them yourself--which most of us aren't willing to do. If you understand where other people are coming from, you are better equipped to communicate meaningfully with them--and they with you.
4. To appreciate why individuals are the way they are. Each person we meet represents a unique concoction of knowledge, beliefs, and experiences. In our own culture we find an infinite variety of attitudes and personalities, hatreds and bigotries, and assumptions. With each exposure to those who differ from us, we expand our minds. We may still reject their beliefs and assumptions, but we're one step closer to understanding them.
6. To exercise our brains. Our brains need exercise just like our bodies do. Don't balk (MENOLAK KERAS) at picking up the barbell and doing a few mental curls. Great literature has hidden meanings that won't slap us in the face like childrens' books will; we'll have to dig and analyze like an adult to find the gold.
7. To teach us to see individual bias. In a sense, each of us is an unreliable (TAK DAPAT DIPERCAYA)or naive (TAK DIBUAT BUAT) narrator, but most of us mindlessly (tanpa pikir panjang) accept the stories of certain friends or family without qualification. We should remember that they are centers of their own universes, though, just like we are. They are first-person narrators--not omniscient(maha tahu)--just like we are. The only thing that suffers when we appreciate individual bias is our own gullibility.
11. To see the tragedy. Lenin said "A million deaths are a statistic, but one death is a tragedy." History gives you the statistics. Literature shows you the human tragedy.
12. To further our mastery of language. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words build and destroy nations. Study of literature hones (mengasah)our language skills and teaches us new and valuable techniques for communication. A master of language can seduce (membujuk) your emotions and inspire you to follow him into death--or he can crush your will with a word. Language is the single most important tool of leadership and great leaders embrace its study.
14. To explore ethical complexities. Only children find ethical rules cut and dried. Literature forces readers to challenge their simplistic ethical conceptions and sometimes their outright condemnation (penghukuman) of others' actions. For example, we believe lying is wrong. But what do we mean? Do we never lie? Have you ever met a person rude (kasar) enough to follow this rule implicitly? Be advised, though: ethical exploration is a mature endeavor (usaha); it is not for the thin-skinned.
16. To learn better ways to behave. An untold amount of our opinions and words and reactions are absorbed during childhood and from our culture. Literature teaches us better courses of action and more effective responses to situations.
17. To know we aren't alone. Others have been where we are, have felt as we feel, have believed as we believe. Paradoxically, we are unique just like everyone else. But we aren't alone. Others were here and they survived...and may have even learned from it--and so may we.
19. To learn to support our points of view and trust our own interpretations. We provide evidence for our interpretation of a story or poem when we explicate it. When we build a solid case in support of our opinion, we build self-confidence in our own interpretations of language itself.
21. To expand our vocabularies. New words are tools for grasping ((memahami)new ideas. Each new idea is a building block upon which we may acquire more knowledge. Knowledge is power.
D. Component and Kinds of Literature
Literature is a reflection of the society. A writer appeals to our feelings, emotions through various elements of literature, such as plot, character, theme, etc. Read more to know about the elements of literature.
Facts on Elements of Literature
Elements of literature denote the things that are used to make up a work of literature. There are different types and forms of literature. They are novel, drama, poetry, biography, non-fictional prose, essay, epic and short story. All these types of literature have some elements. To complete a piece of literature, a writer, dramatist or a novelist need to use certain elements like plot, character, theme, etc. However, elements of fiction and elements of drama differ from elements of poetry. These elements are discussed below:
Literary types such as fiction; drama and short story have some elements. These include
• Point of view
1. Fictional Literature
1)Elements of Poetry
When you read a poem, pay attention to some basic ideas:
- Voice (Who is speaking ? How are they speaking?)
- Stanzas (how lines are grouped)
- Sound (includes rhyme, but also many other patterns)
- Rhythm (what kind of "beat" or meter does the poem have?)
- Figures of speech (many poems are full of metaphors and other figurative language)
- Form (there are standard types of poem)
Voice is a word people use to talk about the way poems "talk" to the reader.
Lyric poems and narrative poems are the ones you will see most. Lyric poems express the feelings of the writer. A narrative poem tells a story.
Some other types of voice are mask, apostrophe, and conversation. A mask puts on the identity of someone or something else, and speaks for it. Apostrophe talks to something that can't answer (a bee, the moon, a tree) and is good for wondering, asking, or offering advice. Conversation is a dialogue between two voices and often asks us to guess who the voices are.
A stanza is a group within a poem which may have two or many lines. They are like paragraphs. Some poems are made of REALLY short stanzas, called couplets--two lines that rhyme, one after the other, usually equal in length.
One of the most important things poems do is play with sound. That doesn't just mean rhyme. It means many other things. The earliest poems were memorized and recited, not written down, so sound is very important in poetry.
Rhyme means sounds agree. "Rhyme" usually means end rhymes (words at the end of a line). They give balance and please the ear. Sometimes rhymes are exact. Other times they are just similar. Both are okay.
Meter (or metrics) - When you speak, you don't say everything in a steady tone like a hum--you'd sound funny. Instead, you stress parts of words. You say different parts of words with different volume, and your voice rises and falls as if you were singing a song. Mostly, we don't notice we're doing it. Poetry in English is often made up of poetic units or feet. The most common feet are the iamb, the trochee, the anapest, and the dactyl. Each foot has one stress or beat.
Depending on what kind of poem you're writing, each line can have anywhere from one to many stressed beats, otherwise known as feet. Most common are:
Trimeter (three beats)
Tetrameter (four beats)
Pentameter (five beats)
Figures of speech
Figures of speech are also called figurative language. The most well-known figures of speech are are simile, metaphor, and personification. They are used to help with the task of "telling, not showing."
(a) Simile - a comparison of one thing to another, using the words "like," "as," or "as though."
(b) Metaphor - comparing one thing to another by saying that one thing is another thing. Metaphors are stronger than similes, but they are more difficult to see.
(c) Personification - speaking as if something were human when it's not.
There are a number of common poetic forms. .
Ballad - story told in verse. A ballad stanza is usually four lines, and there is often a repetitive refrain. As you might guess, this form started out as a song. An example of a traditional Scottish ballad is Lord Randal at http://www.bartleby.com/243/66.html
Haiku - a short poem with seventeen syllables, usually written in three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. The present tense is used, the subject is one thing happening now, and words are not repeated. It does not rhyme. The origin of the haiku is Japanese.
Cinquain - a five-line poem with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and two in the fifth. It expresses one image or thought, in one or possibly two sentences.
Villanelle - a 19-line poem with five tercets and one quatrain at the end. Two of the lines are repeated alternately at the ends of the tercets, and finish off the poem: the first line and the third line of the first tercet. Although it sounds very complicated, it's like a song or a dance and easy to see once you've looked at a villanelle.
Limerick - A five-line poem, usually meant to be funny. The rhythm is anapests. Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with one another, and lines 3 and 4 rhyme with one another. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have three feet, lines 3 and 4 have two feet. An iamb can be substituted for an anapest in the first foot of any line. The last foot can add another unstressed beat for the rhyming effect.
Sonnet - There are different types of sonnet. The most familiar to us is made of three quatrains and ends with a couplet. They tend to be complicated and elegant. William Shakespeare wrote the most well-known sonnets.
Free verse (or open form) - Much modern poetry does not obviously rhyme and doesn't have a set meter. However, sound and rhythm are often still important, and it is still often written in short lines.
Concrete poetry (pattern or shape poetry) is a picture poem, in which the visual shape of the poem contributes to its meaning.
Drama is a display of emotions, a representation of relationships and the portrayal of the different phases of human life. It sketches different personalities and represents a wide variety of emotions through the different characters it portrays. Which of its components are identified as the elements of drama? Let us see.
Aristotle, a philosopher who wrote on a variety of subjects like poetry, theater, music, rhetoric and handled subjects like biology, physics, logic and politics, writes that there are six elements of drama, According to him, plot, theme, character, dialog, music and the visual element of a play make up the six elements of drama. Let us look at each of them.
The components of drama :
1. Theme: The theme of a drama refers to the central idea of the play. It can either be clearly stated through dialog or action or can be inferred after watching the entire performance.
2. Plot: The order of events occurring in a play is referred to as the plot of the drama. It is the basic storyline that is narrated through a play. The entertainment one derives from a play depends largely on the sequence of events that occur in the story. The logical connection between the events and the characters, which enact the story form an integral part of the plot of drama.
3. Characters: The characters that form a part of the story are interwoven with the plot of the drama. Each character in a play has a personality of its own and has a distinct set of principles and beliefs. Actors who play various roles in a drama have the very important responsibility of bringing the characters to life.
4. Dialog: The story of any play is taken forward by means of the dialog. The story is narrated to the audiences through the dialog written by the playwright. The success of a drama depends hugely on the contents of the dialog and the quality of dialog delivery by the actors of the play.
5. Music: This element of drama comprises the melody in the use of sounds and rhythm in dialogs as well as melodious compositions, which form a part of many plays. The background score, the songs and the sound effects that are used in a play make up the musical element of drama. Music composers and lyricists sit together to create music that can go well with the theme of the play. If the scenes of a play are accompanied by well-suited pieces of music, they become more effective on the audiences. Hence, music forms a very important element of drama.
6. Visual Element: While the dialog and music constitute the audible aspect of drama, the visual element deals with the scenes, costumes and special effects used in it. The visual element of drama, also known as the spectacle, renders a visual appeal to it. The costumes worn by the artists must suit the characters they are playing. Besides, it is important for the scenes to be dramatic enough to hold the audiences to their seats. The special effects used in a play add to the visual appeal. Thus, the spectacle forms an essential component of drama.
Apart from these elements of drama as given by Aristotle, the structure of the story, a clever use of symbolism and contrast and stagecraft form some of the other important elements of drama.
The structure of the story comprises the way in which the story is put forth to the audience. The way in which the characters play their roles and the framework of the story constitute the drama structure. Direction is an essential constituent of a play. A well-directed story can help in fetching greater mass appeal. Stagecraft plays a vital role in increasing the visual appeal of a drama. The use and organization of different stage properties and the stage setup constitute the stagecraft, which is an essential component of a play.
The use of symbols implies the use of indirect suggestions in a drama. Logically used symbols help in making a scene more effective. The use of contrast is about using stillness followed by activity or silence followed by noise. It can also mean the use of contrasting colors to add to the visual appeal. It can mean the clever use of contrasting scenes following each other that enhance the dramatic element of a play.
An enthusiastic audience is perhaps one of the very essential elements of drama. A play needs a live and lively audience who can constructively criticize performances and generously appreciate quality work.
C. Prose Literature
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure as in traditional poetry. While there are critical debates on the construction of prose, its simplicity and loosely defined structure has led to its adoption for the majority of spoken dialogue, factual discourse as well as topical and fictional writing. It is commonly used in literature, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcasting, film, history, philosophy, law and many other forms of communication.
Prose is the ordinary form of spoken and written language whose unit is the sentence, rather than the individual line as it is in poetry. The term applies to all expressions in language that do not have a regular rhythmic pattern.
Prose is considered to be one of the two major literary structures, with the other being verse. Prose lacks the more formal metrical structure of verse that is almost always found in traditional poetry. Poems often involve a meter and or rhyme scheme. Prose, instead, comprises full, grammatical sentences, which then constitute paragraphs and overlook aesthetic appeal.
Some works of prose do contain traces of metrical structure or versification and a conscious blend of the two literature formats is known as prose poetry. Similarly, any work of verse with fewer rules and restrictions is known as free verse. Verse is considered to be more systematic or formulaic, whereas prose is the most reflective of ordinary, often conversational, speech. On this point Samuel Taylor Coleridge requested, jokingly, that novice poets should remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose = words in their best order; poetry = the best words in their best order. In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asked for something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master replied that there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse, for the simple reason being that everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose.
The major kinds of novels are:
Allegory: The symbolic story revolves around two meanings. What the writer says directly is totally different from the conveyed meanings at the end. Political and Historical allegory are two forms of Allegory.
Comedy: Satire is very common form in comedy novels and tries to focus on the facts of the society and their desires.
Epistolary: The collection of letters or mails is the epistolary novels. Samuel Richardson's Pamela and Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrew are the few examples of Epistolary novels.
Feminist: These types of novels are written by women writers around the world to describe the place of women in a male dominated society. E.g Virginia Woolf's "A Room of one's Own",
Gothic: Gothic fiction is the combination of both horror and romance. Melodrama and parody were grouped in the Gothic literature in its early stages.
Ironic: Ironic novels are known for excessive use of narrative technique. It is satire on the contemporary society about cultural, social and political issues.
Realism: The realistic novels are based on the truths of ordinary society and their problems. It focuses on the plot, structure and the characters of the novel.
Romance: Love and relationship topics are handled optimistically in the romantic novels. It originated in western countries; basically the story revolves around love affairs of main characters. Some popular sub categories of romantic novels are paranormal, erotic, suspense, multicultural and inspirational romance.
Narration: In narrative style, writer becomes the third person who narrates whole story around the characters.
Naturalism: Naturalism is based on the theory of Darwin.
Picaresque: It is opposite to romance novels as it involves ideals, themes and principles that refuse the so-called prejudices of the society.
Psychological: It's the psychological prospective of mind with a resolution.
Satire: Satirical novels criticize the contemporary society. The most famous novels are Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim (1954), George Orwell's Animal Farm and Randell Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution (1954).
Stream of Consciousness: James Joyce's stream of consciousness is all about the thought coming up in the minds of the readers.
A novel also constitutes categories on social and political aspects like proletarian, psychological, protest novel, government, didactic, materialist novel, allegorical novel, novel of engagement, naturalistic novel, Marxist novel, radical novel, revolutionary novel, anti-war novel, utopian novel, futuristic novel, anarchist novel, problem novel, social philosophy novel, novel of ideas, problem play and speculative novel.
There are certain elements which every novel has and these are:
* style and presentation.
This is what happens in the novel, it's the author's arrangement of the story.
Key points to note:
- there can be a logical development of events with a careful linking of scenes or
- there can be a series of apparently unrelated scenes which are not shown to be connected until the end of the novel - there should be a beginning, a middle and an end
- the plot should be plausible, but there can still be room for the element of surprise
- there should be conflict, either within the central characters or between characters, or between characters and their environment
- the climax of the story is the highest point of interest; the moment when the conflict is most intense; the time when the consequences of a character's actions become inevitable; when all the main points of the plot merge
- the denouement is when all the little mysteries in the plot are revealed and all the loose ends are tidied up
- the pace of the novel slows with the denouement.
The setting of a novel encompasses a number of different, but linked, elements:
* time - day or night; summer or winter; the historical period (an actual date)
* place - inside or outside; country or city; specific town and country; real or fictional
* social - the minor characters who take little part in advancing the plot, but whose presence contributes to the realism of the novel
* mood and atmosphere - eerie; dangerous; menacing; tense; threatening; relaxing; nostalgic; happy; light-hearted etc.
Characters in a novel are the vehicles by which the author conveys to us his / her view of the world.
Key points to note:
- we learn about individual characters from their own words and actions; from what other characters say about them and the way others act towards them
- characters help to advance the plot
- believable characters must grow and change in response to their experiences in the novel.
This is the central idea which runs through the novel; the author's purpose in writing.
- it is the point of view from which the author is writing and there may be a moral to the story - such as the need for social reform in many of Dickens' novels
- the theme gives the story focus, unity, impact and a 'point'
- the theme becomes clear by looking at what happens to the major characters. If the main character survives while others don't, it shows us that his (or her) behaviour is being rewarded by the author
These are often used to help clarify a theme and can be anything from a single object (a key, a necklace, a stone); a place (the beach, an airport, a house); a repeated type of object (a dark car, a woman in sunglasses, an eagle flying overhead); a shape (diamonds, circles, crucifixes); a gesture (wiping glasses, lighting a pipe, a hand in a pocket); a colour; a sound; a piece of music, poetry; to a fragrance (the smell of new-mown grass, cigar smoke).
- symbols are used to give intangible ideas and emotions a visibility and solidity that makes the reader notice them
- symbols can help to give unity to the plot - a recurring symbol is used to link different events and characters
This is the revelation of the unexpected consequences of actions and words.
- irony can add interest, humour and impact to the novel
- it can give depth to characters, tighten the plot, help to define the characters and contribute to our understanding of the author's theme.
This is the way the story is written.
There are four main ways a story can be presented (and countless combinations of these):
• the central character tells the story in his / her own words
• a non-central character tells the story
• the author refers to all characters in the third person, but reveals only what can be seen, heard or thought by a central character
• the author refers to each character in the third person and describes what most or all of the characters see, hear and think; the author can also describe events which do not concern any of the characters
The language used by the author also reveals the theme and purpose of the novel:
- the complexity of sentence and paragraph structure; the use of humour, satire and irony; imagery and other poetic devices and word choice all contribute to our appreciation of the characters and events which involve them
- the reader can be left totally unconcerned about the fate of characters or can shed tears when some tragic end overtakes them
Nonfiction Literature is opposite to fiction as it is informative and comprises the interesting facts with analysis and illustrations.
Main types of Non- fiction literature
Autobiography and Biography
An autobiography is the story of the author's own life. 'Family Life at the White House' by Bill Clinton is focused on his life and achievements. 'Wings of fire' by Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, Mein kampf of Adolph Hitler are the autobiography books on real life.
Generally the authors' point of view about any particular topic in a detailed way is an essay. Essay has simple way of narrating the main subject; therefore they are descriptive, lengthy, subject oriented and comparative.
Different types of essay: Personal essay, expository essay type, response essay, process essay, persuasive essay, argumentative essay, critical essay type, interview essay, reflective essay type, evaluation, observation essay, comparison type of essay, application essay, compare and contrast essay and narrative essay type.
It is the critical study of a piece of literature. Here critics apply different theories, evaluation, discussion and explanation to the text or an essay to give total judgments. Plato, Aristotle, T.S.Eliot, Saussure and Frye are some of the famous critics.
It is the narration of any tour or foreign journey with the description of the events, dates, places, sights and author's views. Francis Bacon's natural philosophies is one famous example of such kind from the middle of Seventeenth century.
Diaries are the incidents recorded by the author without any means of publishing them. It is the rough work of one's daily routine, happenings, memorable days or events in their life. E.g. Anne Frank's 'Diary of a Young Girl' was published by her father in 1940's; it's a story of a girl trapped during German invade Amsterdam.
Diaries consists of business letters, newsletters, weather listing. In today's world of Internet, writers write in blogs, forums, polls and social networking sites to convey their thoughts. This also is a form of diary writing. Some profound forms of diaries are online diary, travel, sleep, tagebuch, fictional, dream and death diaries.
Journal is one of types of diaries that records infinite information. They are of following types:
Personal: It is for personal analysis. In this journal one can write his goal, daily thoughts, events and situations.
Academic: It is for students who do research or dissertation on particular subjects.
Creative: Creative journals are the imaginative writing of a story, poem or narrative.
Trade: Trade journals are used by industrial purposes where they dictate practical information.
Dialectical: This journal is use by students to write on double column notebook. They can write facts, experiments, and observation on the left side and right side can be a series of thoughts and response with an end.
It is a collection of daily or weekly news of politics, sports, leisure, fashion, movies and business.
Magazines can be the current affairs or opinions well collected covering various content.
The psychoanalysis of human mind is present in a frame narrative. Here we find another story within the main story. Some of the popular narratives are Pegasus, Wuthering Heights, The Flying Horse, The Three Pigs, A Time to keep and the Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays.
Outdoor literature is the literature of adventure that gives whole exploration of an event. Exciting moments of life such as horse riding, fishing, trekking can be a part of literature. Some outdoor books are 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' by Mark Twain, 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis, 'Voyages' by Richard Hakluyt and 'A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush' by Eric Newby.
Narrative form of Literature
Today we find movies, audio and video CD's and Cassettes that present current literature in use. Digital poetry is an upcoming trend too. Comic books, cartoons, ebook and Internet games are the learning methods for children.
Myths are the fairy tales with lots of adventure, magic and it lacks scientific proof. Nursery rhymes, songs and lullabies are forms of myths that strike the interest of children. Creative and nature myth are stories of the stars and moon. Magic tales are wonderful tales of quests and fantasy. Hero myths are ideal heroes of adventure.
The small commercial fiction, true or imaginary, smaller than a novel is known as short story. Short stories are well grouped into easy beginning, concrete theme, some dialogs and ends with resolution. They are oral and short-lived which have gossip, joke, fable, myth, parable, hearsay and legend.