Literary Genre

One of the Modes of Comparison for 2012 is Literary Genre. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what this mode entails. Here are some aspects of Literary Genre to bear in mind as you are revising.


Why choose one genre over another?

Why did the author choose to publish in one particular genre over another? Why is ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ a novel? Would it make any difference if it was a play or poem? Why is ‘Inside I’m Dancing’ a film? What limitations and restrictions does this genre place on the text? What freedom does this genre allow? Why did Shakespeare choose to write the story of ‘Hamlet’ as a play? What is particularly dramatic about this story? What conventions do we associate with a novel / film / play? In what ways are they similar and in what ways are they different? What are the expectations of the audience / reader when they encounter this text? Are those expectations fulfilled or is the genre subverted?



Focus on viewpoints, i.e. omniscient, 1st person, 3rd person, how camera shots act as the narrator, the role of the audience, the soundtrack.



Linear? Flashback? Time span?



Use of dialogue to add immediacy. Use of dialect to add colour and realism. Descriptive language. Close-up shots. Stage directions to create character and place. Use of imagery and symbolism.


Titles of the texts

Do the titles bear any particular significance or symbolism?



Key moments. What type of humour is used? What function does humour have in the text?


Character creation

Any pivotal characters? What techniques make you identify with the character?


Tension and suspense

How are tension and suspense created and to what effect? Music? Lighting? Atmosphere?


Non-verbal communication

E.g. dance, music, tableau.


Conclusion of the story

Are all loose ends tied up or is the ending abmiguous?


Make notes about our three texts under these headings. Practice using your linking sentences in these notes. Make your links substantial – using ‘in contrast’ and ‘similarly’ only is not sufficient. If you have any questions or comments on Literary Genre then comment on this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.